Monday, February 7, 2011

CA-Important Proposed $750 Million Cut in Services

Governor Brown's administration has proposed cutting $750 million from regional centers.  This is a huge cut which will undoubtedly have tremendous consequences for children and adults served by the regional centers. Here is a summary of some of what the legislature has proposed, so far, followed by information on what you can do.

Some of the Proposed Cost-Cutting Methods
Legislative Analyst's Policy Brief. Cost-cutting options include: (a) expanding existing Family Cost Participation (i.e., having families contribute to payment for services), or, (b) using means testing to determine program eligibility, for example, limiting regional center eligibility to families who do not have the means to pay for the services (for family of 4, this cut-off could be for families making more than $89,000/yr).

Proposed budget trailer bill language - New Service Standards: This would require DDS (which oversees regional centers) to develop new standards regarding an individual's eligibility for regional center services, duration & frequency of services, and parent responsibilities.  Given that this is a cost-cutting measure, it is assumed that this could further limit who is eligible for services, the duration of services, the intensity of services, and require more parent training and less direct provision of 1:1 services.

Proposed budget trailer bill language - RC Services - 85% direct/15% indirect  - This would affect every regional center service provider.  It would require that, "at least 85% of regional center funds (received by the provider) be spent on direct services (i.e., paying our interventionists and supervisors)."  That is, no more than 15% of regional center revenue could be spent on employee training, administrative staff (e.g., our schedulers, etc.), directors who oversee clinical quality & so on.  Stanford University's Stanford Social Innovation Review published a research article titled, "The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle," which describes the impact of underfunding overhead.  As one colleague notes, "The article describes how underfunding overhead will have disastrous effects on services (and) may jeopardize organizations existence... It reports that overhead rates across all industries vary but the average is 25%."

What You Can Do:
1.     Write or call the chairs and members of the budget subcommittees. Tell them how these unprecedented cuts will affect you and your family. The California Disability Action Network (CDCAN) suggests that, "We need to focus on the amount - the total $750 million reduction in state general fund spending in developmental services that the Governor is proposing and to persuade the Legislature to reject, or significantly reduce that amount. We can and should offer up ideas and solutions to save money later - after the Legislature makes a decision about the$750 million. Any idea we come up with now does nothing to lower the overall reduction amount of $750 million. That is the issue and threat confronting ALL of us NOW."

Here is their contact info (From CDCAN):
Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, Chair
Senate Budget Subcommittee #3 on Health and Human Services
State Capitol - Room 5019
Sacramento, CA 95814

Copy to:
Sen. Mark Leno, Chair
Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee
State Capitol - Room 5019
Sacramento, CA 95814

Assemblymember Holly Mitchell, Chair
Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 on Health and Human Services
State Capitol - Room 6026
Sacramento, CA 95814

Copy to:
Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield, Chair
Assembly Budget Committee
State Capitol - Room 6026
Sacramento, CA 95814

And ALWAYS send copies to:

The name of your own State Senator and Assemblymember
State Capitol (no room needed)
Sacramento, CA 95814
Note: sending the letter to their district office - where you live - is better

Marty Omoto at CDCAN also recommends sending a letter via mail vs. email as he says emails are more likely to be ignored.
2.  Sign up for free CDCAN reports at to stay informed on the budget crisis and how it affects your child's services.

3. Attend the upcoming legislative hearing in Sacramento regarding the $750 million in cuts:
Thurs 2/10/11- Senate Budget Subcommittee #3 on Health & Human Services, 10:00 am, State Capitol, Room 4203

The legislature will likely take action on these proposed cuts sometime this month, so the time to have a voice is now.

No comments:

Post a Comment