News, Information, & Opportunities for California's Intellectual & Developmental Disability Community
October 16, 2017

  • Summary of Priority Legislative Bills and Their Outcomes
  • Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month - Recognizing Excellence
  • It Takes A Team!  Wings For All Gives Airport Experience to Families with Special Needs.
  • Cutting Through The Fog: The Pill of Public Transportation.
  • Focus On: Parents & Advocates Sue State of Georgia Over Separate and Unequal Education.
  • Upcoming Events, News, Articles, and Research
  • Jobs, Funding Opportunities, & More

Information & Resources

The Arc California is reaching out to providers throughout the state to assist in any way possible to ensure the safety and well-being of clients and staff.  Below is the most updated state information on aid and shelters.  

Department of Developmental Services:
Local officials determined residents of Sonoma Developmental Center(SDC) who were sheltered at Sonoma Veterans Memorial Building and Adele Harrison Middle School have been relocated as a precautionary measure. Residents and staff relocated to the Dixon Fairgrounds. This shelter is for SDC residents only. Staff and volunteers are focused on safely supporting each individual during this relocation. There is ample food, water and access to medical attention and necessary medications. DDS has established an information line specific to the Sonoma fires at (916) 261-4149. SDC social workers will be reaching out to families with individual updates.

Governor Brown today announced that the White House has approved California's request for direct aid to individuals and families in Orange and Nevada counties who have suffered losses due to the fires. The Governor earlier this week announced the same assistance for residents of Napa and Sonoma counties and Butte, Lake, Mendocino and Yuba counties.
Survivors who primarily reside in these eight counties can apply online for federal Individual Disaster Assistance at or by phone at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

More information on the federal Individual Disaster Assistance program is available here. In addition to the individual assistance for families, California has also secured public assistance for the counties of Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Solano, Sonoma and Yuba to help those jurisdictions remove debris and take other emergency protective measures. 
Governor's Office of Emergency ServicesEvacuation, shelter, and insurance information.

Closures and information for each county.


Priority Bills This Year

The Governor has now taken action on all bills that were sent to him for either signature or veto.  A summary of the priority bills for The Arc & UCP California Collaboration and their outcomes is below:

 SB 218  (Dodd D)   The Qualified ABLE Program: tax-advantaged savings accounts.  
Summary: Would authorize, only to the extent permitted under federal law, the transfer of all amounts in a designated beneficiary's ABLE account to an ABLE account for another eligible individual specified by either the designated beneficiary or the estate of the designated beneficiary upon the death of the designated beneficiary. The bill would require the California ABLE Act Board, upon establishing a CalABLE account and prior to any transfer of funds from one ABLE account to another, to notify all designated beneficiaries or the estates of the designated beneficiaries, as applicable, of the potential tax consequences of transferring funds from one ABLE account to another pursuant to these provisions.

Budget & Program Costs
AB 279  (Holden D)   Developmental disabilities
Location: TWO-YEAR BILL*
Summary: Would require the state to cover the costs of local minimum age increases in the rates paid to community-based developmental services programs.

Criminal Justice, Safety & Civil Rights
AB 859 (Eggman D)   Elders and dependent adults: abuse or neglect.  
Summary: The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act provides for the award of attorney's fees and costs to, and the recovery of damages by, a plaintiff when it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is liable for physical abuse or neglect, and the defendant has also been found guilty of recklessness, oppression, fraud, or malice in the commission of that abuse. This bill would instead apply a preponderance of the evidence standard - an easier standard to meet -- to any claim brought against a residential care facility for the elderly or a skilled nursing facility, except as specified, for remedies sought pursuant to the above provisions, upon circumstances in which spoliation of evidence has been committed by the defendant.

AB 1161 (Ting D)   Hate crimes: law enforcement policies.  
Location: TWO-YEAR BILL*
Summary: Would improve law enforcement agencies' hate crime policies to better protect people with disabilities and other victims of hate crimes.

General Systemic
AB 959 (Holden D)   Access to community-based developmental servies
Summary: Would: (1) Provide an on-line list and description of all available services offered through regional centers; (2) Require regional centers to provide information to consumers and families in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner, including providing alternative communication services; and (3) Require regional centers to respect the wishes of consumers' authorized representatives in making day-to-say living decisions for consumers.

