Budget Update

Budget Update


2021-22 Developmental Services Budget

On June 27th, the Administration and the Legislature of the State of California arrived at a budget agreement that applies funds from a statewide surplus, and provides a comprehensive funding influx for developmental services over the next few fiscal years. This also represents a major success for several key ongoing advocacy issues over many years, as evidenced in budget reports for earlier years on this page. This budget was signed by Governor Newsom. We expect to receive guidance from the Department of Developmental Services for implementation of newly funded services and staffing.  

The 2021/22 Budget includes:

  • Restoration for purchase of social recreation, camping services, educational services, and non-medical therapies for persons served.
  • Allows regional centers to serve children without a formal diagnosis of developmental disability, ages 3 & 4, on a provisional basis up to age five.
  • Formally opens the Self-Determination Program to all interested regional center service recipients as of July 1, and establishes an Office of the Ombudsperson for the Self Determination Program.
  • Creation of a new specialized reduced caseload ratio (1:40) for selected clients/families in underserved communities.
  • Continued use of selected practices utilized during the COVID-19 pandemic, including remote services, virtual meetings, and remote Early Start services at the request of the family.
  • Funds expansion of the paid internship program and incentives for community integrated employment.

For service providers:

  • A phase-in of rate increases for service providers to remedy long-time underfunding and achieve the needed rate levels identified in the state’s 2019 Rate Study. 
  • Eliminates the suspension of temporary supplemental rate increases.
  • Lifts the suspension of rates for supported employment, independent living, infant development, early start specialized therapeutic services and vouchered community-based services.
  • Ends the Uniform Holiday (Furlough) Schedule.
  • Funding to address frozen rates for Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (ICF/DD) and Pediatric Subacute Facilities. 
  • A pay differential for bilingual direct service providers serving clients in other languages.
  • A training and certification program for direct service professionals tied to wage differentials. The program aims to reduce staff wage inequity, stabilize service access, and professionalize and diversify the workforce.

And for service coordination (next year):

  • Funding of $61.8 million General Fund starting in 2022-23 and on-going to enhance service coordinator ratios at the 21 Regional Centers. 

Thank you to everyone that called, emailed, or met with our legislators to convey the need for these much-needed service system funds.

2020-21 Developmental Services Budget

These proposals from Governor Newsom will be reviewed and possibly modified by the legislature over the coming months, prior to passage of a budget in June.

The 2020-21 budget includes a net increase of 1 billion compared to 2019-20, which is largely due to the projected increase in population to be served by regional centers.

  • The estimated 2021 population is 368,622, reflecting an increase of 18,575, or 5.3%. including those receiving Early Start services (birth to 3 years) and active regional center clients with diagnosed developmental disabilities.
  • The budget proposes to provide $16.5 million to provide a lower caseload ratio for clients 3-4 years old. Unfortunately the budget for service coordinators is based on the salaries set in 30 years ago and will not actually cover the cost of staffing increases to achieve this caseload ratio.
  • The Purchase of Services budget will increase by $420.3 million or 6.49%) due to population and expenditure growth.
  • $206.2 Million increase to implement service provider supplemental rate increases which were approved last year (effective January 2020) and 18 Million to provide a rate increase for three additional services that were excluded in the prior year – early start specialized therapeutic services, independent living services, and infant developmental program (effective Jan. 2021).
  • 103.8 million to implement the 2020 minimum wage increase to 13.00/hr through December.
  • $120.3 million to implement the 2021 minimum wage increase to $14.00/hr as of Jan. 2021..

The 2020 Governor’s Budget also included the announcement that the Uniform Holiday Schedule for service providers will continue to be suspended, with the new projected sunset date of December 31, 2023.

For more information, view the DDS 2020 Governor’s Budget Highlights on the DDS website.

2019-20 Developmental Services Budget

January 2020: Updates to the 19-20 Developmental Services Budget

The 2019-20 Budget is increased $5.9 million to cover the cost of minimum wage increases from $12.00 to $13.00 per hour effective Jan. 1 2020. However the total Regional Center Budget received a net decrease of $63 M due to January 2019 minimum wage increases coming in lower than originally estimated.

June 2019: The Budget Conference Committee and Newsom Administration came to agreement on the final Budget deal for fiscal year 2019/20, which included the following compromise decisions for developmental services:

  • Provider Rates: an additional $125 million will be added in FY 19-20 and $150 million in 20-21 for “broad-based” provider increases that will begin 1/1/20 and sunset 12/31/21. See DDS chart of temporary rate increases. (DDS expects to implement a full rate reform package by December 2021).
  • In response to extensive advocacy efforts, some service providers will receive an increase of about 8.2%, while others will receive significantly less, and – we are very disappointed that some service provider categories, such as Infant Development Programs, will not receive any increase at all – on the basis of the recent Burns and Associates rate study.
  • Suspended Services: The committee did not follow the Senate and Assembly Budget Committee’s plan, and did not restore social recreation and camp services, nonmedical therapies, and certain educational services that were cut during the recession.
  • “Minimum Wage Quirk”: No action taken to provide rate adjustments to service providers in areas with local minimum wage that is higher than the state minimum wage.
  • Uniform Holiday Schedule: As proposed by the Governor, the Uniform Holiday Schedule, developed as a cost savings during the recession, will be suspended until 1/1/22, but not repealed.
  • Half-Day Billing: This provision from the recession was not repealed.
  • SSI/SSP: There will be no SSP (State Supplemental Payment) Cost of Living Increase

The Legislature previously voted to also approve the following items that had been proposed by the Administration.

