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How the Regional Center System Works


We are committed to providing the highest quality services to our community.

Those services include:

  • Case finding and intake

  • Assessment, diagnosis, evaluation, and counseling

  • Monitoring and evaluation

  • Development of an Individual Program Plan (IPP) or Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP), and coordination of services

  • Purchase of services to meet IPP/IFSP objectives

  • Advocacy for the protection of legal, civil, and service rights

  • Resource development, program evaluation, and community education

  • Public information and training; Information, referral, and linkage to other services and supports

Purchase of Service (POS)

The Lanterman Act (the law which defines services) outlines what the Regional Center and the Planning Team should do to address the needs of persons with developmental disabilities. For children under age 3, the California Early Intervention Services Act defines services.

Needs and services are discussed by the Planning Team and are included on the Individual Program Plan (IPP) or, for children under age 3, the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The Regional Center may purchase services only when no other private or public funding source is available. Purchase of Service (POS) standards have been developed which are used in reviewing funding requests.


What are Purchase of Service Standards?

The POS standards provide direction about the kinds of services that SDRC may purchase for people with developmental disabilities and their families. Each Regional Center develops its own Purchase of Service standards that are unique to the community they serve. These POS standards are approved by the Department of Developmental Services to assure conformance with the Lanterman Act.

How are Services Accessed?

The Planning Team is made up of the client, family members, friends, the service coordinator and providers of services (school, day program, etc.) who meet to develop the IPP/IFSP. They have a shared responsibility for looking at all possible resources and sources of funding. The IPP/IFSP outlines the services and supports the client needs, who will be providing the supports, and the source of any funding needed. The IPP/IFSP also states why the service is needed, when the service will start and stop, and how the team will know if it helps. Each person has unique needs and therefore each person’s IPP/IFSP is different.


What is the Role of the Service Coordinator?

The service coordinator is the main point of contact at the Regional Center for the client and his/her family. The client, the client’s family and the SDRC service coordinator work together to discuss needs and to identify resources. Others may also be involved in these discussions, including Regional Center consultants, providers of services or others the client or parent ask to participate. The service coordinator helps to set up meetings with the Planning Team to talk about the needs and to develop individualized plans. If there is a concern, you may contact the Program Manager, who supervises the service coordinator.

Other Things to Know about Purchase of Service:

All sources of support must be discussed and pursued by the Planning Team. The following conditions must be taken into account by the Planning Team whenever a request for funding is considered: Natural supports of family and friends; Governmental; Private; Public; Other generic resources must be utilized, if available


The service must be related to the individual’s developmental disability. An outcome (goal) must be included on the IPP/IFSP which addresses each service need. POS is for services that do not take the place of services that parents could access for their other non-disabled children. The services closest to the client’s home will be selected, whenever available. For children under age 3, there may be some differences in services provided through the California Early Start Program.

Information About AFPF, FCPP, Insurance Co-Payments, Medical Managed Care and Fee-For-Service can be found here.

Entitlement – What Does it Mean?
Entitlement to services for people with developmental disabilities began with the passage of the Lanterman Act in 1965. The Act created one community based agency (regional center) that provides specific services to eligible individuals. The Act does not create a blank check to obtain services and does not imply that a person who receives regional center services is entitled to each and every service offered by a regional center. However, Section 4501 of the Lanterman Act does state, “The State of California accepts responsibility for persons with developmental disabilities and an obligation to them which it must discharge.” We Californians are proud of the Lanterman Act and what it means for individuals with developmental disabilities. Entitlement simply means that in California we want to ensure that people who have developmental disabilities are:

Entitled to Participation

In the development of their own program plan for services and supports in the community; In appropriate public education; In their own communities and social interaction; In physical activities and recreational opportunities

Entitled to Choices

For services and supports; In their own lives including where and with whom to live, personal relationships, how to spend their time, education, work and pursuit of their personal future.

Entitled to Protection

Of their personal liberty, dignity and privacy; From harm, abuse, or neglect; From being subjected to restraint, isolation or medication


In order to ensure that people with developmental disabilities in California can exercise their rights to the above, they are also:

Entitled to Services and Supports

That foster the development of the person’s potential and help them achieve independence, productivity, and as normal a life as possible: In their own home environment and natural community setting; In the least restrictive environment; That includes humane care, prompt medical care and treatment, religious freedom and practice; That is based on the needs and preferences of the person; That includes consideration to a range of service options

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