Frequently asked questions

What does "Self-Determination" mean?

Self-determination is the right to make decisions about your own life. People with developmental disabilities (DD) have the same right to self-determination as all people - they are entitled to the freedom to choose, the authority to make decisions, and the supports necessary to exercise control over their lives. Family members, friends, and other allies (known as a circle of support) play a crucial role in aiding self-determination. They are called on to provide support, add context, and work collaboratively in the journey toward achieving the individual’s goals. Self-determination opens up many opportunities to evaluate how the traditional system can become more person-centered, strength-based, and goal-oriented.

What is California’s Self-Determination Program?

California’s Self-Determination Program (SDP) provides individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families with more flexibility and choice regarding their services and supports. Rather than getting approval for vendorized services, you are provided with a budget for the year that you are able to allocate as you choose.

How does the California Self-Determination Program work?

Your local regional center provides you with an individual budget, and you can choose how to use your budget to purchase the services you need for your person-centered plan (PCP) and Individual Program Plan (IPP). This offers more flexibility in the types of services you may employ: for example, you can purchase services directly from providers or local businesses, hire individual support employees, negotiate unique arrangements with various programs and communities, etc.

What is a Person-Centered Plan?

A Person-Centered Plan involves an individual’s “circle of support,” focusing on the individual’s strengths and goals in order to outline the best service and support plan possible to achieve those dreams.

Has the California Self-Determination Program been effective?

The program arose from a 20-year-old pilot project that 200 individuals participated in through five regional centers. The pilot program was incredibly successful but, until recently, wasn't expanded very far beyond the first pilot. It is now being opened up to all Regional Center members throughout the state of California in June of 2021. The initial pilot of 2500 DD individuals and their families is currently underway. You can read more about the Seld Determination Program at the DDS website:

How do I sign up for the California Self-Determination Program?

The Self-Determination Program is currently being phased in over the span of three years. On June 5, 2021, the program will be open to all eligible individuals and families. To learn more details regarding SDP for you, contact your local regional center’s Self-Determination Local Advisory Committee.

Am I eligible for the California Self-Determination Program?

To be eligible, you or your family member must: 1. Have an intellectual or developmental disability 2. Currently or about to be receiving services from a California regional center 3. Be above the age of three or eligible for services under the Lanterman Act 4. Not be living in a licensed long-term health care facility

What if I join the California Self-Determination Program and don’t like it?

You can always voluntarily choose to leave the Self-Determination Program and return to traditional regional center services. However, if you leave, you cannot return to the SDP for at least twelve months.

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