Housing & Homelessness

SB 2  (Atkins D)   Building Homes and Jobs Act.  
Summary: Enacts the Building Homes and Jobs Act. The bill imposes a fee of $75 to be paid at the time of the recording of every real estate instrument except property transfers, not to exceed $225, to fund affordable and accessible housing.

SB 3 (Beall D)   Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018.  
Summary: Enacts the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018, which, if adopted by the voters, would authorize the issuance of $400 billion in bonds to fund affordable and accessible housing and the Cal-Vet home loan program

SB 35 (Wiener D)   Planning and zoning: affordable housing: streamlined approval process.  
Summary:Creates a streamlined, ministerial approval process for infill developments in localities that have failed to meet their regional housing needs assessment numbers

Olmstead Related 

AB 1379 (Thurmond D)   Certified access specialist program: funding.  
Summary: Increases funding for the State Certified Access Specialist (CASp) Program to increase the availability of CASp services and improve compliance with state and federal construction-related accessibility standards.

SB 442  (Newman D)   Public health: pools accidents
Summary: Would require, when a pool or spa building permit is issued, it be equipped with at least 2 of 7 specified drowning prevention safety features to prevent pool accidents, a leading cause of developmental disabilities.

Special Education
AB 45  (Thurmond D)   California School Employee Housing Assistance Grant Program.  
Summary: Would fund affordable rental housing for school employees, a step toward meeting California's shortage of special-education teachers and other specialized staff.

SB 354 (Portantino D)   Special education: individualized education programs: translation services. 
Location: TWO-YEAR BILL*
Summary: Would require schools in the native language of a parent, or in another mode of communication used by the parent, during the planning process for the child's individualized education program, as provided, and to provide alternative communication services, including by providing translation services for a parent.
AB 973 (Low D)   Remote accessible vote by mail system.  
Summary: Would, beginning January 1, 2020, require a county elections official to permit a voter with a disability, or a military or overseas voter, to cast his or her ballot using a certified remote accessible vote by mail system. 

AB 1111 (Garcia, Eduardo D)   Removing Barriers to Employment Act: Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative.  
Summary: Would create a grant program to provide individuals with barriers to employment the services they need to enter, participate in, and complete broader workforce preparation, training, and education programs aligned with regional labor market needs. The bill would specify that people completing these programs should have the skills and competencies to successfully enter the labor market, retain employment, and earn wages that lead to self-sufficiency and economic security.

AB 1607 (Frazier D)   Developmental services: integrated competitive employment.  
Summary: Would authorize a consumer in a supported employment program or work activity program who has the stated goal of integrated competitive employment in his or her IPP to request to use tailored day services in conjunction with his or her existing program to achieve that goal.

Greg deGiere
Director of Policy & Advocacy, The Arc/UCP California Collaboration
* While a two-year bill may be revived in January, 2018, in practice most are dead.




Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month - 
Recognizing Excellence 

by Teresa Anderson, MPH

Dominic, a client at Progressive Employment Concepts, is exploring a paid position at the police department.

Teresa Anderson,
Prevention Coordinator
In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month I had the honor and privilege of interviewing Carole Watilo, Executive Director of Progressive Employment Concepts. Carole is a passionate advocate for employment and finding the right fit for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to promote dignity, respect and inclusion for everyone. Her dedication to ensuring people with IDD have the chance to obtain meaningful work, prepare academically for employment or engage in meaningful volunteer opportunities led her and her husband to establish Progressive Employment Concepts 22 years ago. In addition, as the aunt to 5 nieces and nephews that use regional center services she knows first hand how important those services are. Progressive Employment Concepts is a community-based program that is built on developing individual schedules and supports that meet the interests and needs of the individuals she serves.  When they started they had 15 clients with the goal of serving 30, today they serve 105 individuals. 

