Public policy priorities2024-02-28T00:39:49+00:00

What We Do | Public policy priorities

Sustainable Disability Services

Intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have a lifelong impact. Californians with IDD and their families relying on services now will also need stability for the future. Unfortunately, the effects of chronic underfunding, bureaucratic barriers, and workforce shortages still threaten our essential services and programs. CDSA seeks to build a sustainable system of services and supports.

Maximizing state funding2024-02-27T01:02:16+00:00

Services for Californians with IDD are funded by both the state and federal government. In 2021, California made a historic investment in disability services by funding implementation of a rate study. However, the full impact risks being undermined by details in the rate study itself. At best, some recommended rates and payments won’t support sustainable high-quality services without updates. At worst, some services could close because they can’t keep up with costs.

Disability service providers have a role as stewards of taxpayer funds. We want to make the most of disability services funding. Most importantly, we want Californians with IDD to enjoy reliable access to the quality services and supports they deserve. Our rate model proposals would ensure that the rate models and payment structures are designed to support high-quality, person-centered services and supports.

Removing barriers and innovating services2024-02-27T01:06:58+00:00

Californians with IDD and family caregivers care about the quality, responsiveness, and reliability of their services. They want trusting relationships with their direct support professionals (DSPs) and service coordinators. Billing units, staffing formulas, and acronyms like “PAGA” or “CARF” probably aren’t all that interesting. But all those terms (and many more) have a huge impact on the availability of disability services and capacity of regional centers. While they may not have input on the rules that service providers and regional centers must follow, individuals with IDD and their families experience the impact every day.

Sometimes rules meant to improve services don’t fit the unique needs of all Californians with IDD. The result is unintended barriers to services. Sometimes policymakers don’t consider the impact that a new rule will have on disability services. Those rules can reduce access, when funds that should be spent on services instead must go to compliance. We believe it’s possible to create policies that add value to the lives of individuals with IDD and the workforce serving them. We partner with policymakers at all levels of government to find solutions to these problems and prevent future ones. We focus on these details so our members can provide the support that individuals and families need to focus on their own lives and goals.

Direct Support Professional Workforce

The direct support professional (DSP) workforce is the backbone of disability services. They build close, respectful relationships, becoming integral in the day-to-day lives of people with IDD and their families. Whether it is accessing the community, working at a job, finding transportation, or just in the daily business of life, direct support professionals provide consistent support for Californians with disabilities to meet their goals and become more independent.

Compensation and recognition2024-02-27T01:06:02+00:00

Through state initiatives and direct member engagement, we advocate for recognition and compensation for the skills and professionalism required of DSPs. Several state workforce initiatives are in implementation to promote DSP career advancement through competency-based training, stipends, pay differentials, and ongoing professional development. Our focus is building a sustainable workforce that represents the individuals they serve.

Cultural and linguistic competency2024-02-27T01:06:36+00:00

The direct support workforce, with women and people of color at the forefront, serves individuals with IDD in diverse communities throughout California. Inadequate wages and benefits disproportionately affect communities of color and non-English speaking communities. Both the workers and the individuals and families served are impacted by the high turnover and vacancy rates. Without a workforce to support individuals with IDD, many people are not receiving the services and supports promised in the Lanterman Act.

Service Quality & Access

To improve the lives of Californians with disabilities, the state must remove barriers that reduce service availability, making funding fully accessible and sustainable, and minimizing administrative demands that drive unnecessary costs.

Quality outcomes2024-02-27T01:08:43+00:00

In 2022, DDS announced the Quality Incentive Program (QIP), aiming to improve outcomes for individuals with IDD and service provider performance. As our system begins to develop and implement new quality measures, CDSA is working to make sure each one is realistic and achievable for all community service providers.

Person-centered, flexible services2024-02-27T01:09:25+00:00

The state is taking important steps toward a person-centered, outcomes-based system. We monitor and advocate for actions that will improve equitable access to services and supports. Each step must include flexible funding structures that support individual needs, support employment opportunities, and resources for community living.

The biggest value of CDSA is having a well-respected advocate in Sacramento. When you’re facing a problem at your organization, there’s someone listening to your concerns who has the high-level connections to get the answers you need. – Harry Bruell, President and CEO, PathPoint

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