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Implementing Your IPP

By: Golden Gate Regional Center

How is my IPP/IFSP Implemented? 

The starting point for implementing an IPP/IFSP is the IPP/IFSP meeting. After you or members of your family member document what goals and objectives you want to work toward, the next step in the IPP/IFSP process is to list the type and amount of supports and services you need to achieve your goals and objectives, and who will provide these supports and services. 

Some of the assistance and support you or your family member may need will come from members of your person-centered planning team. The members of your team ­ family, friends, your circle of support, and your Case Manager ­ will offer assistance by agreeing to provide, coordinate or advocate for some of the services and supports you need. 

Other services and supports that you or your family member may need will come from accessing the natural supports that exist in your family, with friends, and in your community. Your person-centered planning team will help you or your family member to identify natural supports and community resources, and when necessary, advocate for you or your family member to assure that you have access to the same programs and services that are available to everyone in the community. 

If the supports and services needed to achieve your goals and objectives are beyond those that can be offered by the members of your team or the natural supports within your family and community, your Case Manager will help you and the team to identify a variety of other resources that may be helpful in achieving your objectives. These resources may include services and supports provided or funded through public agencies, non-profit organizations, and/or the regional center. 

What are natural supports and generic services

The Lanterman Act focuses on the concept of natural support as one of the primary and most meaningful ways of enhancing the lives of people with developmental disabilities. Natural support refers to the support and assistance that naturally flows from the associations and relationships typically developed in natural environments such as the family and community. These relationships and the support and assistance they offer, maintain and enhance the quality and security of life for people with developmental disabilities. Examples of natural supports are: extended family and friends, the neighborhood school, the local child care center, social activities sponsored by Boy and Girl Scouts, YMCA/ YWCA, and activities sponsored through religious organizations, or city and county parks and recreational facilities. 

There are many public agencies that are legally required to provide service to persons with developmental disabilities. We refer to these public agencies as generic agencies, and the services they provide as generic services or supports. Some of these supports are medical services through Medi-Cal, educational services through the Public School District, vocational and job placement services through the Department of Rehabilitation, and disability benefits through Social Security. Each of these public agencies has its own guidelines for eligibility and services. Other generic supports in the community are voluntary service organizations, commercial businesses, non-profit agencies, and similar entities in the community whose services and products are regularly available to members of the general public. 

Assisting consumers and families in developing and accessing the natural and generic supports in their lives is a primary responsibility of the regional center. Participation in services and supports in natural environments provides greater opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to interact with, and gain acceptance from other people in their neighborhoods and communities. Greater participation in natural environments promotes the sense that people with developmental disabilities are a part of and belong in the mainstream life of the community, to the benefit of all. 

How is the Regional Center funded to provide these services? 

Golden Gate Regional Center is a private, non-profit corporation that operates under contract with the State of California, and is funded with a combination of State General Fund tax dollars and Federal Medicaid funds. Our primary contractual relationship is with the State Department of Developmental Services. 

We receive a new contract each fiscal year, which begins July 1st and goes through June 30th of the following year. The contract contains a budget based on the amount the Legislature and Governor have allocated through the state's budget process each year. 

Our budget is divided into two parts. The Purchase of Services budget ­ about 80% of the total allocation ­ is used to purchase services for consumers and their families from our community service provider network. The Operations Budget ­ about 20% of the overall total ­ is used to pay for those direct services provided by regional center staff (such as service coordination, advocacy and quality assurance), as well as support functions such as accounting and data processing, and the operation of the Center. 

It is important to note that our budget allocation does not represent what we need, but what we are given, which has historically been significantly less than our projected needs, especially for the services that we provide, such as service coordination. Funding from the state is not keeping pace with our service needs. 

Purchase of Service Statement

Golden Gate Regional Center may purchase services and supports for persons with developmental disabilities ("consumers") when such services and supports will: (1) prevent or alleviate the developmental disability, (2) prevent the dislocation of a minor consumer from his or her home or the dislocation of an adult consumer from his or her home community, or (3) enable the consumer to approximate the pattern of everyday living of a nondisabled person of the same age, or lead to a more independent, productive and normal life in the community or permit interaction with persons without disabilities in positive, meaningful ways. Consumers also include infants under the age of three who have conditions which put them at risk of developmental disability, as determined by an interdisciplinary team (Welfare & Institutions Code § § 4501, 4502, 4646, subd. (a), 4648, subd. (a)(1).)