I asked Carole what is the biggest challenge for today's high school graduates and if she felt that most are ready to work when they leave school. In her experience, there is a lack of focused transition services. There is a mind-set shift that needs to occur in order to focus on services that individuals need to be successful rather than "what programs are available" at the time of graduation or transition to adult settings. Real in-depth transition planning needs to drill down to needed supports, recognizing and accommodating a wide range of ability and finding something meaningful and valuable specific to individuals and have an employment first mind-set. She said "it is like match-making" you just have to find the right match!  

Our discussion of finding the right match led to me learning about Dominic. Progressive Employment Concepts has served him for over 20 years. When he was initially referred to them, Dominic's case manager (at the time) wasn't sure if he would be appropriate for the "program" but Carole disagreed as she believes they can serve everyone and as such they have a zero-exclusion policy. Dominic had/has many challenges because he is non-verbal, at the time had limited communication technology, no voluntary movement and significant personal care needs. However, over time it was discovered that Dominic is very detail oriented, great with computer systems, a good businessman and has a strong interest in criminal justice. He took classes at Folsom college in criminal justice and now volunteers for a local police department 4 days a week. Given his volunteer history with the police department, attention to detail and supports he has been able to increase his responsibilities at the police department and a paid position is being explored. Dominic feels very valued as a community member and Carole says he LOVES his job. 

There has been a lot of focus on employment, specifically in the last 10 years, and more significant policy discussions have occurred around employment first. Carole believes that the new federal rules will help shift attitudes and result in positive policy changes. In addition, she adds research, policy and strong self-advocates are essential to driving change but it needs to be funded properly to be successful.

At the end of our interview I asked her "What would you want businesses/industry to know about hiring a person with an intellectual or developmental disability"?  She said bottom line... "Businesses are here to make money and reputable support agencies will bring them people that will add value to their business.  People with IDD can add value just as any employee without a disability."  Perhaps the most poignant thing she said she would like businesses to know is that hiring a person with IDD boosts morale in your business. When you see someone jump through so many hoops just to get to work and love the work they do it just simply boosts morale. The last question I asked her was "What would you want parents, families or providers to know about getting people with IDD into the workforce?" Her greatest piece of advice was to DREAM BIG, have high expectations and expect that their family member can and will work! She suggests that we all take the time to watch these videos from Supported Life Institute and the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities about employment of people with IDD.

I want to THANK Carole and Dominic for sharing their time and experience with me. For more information about Progressive Employment Concepts visit:


It Takes A Team!

Wings For All Provides Airport Experiences for Families with Special Needs.

Successful advocacy and organizing is all about putting a team together, rather than one person or one organization doing the work. I just returned from a recap meeting in San Jose of an incredible team that successfully organized a "Wings for Autism, Wings for All" event. It took a team to make this happen, a 'dress rehearsal' or practice to obtain a boarding pass, go through TSA security, actually board a plane and be seated for flight instructions!

"For individuals with autism and similar intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), busy airports and crowded aircraft and the associated bright lights, loud noises and large crowds may cause anxiety and fear and prevent these potential passengers from traveling with their families," according to Rosemary Barnes, spokesperson for the Mineta San Jose International Airport. One family was not able to navigate the jet bridge because of the sounds and smaller space. Better to find out now than later when the family was flying! A possible accommodation could be earphones.

In order for the Silicon Valley's airport to simulate this air travel experience for people with disabilities, SJC partnered with The Arc of the US, The Arc of Alameda County, Parents Helping Parents, Southwest Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration. I obviously represented The Arc, but such an incredible experience wouldn't have 'got off the ground' without these team players.

72 children and adults with I/DD registered and attended from Napa, Sacramento, Oakland and the San Jose area. Over 30 staff (from managers to pilots) volunteered from the five sponsoring organizations in order to make "Wings for All" happen! The Arc of Fresno likewise had a successful "Wings for Autism" event last May, and plans another in the
Tim Hornbecker,
Director of Community Organizing and Advocacy
spring.  The Arc of San Francisco held a similar program of their own, "Ready Set Fly" attended by over 125 participants and volunteers.

Great organizing and team building in our communities!

