What is the Self-Determination Program?


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.

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 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.

How You Can Express Interest in Being Selected

The Department of Developmental Services selected names from a list of interested persons for the initial group of participants. Interested clients/families were required to attend an informational meeting provided by a regional center or community-based organization (such as the Autism Society) and submit their name for inclusion on this list. 

After the three year phase-in period is completed, the program will become available to all interested clients, effective in June 2021.

Voluntary Withdrawals

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. 

Review September 2020 report of responses from 148 individuals

Open Enrollment Begins June 7, 2021

The Self-determination Program is a voluntary program, which allows for clients and their families to have more flexibility and control over the services and supports that they need to achieve their goals. Regional Centers across the State of California are completing the phase-in period of the Self-determination Program. Here at HRC, we have 90 participants actively in the phase-in portion of the program.

Effective June 7, 2021, the Self-determination Program is available to everyone.  

To prepare for this open enrollment, we will begin hosting monthly orientations in the month of May 2021, in both English and Spanish. Interpretation for other languages is also available as needed. Priority registration for an orientation will be given to those individuals who expressed interest in the program and registered on the Department of Developmental Services’ (DDS) website. DDS has provided us with the names of HRC clients who were on their waiting list.

Please contact your service coordinator if you would like to know more about the Self-determination Program, or if you are interested in registering for the required orientation.

Department of Developmental Services Program Directives & Implementation Tools

Download Information Sheet





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Skills 4 Care

SDP Mentoring Program

adults sharing skills

HRC has contracted with Skills4Care to provide a mentoring program for Self-Determination Program (SDP) participants.   

If you have decided to enter the SDP and are having challenges with  navigating  any stage of the program and have not yet achieved “live” status, please let your your service coordinator know. 

Family Training

Self-Determination Program


What is the Self-Determination Program, what are the benefits, and what would your responsibilities be if you choose to participate in this service delivery option? Effective June 7, 2021, the Self-Determination Program is available to everyone.

This orientation is designed to help you to learn about what this program is all about, and whether you would be interested in changing from more traditional regional center service coordination model to a self-determination model.