"Services and supports for persons with developmental disabilities" means specialized services and supports or special adaptations of generic services and supports directed toward the alleviation of a developmental disability or toward the social, personal, physical, or economic habilitation or rehabilitation of an individual with a developmental disability, or toward the achievement and maintenance of independent, productive, normal lives for persons with developmental disabilities. The determination of which services and supports are necessary for each consumer shall be made through the Individual Program Plan/Individualized Family Service Plan ("IPP/IFSP") process. The determination shall be made on the basis of the needs and preferences of the consumer or, when appropriate, the consumer's family, and shall include consideration of a range of service options proposed by the IPP/IFSP participants, the effectiveness of each option in meeting the goals stated in the IPP/IFSP, and the cost effectiveness of each option. (Welfare & Institutions Code 4512, subd. (b).)

Public resources which are available to implement any service or support and any other sources of available funding and/or voluntary provision of service and support to a consumer, such as the natural support of family, friends and associates, or circles of support, shall be investigated and pursued, if appropriate, prior to the Regional Center's purchase of service. Parents of minor consumers may voluntarily purchase some portion of their child's care, beyond that required by law for support of minor consumers; and parents of adult consumers may voluntarily purchase some or all of the adult consumer's care. In those instances where it is determined that another agency or individual should be responsible to purchase or provide a service, the Regional Center will assist the consumer and/or family in obtaining the needed service. While the Regional Center is pursuing funding from another agency or individual, it may purchase urgently needed services and supports until that agency or individual purchases or provides the services and supports. Any retroactive funding received from an outside agency or individual should be applied to offset the payment or payments made by the Regional Center during the time that such service or support was being pursued. (Welfare & Institutions Code § § 4648, subd. (a)(8), 4659, 4685, subd. (c)(6) and 4791, subds. (c) and (h)(1)(A), Family Code § § 3900 and 3910.)

In identifying a minor consumer's service and support needs, the Regional Center shall take into account the parents' responsibility to provide services to the minor consumer. With regard to diapers and child care, except in unusual circumstances, the Regional Center shall fund only those services and supports which are more than the parents would be responsible to provide for a child without a developmental disability. For minors in out-of-home placement or in or on leave from a State Developmental Center, the Regional Center shall look to the parents to meet their share of costs for the minor's care. For children under the age of three years, regional centers may use private insurance as a generic service only if there is not cost to the family as a result of its use. Cost includes deductibles, co-pays, or a reduction in the lifetime benefit cap. Regional centers may pay the cost of accessing private insurance (e.g. deductible and co-pay amounts). (34 CFR 303.520(b)(3)(I). (Welfare & Institutions Code § § 4659, 4685, subd. (c)(6), 4782 and 4784, Family Code § 3900.)

The IPP/IFSP process is at the heart of the Regional Center's function to plan for and meet the needs of the consumer and his or her family. Services and supports may be purchased to meet a consumer's needs associated with a developmental disability when such services and supports will accomplish all or any part of the goals and objectives contained in the consumer's IPP/IFSP. Individual Program Plans/Individualized Family Service Plans shall be prepared jointly by one or more representatives of the Regional Center, including the Case Manager, the person with a developmental disability, and where appropriate, the person's parents, legal guardian, or conservator and any other persons invited by the consumer or his or her parent, guardian or conservator. (Welfare & Institutions Code § § 4646 and 4646.5.)

To the fullest extent possible, services and supports should be provided which are culturally appropriate, integrated with mainstream community life, promote consumer and family empowerment and involve consumers and their families in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of services and supports. (Welfare & Institutions Code § § 4501, 4502, 4512, 4640.7, 4646, 4646.5, 4685 and 4688.)

Services and supports may be purchased only from providers (a) who are vendored or otherwise authorized by the Department of Developmental Services to provide such services and supports, (b) who have a rate of payment for vendored or contracted services provided by the Department of Developmental Services, (c) for whom the Regional Center has issued prior authorization for the purchase of the specific service for the consumer involved, and (d) who adhere to the quality of care standards set forth by the Regional Center, the Department of Developmental Services, the Welfare & Institutions Code and the California Code of Regulations related to the service and support provided. The Regional Center shall consider the following when selecting a provider of consumer services and supports:

  • A provider's ability to deliver quality services and supports which will accomplish the specified IPP/IFSP objective; 
  • A provider's success in achieving the objectives in the IPP/IFSP; 
  • Where appropriate, the existence of licensing, accreditation, or professional certification; 
  • The cost of providing services and supports of comparable quality by different providers; 
  • A provider's innovation and ability to promote cost effectiveness; 
  • The ability of the provider to develop and facilitate services in natural environments with natural supports; 
  • The ability of the provider to empower consumers and their families, when appropriate, to make choices in their own lives, including where and how they live, their relationships with people in the community, the way they spend their time, including education, employment and leisure, the pursuit of their personal future, and program planning and implementation; 
  • The ability of the provider to implement services and supports which result in a more independent, productive and normal life for the consumer. 

