What is the referral process for Regional Center services?
Referrals to the Regional Center may be made by anyone, including parents, family members and medical providers. Parents who have concerns about their child’s development and wish to self-refer can contact their local Regional Center (which can be identified via the state DDS website or zip code lookup tool) and request an evaluation for their child.
The entire process of assessment, eligibility determination, and development of the service plan must take place within 45 days. Once the evaluation is made, the Regional Center must assign a service coordinator to the family, obtain consent from parents to evaluate the child, and schedule and complete developmental evaluations and assessments. If the child is eligible for services, the service coordinator must meet with parents to develop an Individualized Family Service Plan to address the child’s strengths, needs, goals and parental concerns, and identify the services that will help the child achieve the stated goals.
Typically the assessments will take place in the child’s home. Depending on parental concerns, there may be multiple assessments performed by various providers during the 45-day evaluation period, including a developmental assessment as well as evaluation for specific therapies, e.g. physical therapy, infant stimulation, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.
The Regional Center will likely ask for a copy of the child’s medical records, or request a release so they can seek the records from the provider. If you are able to provide the Regional Center with a copy of medical records, this can expedite the review process. If the child already has a diagnosis and has been evaluated recently, the Regional Center may opt to rely on existing documentation rather than perform its own evaluations for eligibility purposes. They will generally still conduct evaluations to establish recommended services and frequency of services.
For more information about Regional Center services, see Early Intervention Eligibility | Regional Centers.