  • Early Start Co-Payments: Regional centers will be able to pay for copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles for Early Start children regardless of family income.
  • Crisis Homes For Children: Three community crisis homes for children will be developed, which is a model that thus far has not been available to them.
  • HCBS Final Rule: $3 million was approved for DDS to hire a contractor to visit community settings to determine whether they comply with the HCBS Final Rule integration expectations.
  • Foster Youth Trauma-Informed Systems of Care: Funding for regional center Operations was approved to allow for greater coordination of care for multisystem children.
  • Specialized Caseload Ratios for Regional Centers: Approximately 50 service coordination positions will be created statewide for caseload ratios of 1:25 for those with the most intensive service coordination needs.
  • Family Home Agency Oversight: Funding was approved for regional center Operations to allow for greater monitoring of Family Home Agency services.
  • Specialized Home Monitors: Funding was approved for regional center Operations for nurses and behaviorists to monitor high-level residential facilities.

Read Governor, Help Our Most Vulnerable Citizens, by Assembly Member Chris Holden

“No, there have not been miracle cures for these disabilities. Rather, we have among us miracle workers in the form of local men and women who provide the structure, support, coaching and mentoring that empower the people they serve to achieve lives of meaning and purpose. These miracle workers are employed by local community- based organizations that receive their funding from the state. These groups have transformed California’s system of support for its most vulnerable residents, and we should be proud of this successful public policy. But we cannot feel proud of the way we have let support for these community organizations and the people they employ slip behind in the past 20 years.”

Thursday, May 16, 2019
In dramatic fashion the State Senate Budget Subcommittee #3 voted to approve an 8% spending increase for services and supports for Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), adopting a request pushed this year by people with disabilities, families, direct support professionals, service providers, and regional centers throughout the state.

Thursday, May 9th, Governor Newsom released his “May Revise” budget, which is updated from his January budget based on actual tax revenue received by the state. The Governor’s January budget included no significant increases for services that support Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) (except for increases based on a growing caseload, which only maintains the status quo). The Governor’s reasoning for not including increases was that the state’s long-awaited rate study, which would bring to light the true investment needed to provide quality services and supports, was going to be released in March, and the Governor was going to wait until after that.

The rate study, which is still in draft form, concluded underfunding of $1.8 billion; however, on Thursday the Governor only proposed to increase services by $165 million next fiscal year and only $330 million the year after that. The Governor also proposed to “sunset” those increases, meaning that they would go away in two years unless re-appropriated. This modest investment doesn’t include any guarantee of additional investment over the next couple years to reach the full amount of $1.8 billion. While this budget would undoubtedly benefit a few people, without question the Governor’s proposed budget falls far short of what the community hopes and expects from the Legislature and administration this year.

One bright spot in the Governor’s budget is the suspension of the 14-day uniform holiday schedule, that was scheduled to begin on July 1. This would have forced individuals and families to go without certain services on 14 days during the year, but the suspension of its enforcement will allow regional centers to individualize the needs for people regardless of holidays. This proposal, however, also would sunset in two years and potentially causing the 14 days to be re-enforced.

2018 – 19 Developmental Services Budget

The legislature has approved the budget and it has been signed by the Governor.

click here to view the Budget Trailer Bill pertaining to developmental services with changes to the Welfare and Institutions Code notated.

Unfortunately, while this final agreement includes some good news, it also contains some disappointments for developmental services.

In January of this year, and then again with his May Revise, the Governor presented his Budget with some additional funding for developmental services to cover the cost of growth in new clients statewide. It did not however include funding for any of the elements for which the developmental disabilities community has been advocating for many months.

During final budget negotiations with the Governor, some enhancements to our system that had been approved by the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees were removed or modified.

  • $25 million in one-time bridge funding for service providers, requested by Assemblymember Chris Holden, was approved. However, this approval is contingent upon obtaining federal matching funds, which can be a lengthy process. This one-year funding is intended to provide some relief for service providers who are struggling due to frozen rates and increasing costs, while the state completes its rate study.
  • Although we advocated for restoration of funding, social recreation and camp services will not be restored (so regional centers are still prohibited from funding these services).
  • The Uniform Holiday Schedule (required unpaid closures for service providers, as recommended in the Governor’s Budget but opposed by regional centers and advocates) was approved, but suspended for one year.

Read joint statement from the Lanterman Coalition, “Outrage at State Budget Deal for California’s Developmental Disability Community.”

Respite Services Update

We want to remind our readers that, as part of the budget trailer bill process this year, the Legislature took action to lift the cap on respite services by repealing Welfare and Institutions Code Section 4686.5, effective January 1, 2018.

