Self Determination

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What is the Self-Determination Program?

Learn about the Self Determination Program, how to participate, and the roles and responsibilities of the client, family, regional center, financial management service, and other members of the self determination support team. If you believe you may be interested in putting your name on the list for selection to join this program, you must attend an informational meeting offered by the regional center or other community agency.

Join us for an Informational Webinar
Oct 28, 2020 06:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting:

This session will be in English. Próximamente anunciaremos una sesión que se realizará en noviembre en español.

In October of 2013, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed into law the Self-Determination Program, which will provide regional center clients and their families with a new option. As authorized in Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 4685.8, "the Self-Determination Program (SDP) is a voluntary delivery system consisting of a mix of services and supports, selected and directed by a participant through person-centered planning, in order to meet the objectives in his or her Individual Program Plan (IPP). Self-determination services and supports are designed to assist the participant to achieve personally defined outcomes in community settings that promote inclusion," and allow participants to have more control in developing service plans and selecting service providers.

Watch video

Department of Developmental Services Self Determination Newsletter Issues are posted on the DDS website on a regular basis. If you want to be notified of updates, please email to be added to their emailing list.

The Principles of Self-Determination include:

  • Freedom to exercise the same rights as all citizens; to establish, with freely chosen supports, family and friends, where they want to live, with whom they want to live, how their time will be occupied, and who supports them;
  • Authority to control a budget in order to purchase services and supports of their choosing;
  • Support, including the ability to arrange resources and personnel, which will allow flexibility to live in the community of their choice;
  • Responsibility, which includes the opportunity to take responsibility for making decisions in their own lives and accept a valued role in their community, and
  • Confirmation, in making decisions in their own lives by designing and operating the service that they rely on.

The Development and Implementation of the SDP Program in California

The law required that before this program could be made available, the Department of Developmental Services submit an application for federal funding, and that this application be approved for funding by the federal government. This application was approved on June 6, 2018.
The program will be implemented gradually. The SDP will be implemented for up to 2,500 participants in the state, to be phased in during the first three years.
Initial Group of Participants Selected
On October 1, 2018, the Department of Developmental Services identified the first group of clients/families from each regional center that may be enrolled in the Self Determination Program.
You Can Still Add Your Name As Interested in Being Selected
The Department will continue to collect and add names of those interested in the program for subsequent selections.
Interested clients/families must attend an informational meeting provided by a regional center or community-based organization (such as the Autism Society) and submit your name for consideration at that meeting.
Informational meetings will be announced on this webpage and in the HRC ENews.

Those who attended an informational meeting and submitted their name, but were not selected initially to participate, will remain on the list for subsequent selections along with new sign-ups. All names on the list have equal chance of being selected, regardless of when you signed up, when the Department of Developmental Services draws the next group of names. The Department does select names according to the overall demographic make up of each regional center area.
After the three year phase-in period is completed, the program will be available to all interested clients.

Department of Developmental Services Program Directives and Implementation Tools
Self-Determination Program (SDP) guidance documents have been translated in the following languages: Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Hmong. You can view these documents on the Program Directives & Implementation Tools page on the SDP website.

Voluntary Withddrawals
Some of the individuals who were selected for this program decided to withdraw thier participation for the time being. Beginning in December 2019, DDS sent surveys to people who were selected and decided to not move forward with SDP. View the September 2020 report of responses from 148 individuals

Frequently Asked Questions about Self-Determination Program

The Department of Developmental Services provides answers and periodic updates on their webpage for Frequently Asked Questions.
Where can you obtain the latest information?