Tim Hornbecker, Director of Community Organizing and Advocacy
The Arc California,

A Self-Advocacy Column by Eric Gmeinder
Eric Gmeinder,
Guest Writer

The Pill of Public Transportation

America probably has the worst public transit of any developed country. It's been that way since at least the mid-twentieth century, when General Motors lobbied to shut it down or weaken it except in the biggest, nicest cities.

As someone who is unable to drive yet due to financial and psychological issues, I've taken transit in Sacramento regularly since 2013. I've been able to get around without my parents and gotten good exercise, but I don't think I've benefited from public transportation in any other way. I've proclaimed that if there is a Hell, the bus and light rail have prepared me for it.

Usually the passengers aren't bad. I do, however, have to put up sometimes with people who act inappropriately.  Most irritating is people who pull the cord again to request a stop even though you'd have to be deaf to not hear the voice say "stop requested."

As a 15-year-old, with almost no concept of the nooks and crannies of adult life, my mom described taking the bus to me and I told her, "You can't be independent if you don't drive." Well, as long as you live somewhere that has a transit system, you can be partially independent. But having to rely on specific times to get places, taking a very long time each way, is like a disability in itself. Especially on weekends, when schedules are cut in half and I'm stuck around a city I already detest, even if it is temporary.

Also, both the light rail and the bus occasionally make loud noises that make me want to avoid taking them or wait for a quieter bus or light rail.

I got my learner's permit on July 28 this year. I decided to start learning to drive because (1) I sense that Americans are "supposed to" drive and (2) I dislike taking transit so much. Family members tell me the stakes are too high. They are high, due to said financial and psychological issues, but it is too important for me to be independent - and turn the unpleasant bus and light rail into a distant memory.



ATLANTA, GA (Oct. 11, 2017) - Today, parents of children with disabilities, the Georgia Advocacy Office, the Center for Public Representation, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, The Arc, DLA Piper LLP, and the Goodmark Law Firm filed a class action lawsuit in federal court alleging that the State of Georgia has discriminated against thousands of public school students with disabilities by providing them with a separate and unequal education via the State's Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Supports Program (GNETS).

Read more on The Arc blog here.



November 2-4, 2017

November 4, 2017
Los Angeles, CA

March 11-13, 2018
The Arc & UCP California Public Policy Conference, Sacramento, CA


Disparity Funds Program
$11 million to the Department to assist regional centers in the implementation of strategies to reduce purchase of service disparities.

National Council on Disability

Services for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
The purpose of this project is to increase community integration and independence of individuals with developmental disabilities and to improve the quality of home and community-based services (HCBS) by developing and testing one or more model approaches of a coordinated and comprehensive system that includes two interrelated core components for enhancing and assuring the independence, integration, safety, health, and well-being of individuals living in the community: (1) Community Monitoring and (2) Community Capacity Building. 

More Grants Can Be Found at

The Arc of California posts job announcements in the Career Ladder section every week because we would like to contribute to steering quality candidates to professional positions that support people with disabilities and we are trying to communicate to Direct Support Professionals that there is a real "career ladder" in their chosen profession.
The Chief Executive Officer/President enables PWI to adapt to and influence a dynamic environment. Working with and reporting to the Board of Directors, this role helps set policy and strategic leadership in concert with the mission, vision, purposes, and values of the organization. The CEO/President serves as the principal external representative of the organization and manages internal systems and complex processes of the organization to achieve effective and efficient operations. This position also directs budget development, fiscal responsibility and assures successful financial performance.

The Executive Director supports and advances the regional center's Vision and Strategic Plan and ensures that the operations and services of the regional center are aligned with that Vision and Plan. Under the policy direction of the Board of Directors, the Executive Director provides leadership to the staff and community, plans, organizes, develops and directs the operations and services of the regional center in accordance with the law, state regulations and the provisions of the Regional Center's contract with the California Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDS). 

The Senior Legislative Advocate position is based in Sacramento and is part of the team responsible for DRC's legislative activities in California. The position reports to the Legislative Director. The Senior Legislative Advocate has expert substantive knowledge in 2 to 4 disability rights areas and a working knowledge of all areas covered by Disability Rights California.

