general FAQ’s

Who is Eligible for Regional Center Services?

To be eligible for services, the disability must begin before your 18th birthday, be expected to continue indefinitely and present a significant disability. Also, the disability must be due to one of the following conditions:

  • Intellectual disability
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Epilepsy
  • Autism
  • Disabling conditions closely related to mental retardation or require similar treatment
  • Infants and toddlers (age 0 to 36 months) who are at risk of becoming developmentally disabled or who have a developmental delay may also qualify for services
  • Individuals at risk of having a child with a developmental disability may be eligible for referral for genetic diagnosis, counseling and other prevention services

Developmental disability does not include other disabling conditions that are solely physical in nature.

What Services Do Regional Centers Provide?

Regional centers provide or coordinate the following services related to a developmental disability:

  • Information and referral
  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • Counseling
  • Lifelong individualized planning and service coordination
  • Purchase of necessary services included in the individual program plan
  • Assistance in finding and using community and other resources
  • Advocacy for the protection of the legal, civil and service rights
  • Early intervention services for at risk infants and their families
  • Genetic counseling
  • Family support
  • Planning, placement, and monitoring for 24-hour out-of-home care
  • Training and educational opportunities for individuals and families
  • Community education about developmental disabilities

What Do Regional Center Services Cost?

There is no charge for diagnosis and assessment for eligibility. Once eligibility is determined, most services are free regardless of age or income. There is a requirement for parents to share the cost of 24-hour out-of-home placements for children under age 18. This share depends on the parents’ ability to pay. There may also be a co-payment requirement for other selected services.

Regional centers are required by law to provide services in the most cost-effective way possible. They must use all other resources, including generic resources, before using any regional center funds. A generic resource is a service provided by an agency which has a legal responsibility to provide services to the general public and receives public funds for providing those services. Some generic agencies you might be referred to are the local school district, county social services department, Medi-Cal, Social Security Administration, Department of Rehabilitation and others. Other resources may include natural supports. This is help that you may get from family, friends or others at little or no cost.

What Can The Regional Center Do For Me?

The regional center helps coordinate the services that are needed because of a developmental disability. This is called case management or service coordination. A case manager or service coordinator will be assigned to help you. He or she will help develop a plan for services, tell you where services are available, and help you to get the services.

How Do I Know What Services I Will Get?

The regional center uses a planning process called an Individual Program Plan (IPP).

For children age 0 to 36 months this process is called the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The plan is prepared by you, parents of a minor child, a guardian or conservator (if any), anyone else you invite to be with you, and regional center staff.

The IPP (or IFSP) lists your goals and the services needed to reach these goals. It lists who will provide the service and who will pay for it. All services listed in the IPP will be provided either by a
generic or natural resource, a regional center vendor ( a business approved by the regional center) or directly by the regional center.

What is included in the intake process?

During the initial appointment, the Intake Coordinator will provide an overview of the Regional Center and its services. The coordinator will ask a series of questions and if necessary, assist the individual with arranging appointments for assessments to determine eligibility. These assessments may include-but are not limited to psychological, medical and/or developmental evaluations. The assessment information is reviewed and eligibility determined by a team of professionals including a psychologist, physician, assessment specialist and program manager. For children between birth and three years of age, eligibility is determined within 45 days following the initial intake meeting. For persons age three and older, eligibility is determined within 120 days. Click here for more info on intake process

What are generic resources?

Generic resources are those services typically funded by a government entity, complete with a set of eligibility criteria and regulations of their own. Generic resources may include the school districts, Society Security Administration, Housing Authority, California Children’s Services, Medical, Medicare, community colleges; literacy services; and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program.

Where do I find support?

McClaney Family Resource Center has books, videos, and other resources to assist you with gaining information about your child’s disability. The Regional Center also sponsors parent support groups. There is an English speaking group, a support group for families who speak Spanish and one for the parents of children with autism and other developmental disabilities.