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Upcoming Changes to Regional Center’s Self-Determination Program

Upcoming Changes to Regional Center’s Self-Determination Program

Published: Nov. 20, 2023Updated: Nov. 29, 2023

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The Self-Determination Program (SDP) provides a more flexible way for Regional Center clients to receive services such as respite, social-recreational classes, and therapies. Transitioning into the Self-Determination Program requires a bit of setup, which is why Regional Centers provide funding for Independent Facilitators to guide families through the person-centered planning process, creation of a spending plan to fit their budget, and support for working with a financial management service to make sure providers get paid.

Currently, each Regional Center client transitioning to SDP is provided up to $2,500 to pay for Independent Facilitator services. However, starting in 2024, the California Department of Developmental Services is going to change the way Independent Facilitators get paid to transition Regional Center clients into the Self-Determination Program.

Starting January 1, 2024:

  • Regional Centers will pay an Independent Facilitator $1,000 just for the person-centered plan (PCP) piece of the transition to SDP.
  • Then, Regional Centers will pay for up to 40 hours of continued support for the individual to transition to SDP, paid hourly at a specific rate depending on the Regional Center. Those 40 hours can be split between the Independent Facilitator and financial management services, but they must first be approved by the Regional Center.

Independent Facilitators (IFs) can play a crucial role in helping Regional Center clients advocate for their individual needs, make sure services are based on their goals, understand their budget, and develop a spending plan to make sure they have a smooth transition to the Self-Determination Program. However, there are no established regulations for what IFs must provide for clients. Families who are looking to hire an Independent Facilitator need to do their research and make an educated decision based on their needs.

We recommend making sure to get clear answers to these questions when interviewing a potential IF:

  • How much do you charge?
  • What pieces of Self-Determination do you help with beyond the PCP? (FMS, budget, spending plan, etc.)
  • What Regional Centers are you vendored with?

Some Independent Facilitators are no longer accepting clients until 2024 after the SDP changes take place, so make sure you’re aware of availability when looking for an IF. If your preferred Independent Facilitator has a lengthy waiting list, you can put yourself on the list and continue looking. The amount of time spent on a waitlist will vary depending on the IF, but we expect that waits will be longer as IFs and their clients get used to the changes in 2024.

Undivided members have access to our step-by-step guide to enrolling in SDP as well as our list of recommended Independent Facilitators with insights about their availability. If you’re looking for an IF who is vendored with a specific Regional Center, you can always ask our Research team about putting together a report for you.

For more information about SDP, check out our article Frequently Asked Questions about the Self-Determination Program.

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Brittany OlsenContent Editor

Reviewed by
Lindsay Crain, Head of Content and Community at Undivided

Iris Barker, Independent Facilitator at Bridge Builders CA

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