  • Prior to January, 2018, regional centers were limited to purchasing no more than 90 hours per quarter of in-home respite and 21 days of out-of-home respite for a family, unless an exemption is granted.
  • Effective January 1, 2018, these limits on the purchase of respite services will no longer apply.
  • HRC has been and will continue to make sure that families, service providers, and local community organizations are aware of the repeal of these restrictions on the purchase of respite, and we will be prepared to authorize respite as needed per each client’s IPP..

2017-18 Developmental Services Budget

  • Total expenditures for 2017/18 for developmental services are expected to exceed $7 Billion. The budget projects a total increase of 317,283 new clients to be served statewide.
  • Respite Services: Since budget reductions made during the great recession in 2009, respite services have been capped at 90 hours per quarter. In this budget the cap on respite services will be lifted, beginning January 1st, 2018. Services will continue to be determined according to individual/family need but will no longer have this legislatively established cap at 90 hours per quarter. This is something that our statewide regional center and Lanterman Coalition advocacy teams strongly advocated for in our visits with legislators.
  • Unfortunately the prohibition of funding of social recreation and camp services will continue. We advocated for restoration of these services, but this decision by the budget committee was influenced by the projected costs for restoring these services.
  • Allows Community Placement Plan funds to be used more flexibly as community resource development funds
  • Requires objectives to be included in regional center annual performance contracts that measure progress and report outcomes in implementing the state’s Employment First Policy
  • Authorizes an exemption to be granted for a client’s participation in a paid internship program or competitive integrated employment even though s/he is still eligible for school
  • Authorizes regional centers to provide funding for Early Start services when the service coordination team has determined the needed services are not available through a family’s insurance plan

2016-17 Developmental Services Budget

The Legislature passed a budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year which contains a substantial increase in spending for regional centers mostly because it incorporates the provisions of ABX-2 passed by the Legislature during the special legislative session. There have been no unexpected additions or deletions in the budget as enacted. The new fiscal year, and the new budget, were effective on July 1, 2016.

Budget Highlights

March 2016

Reason To Celebrate: Bipartisan Legislature Passes Developmental Services Funding Bill

On February 29, 2016, the Legislature passed a two-bill package, signed by the Governor on the following day, that will provide much needed funding relief for services for people with developmental disabilities and the people who serve and care for them. These votes come after a five-year campaign by our community.
The first of the two bills helped to secure continued inflow of federal funding, by restructuring the way that Managed Care Organizations are taxed. The continuation of federal funding made it possible for the second of these two bills to provide nearly $300 Million in state general funds for the developmental services system. And this will be matched by federal funds resulting in an estimated total of more than $400 Million. Support for the developmental services funding bill in the legislature was unanimous.

After over a decade of service cuts, funding reductions and frozen rates, the new funding has been targeted to specific areas, to begin to restore the service system. These include funds to retain service coordinators and service provider direct care staff, and rate increases for targeted service categories such as supported employment, supported and independent living, respite, and transportation services. Special initiatives for promoting integrated employment, and increasing cultural competency in service delivery were also included in the funding package. Finally, the package will fund a rate study plan to support the ongoing sustainability of our service system.
The new infusion of funds is to become effective July 1st of 2016. We expect that some fine tuning will occur during the coming months as the total budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year is finalized, and as implementation details are provided by the Department of Developmental Services.

What’s Next?

Many in the developmental services community, including system advocate Senator Jim Beall, have pointed to the severe need for housing resources for people with developmental disabilities. We are also continuing to advocate for resource development for all types of services, to begin to restore services which have been lost as underfunded programs have been forced to close, and to serve emerging needs in our community.
For now, the passage of new funding is an important first step in our ongoing efforts for the fundamental reform we will need, to see another 50 years of developmental services.

Read California Legislature approves bills on taxing health plans

Read Daily Breeze: Californians with Developmental Disabilities Get Desperately Needed Help

The approved MCO tax and developmental services funding package includes:

  • A 7.5% increase for salaries and benefits,for both POS&OPS
  • A 2.5% increase for administrative and other costs,for both POS&OPS
  • A restoration of the supported employment rates to 2006 levels
  • A 5% increase for supported and independent living services
  • A 5% increase for in-home and out-of-home respite services
  • A 5% increase for transportation services
  • An effective 5% increase for ICFs,done as a 3.75%increase,and the elimination of prior cuts,
  • A comprehensive increase for competitive integrated employment programs, in the form of paid internships and incentive payments for helping individuals obtain and retain employment
  • An increase in vendor audit thresholds
  • A rate study plan
  • 5 million for disparity issues for bilingual staff at regional centers, cultural competency training, and parent education efforts

The Administration has put the total value of this package at $300M General Fund, $418M Total Funds. The majority of that money will be provided via the MCO agreement, with the balance addressed in the Governor’s May Revise.


Advocacy for Service Coordination Funding

For More Client/Family Contact and Support

California’s 21 regional centers, represented together as the Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA), are supporting a number of Budget proposals to help our community. Together, we’re pushing for sufficient funding to hire enough service coordinators to meet both your needs and the promises of the Lanterman Act.