Executive Director position open for Resources for Independence Central Valley (RICV). RICV is located in Fresno, CA and provides independent living services for five counties in Central California. It has numerous funding sources including grants and fee-for-service programs. Excellent salary and benefits for the Central California area.

The Legislative Advocate 2 is part of the legislative unit for the organization and is responsible for legislative advocacy activities. The person identifies, monitors and advocates for legislative activities that affect Californians with disabilities.

Would you like to advocate for the employment, independence and equality for people with disabilities? Are you interested in joining a council that ensures consumers and other stakeholders have a voice in California's vocational rehabilitation program? If so, then a position on the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) may be for you! The SRC is recruiting for three perspective members representing:
  • The business, industry and labor community,
  • Disability advocacy groups, and,
    A current or former Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) consumer.
Alzheimer's Association Northern California and Northern Nevada, Legislative Assistant:
The Alzheimer's Association has a great opportunity for a Part-time Legislative Assistant to join our team in Sacramento, California. Working as a member of the dynamic State Public Policy & Advocacy Team, you will join a statewide network of professionals dedicated to our mission: to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through promotion of brain health. In this role, you will be responsible for coordination of the two-person State Policy Office, providing executive-level administrative support to the State Policy Director/registered lobbyist and remote support to five California chapters and volunteer advocates. The Legislative Assistant will assist in core legislative support functions such as scheduling legislative meetings, tracking and monitoring bills, drafting and disseminating letters of support/opposition, activating grassroots action alerts and event planning for annual State Advocacy Day.

Kern Regional Center Executive Director
The Executive Director, acting in the capacity of chief executive officer, is charged by the KRC Board of Directors with providing visionary and inspirational leadership as well as being responsible for the successful day to day management of all aspects of KRC's operations. The Executive Director works at the pleasure of Board and is subject to corporate bylaws, policies and procedures. The Executive Director is responsible for keeping the Board of Directors informed of the status of KRC's operations and for advising it in matters of policy. As the face of KRC, the Executive Director shall present a strong and compassionate image to the communities served by KRC as well as at the state and national level. 

California Head Start Association Professional Development Manager: California Head Start Association is seeking a creative and business savvy professional to serve as the Professional Development Manager (PDM), leading all aspects CHSA's conferences and learning programs. Benefits include employer paid medical/dental/vision for employees, a monthly stipend for transportation / parking, a Simple IRA matching contribution after one year, and a cell phone allowance. Position is located in Sacramento. Learn more and apply HERE. (6/4/17)

First 5 Association of California Communications DirectorWe are seeking an experienced Communications Director to lead the First 5 Association's media and outreach efforts. The Director will develop and implement communications strategies for the organization including media relations and online communications. The Director will also write and/or edit a wide range of communications including news releases, op-eds, letters to the editor, blogs, and fact sheets, policy briefs, and other communications that supports the breadth of First 5 efforts and policy areas. Learn more about this position and how to apply here. (6/8/17)

The Supported Life Institute seeks a Self Advocacy Project Coordinator that will work with, facilitate, empower and support dedicated self-advocates and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and advisors and facilitators involved with Self Advocacy Chapters throughout the Sacramento region in the Peer Advocacy Connection Project (PAC) and the Facilitation Services Project (FSP).   To learn about these important programs visit the SLI website at:    and click on the Peer Advocacy Connection link. If this position matches your goals and interests, please email:
. for a full job description.  No phone calls please

Senior Policy Director - The Arc of Minnesota
Provides overall leadership and management of organization-wide public policy advocacy efforts. Represents The Arc Minnesota in contacts with elected officials, government officials, the media, and members of the public and partner organizations. The goal of the position is to achieve our public policy goals by strengthening our relationships with elected and government officials on a state and federal level and increasing the skills and involvement of our membership in public policy and grassroots activities. 

$65,000 - $80,000 annually 

A job portal custom-designed for people on the autism spectrum. This portal is free for the autism community and developed in partnership between Autism Speaks and Rangam Consultants Inc.

mi Non-Profit Web Hosting provided by

The Arc of California, 1225 8th Street, Suite 350, Sacramento, CA 95814.  Office (916) 552-6619, Fax (916) 441-3494