Continued funding of services and supports may be authorized only if the consumer, and where appropriate, the consumer's parent, legal guardian or conservator and the Regional Center agree that (a) the planned services and supports have been provided as specified above, and (b) reasonable progress has been made toward meeting the consumer's IPP/IFSP objectives. (Welfare & Institutions Code § § 4648, 4651, 4685.)

Golden Gate Regional Center will not purchase any service or support which is considered by recognized professionals to be potentially harmful to consumers (Welfare & Institutions Code § § 4502 and 4503).

Persons with developmental disabilities have the same legal rights and responsibilities guaranteed all other individuals by the United States Constitution and the Constitution and laws of the State of California. Services shall be purchased for eligible consumers without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, citizenship, sex, age or condition of physical or mental disability. No otherwise qualified person, by reason of developmental disability, shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity which receives public funds. (Welfare & Institutions Code § 4502.)

What guidelines and process do we use for purchasing servces:

Golden Gate Regional Center has developed guidelines for the various types of services that we purchase, and we review these guidelines periodically to determine that they are innovative, cost-effective, economical and relevant to current practice. 

Your Case Manager will discuss the guidelines for particular services you are considering, and assist you in determining if there are other funding sources available. If you and your Case Manager are unable to locate alternate funding for the services and supports identified in your plan, your Case Manager will process by Golden Gate Regional Center.

Requests that are an exception to Golden Gate Regional Center's funding guidelines may require additional staff specialist involvement. Realizing that there are unique needs that individuals may have, exceptions to guidelines allow a specific consumer to receive a service for which he/she would not ordinarily be eligible according to our standard guidelines. 

For those requests that are not approved, a letter is sent to the consumer or family describing the decision and the availability of an appeal process. If you disagree with the decision not to fund a service, you have the right to appeal that decision. 

When a service is authorized, the service provider receives a written authorization so that he/she may begin working with the consumer. It is important that the service provider get approval from the regional center before providing services. Golden Gate Regional Center will only reimburse a provider for services that have our prior authorization. 

How can I be assured of receiving quality and effective services? 

Quality and effectiveness are everyone's business. Golden Gate Regional Center is committed to providing services and purchasing services from its network of community service providers that are of high quality, achieve the desired results, and are cost-effective. We rely on our partners ­ consumers, families, service providers, and community volunteers ­ to assist us in these efforts. Consumers and their family members have a key role to play. Your comments and suggestions about the quality and effectiveness of the services you receive, promote greater responsiveness and accountability on the part of Golden Gate Regional Center and our community service provider network. 

Inform yourself. Attend meetings. Be sure to ask questions. Be a decision-maker. Visit any services or programs that your family member is attending and make observations. If you are pleased with the progress and results, be sure to commend the efforts of the staff. If you observe anything unusual, are concerned about the quality of the services, or do not think that the service is achieving the desired outcome, be sure to share your concerns with the provider. You should also share your observations and concerns with your Case Manager as soon as possible. 

Golden Gate Regional Center has a quality assurance program that uses a team approach to monitor quality of services. Teams of trained staff and volunteers make site visits to programs and residential facilities to assure compliance with standards and expectations. If you are interested in serving on one of these teams, contact your Case Manager. 

What if I have a comment or complaint about services? 

We take pride in the quality of our service, and want to be responsive to your concerns. We are committed to always improving our service and the services provided by our community service provider network. We encourage you to make comments and express your level of satisfaction with the services provided to you by Golden Gate Regional Center and by individual staff members. You can call, write a letter, or complete and return satisfaction surveys that you will periodically receive from us in the mail. 

If you have a particular complaint, the first person you should contact is your Case Manager, who will in turn assist you or direct you to the appropriate person. Please give us an opportunity to address your concern or correct the problem by talking to us directly. In the event that the situation is not resolved to your satisfaction, you should request to speak with the supervisor of the specific department involved. If the matter continues to be unresolved, you may request to speak to the appropriate department head. If you think that your complaint requires the Director's immediate attention, do not hesitate to call.