Self-Determination Program (SDP)


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.

Voluntary Withdrawals

Some of the individuals who were selected for this program during the initial phase in period decided to withdraw their 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 Became Available on 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. 

The Self-determination Program is available to everyone.  

We host orientations in both English and Spanish. Interpretation for other languages is also available as needed. 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. Upcoming Orientation sessions are listed on this webpage.

Department of Developmental Services Program Directives & Implementation Tools

Download Information Sheet





Traditional Chinese



Orientación al Programa de Autodeterminación (Español)

El Programa de Autodeterminación (Self-Determination Program, SDP) proporciona flexibilidad en cuanto a quién y cómo se prestan los servicios. Esta orientación la presentan los especialistas en elección del participante del Harbor Regional Center y está diseñada para ayudarte a conocer este modelo de servicio no tradicional y a comprender el proceso para participar en el SDP

Las orientaciones se llevan a cabo a través de Zoom.

Para inscribirse en la orientación: 

Si el individuo es atendido por los Departamentos de Primera Infancia o de Niños y Adolescentes (Early Childhood or Children and Adolescent Departments), comuníquese con Tanya Aguilar al teléfono (310)792-4751.

Si el individuo es atendido por el Departamento de Adultos (Adult Department), comuníquese con Grace Paez al teléfono (310)792-4548.


Self Determination Program Orientation (English)

The Self Determination Program (SDP) provides flexibility on who provides services and how services are provided. This orientation is presented by the Participant Choice Specialists and is designed to help you learn about this non-traditional service model and understand the process in order to participate in SDP. 

Orientation sessions are scheduled monthly in English and Spanish.            

Orientations are held via Zoom.

To register for the orientation: