California Legislature Debates Budget Items Impacting People with Disabilities

The remainder of March the California Legislature will continue to hold hearings to discuss the Governor's proposed 2018-19 state budget, along with proposals from advocacy groups like The Arc California.  Many proposals could have a direct impact on people with disabilities and their families.  

Similar to any other legislative bill, the budget is discussed in committee hearings and then voted on by committee members.  Most, if not all, budget items, however, are not voted on until after the "May Revision", which is the Governor's updated budget released after the state has a more precise accounting of tax revenue collected for the previous year.  The budget bill must be passed by June 15th.  

Unlike years in the past, this year the state has a large surplus with billions of dollars available to improve and enhance services and programs.  Major proposals that could impact the disability community include:

$1.3 Billion Increase state's portion of SSI/SSP grant by $100 per individual

$110 Million Increase to reinstate the SSI/SSP Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA)

$100 Million Increase dedicated to recruit and retain special education teachers.

$125 Million Increase inclusive early education opportunities for kids 0-5 years.

$23 Million Decrease to mandate 14 "Holidays" to regional center clients and providers for certain services.

$25 Million Increase in emergency bridge funding for regional center providers to cover the cost of local minimum wage increases and other unfunded cost mandates.

$14 Million Increase to restore social recreation and camping as regional center funded services.

$100 Million Transfer from the closure of the developmental centers to increase supports and services in the community for regional center clients.

$3.2 Million Increase to raise eligibility age for DDS services to 22 years old.

For a complete look at the agendas for the budget committees view:
Assembly Budget Agendas Senate Budget Agendas

Jordan Lindsey,
Executive Director,
The Arc CA

March 2018 Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

by Teresa Anderson, MPH

Each week in March provides for a coordinated opportunity to increase awareness about what real inclusion looks like for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. March 19 - 23, 2018 has been dedicated to See Me As Your Neighbor and what it means to be truly living in neighborhood of your choosing and valued as a community member by your neighbors. Think for a minute what it means to be a neighbor and what your experience is being a neighbor and having neighbors. Do you say hi when you see them outside? Maybe take in their mail or feed their cat when they are away? Perhaps you look out for them and they look out for you in a variety of ways, one could say that is a natural thing to do. When we think of natural supports a neighborhood is a big part of it - the local market, the doughnut shop or the public transit route to work are all part of how relationships develop and strengthen individual connections to the neighborhood.
Recognizing the value of being a good neighbor and having good neighbors leads the conversation right to the center of HOUSING! Access to safe, affordable and accessible housing is a must in order to really be included in a community or neighborhood. You can't really be a good neighbor or have good neighbors if your community or neighborhood options are high risk for crime or so isolated that it limits your ability to interact in the community. See Me As Your Neighbor also means see the need for me to have safe, affordable and accessible housing. We at The Arc/UCP California Collaboration support and advocate for inclusive housing options in a wide variety of neighborhoods that truly meets the needs of people with IDD. To learn more about this week's awareness events visit:

Teresa Anderson,
Policy Director


Webinar by for Special Education Advocates

Please join The Arc@School for a webinar presented by specifically for chapter staff who provide special education advocacy to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families!
Date: Thursday, April 5, 2018 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET
Description: is a free resource and community supporting parents of the 1 in 5 kids with learning and attention issues.  Understood empowers millions of parents through personalized resources, daily access to experts, interactive tools, and a supportive online and on-the-ground community.  In this one-hour webinar, Understood will describe how to find resources on their website and direct advocates to resources particularly useful for advocates working with students with I/DD.
Please complete this survey  prior to the webinar to educate the presenters about the issues most important to you and the families you work with.
Contact Shawn Ullman, Director of The Arc@School, at or (202) 617-3276 with any questions.

Get Mad At Racial Disparities
Tim Hornbecker,
 Director of Advocacy

How do we expect equity of services without building relationships. How do you build communication and trust with individuals with I/DD of color and their families? 

I heard good responses at our Public Policy Conference from the panel on A Path Forward on Racial Disparities. Both Rapone Anderson of DDS and Carlos Hernandez of Valley Mountain Regional Center hit the nail on the head when emphasizing that you need to build trust. But how do you build trust when you only meet with families once a year for an IPP? Oh, and how can it happen when regional centers are unable to fill service coordinator vacancies (some regional centers have as many as 17 unfilled positions)? 

Not only are service providers unable to find direct support professionals because of the abysmal reimbursement rates versus mandated and unfunded minimum wage increases in larger cities, but regional centers face the same challenge. 

We'll never make headway against racial disparity in services. Both regional centers and service providers should be really annoyed with the Governor, Legislators, and their inadequate funding. But the other panelists also hit the nail on the head. 

Grace Huerta, parent of two adults with I/DD and President of Exceptional Family Center, said the numbers are unacceptable. Latino clients receiving only half of what Anglo clients receive in some situations. Genesis Executive Director emphasized thats it time for individuals with disabilities and their families to organize and exert their three "P"s: Power, Patience while rightfully being Pissed Off.

Tim Hornbecker,

A self-advocacy column by Eric Gmeinder
Eric Gmeinder,
Guest Writer

What Could Be Better Than Therapy?

I came around to writing my column exceptionally late this weekend; I had no idea what to write about.

Then on Sunday afternoon, I Googled phrases like "therapy doesn't work." Recently a couple people recommended seeing a therapist to me. Having not seen one for almost a year, I doubted that seeing one again would work for me. People used to tell me I was "stubborn" for not following my therapists' advice, but I never really thought so. I feel like they (like most of society) were writing off my depression as purely a mental illness, and not something I had reason to feel.
The first sources I found expressed their belief that positive thinking doesn't work. My thoughts after trying positive thinking had been, "I'm thinking more positively, so dammit, why am I not happy yet?" The sources I found said that people with low self-esteem (which I don't have) who try to be more positive feel like they're lying to themselves by giving themselves lovey-dovey affirmations. That made sense; I know there's a way out of the garbage I currently put up with in my life, but it doesn't make enduring it any more fun. What was even more surprising was that "positive thinking" apparently backfires on some people! I don't think it backfires on me, but I know it doesn't help. And one article pointed out the irony that Norman Vincent Peale, author of the grandfather of self-help books, The Power of Positive Thinking, said disparaging things about some public figures.

Other sources validated a belief I've had for years. If we're supposed to retrain ourselves to always be positive without taking action to change our surroundings as they are, then what would be the use of doing anything in life that you would find pleasurable? Should we just be amoebae for all our lives? And if so, what would the purpose of life even be? No works of fiction with happy endings - be they movies, novels, plays, video games etc. - end happily because the hero decides to make the most of how things are when he or she starts out. The sources I found argued that happiness should not be determined by learning to blindly accept bad situations but by solving what makes them bad. And even if I can't change some things, I should at least be able to avoid them.

Finding these sources made my day. As I continue on with my hard life, I will also continue my struggle to be part of the community and have a normal life that others take for granted. And then the skeptics will see I really am better off.

Two Big Wins in Fight to Protect People with Disabilities from Hate Crimes and Abuse

Greg deGiere_ Civil Rights Coordinator

People with disabilities are victimized by crime -- often violent -- at much higher rates than the general population.
Many of these crimes fit the legal definition of hate crimes, earning the perpetrator years extended in prison. But police rarely recognize these hate crimes. California's official hate crime statistics show just two anti-disability crimes in the last year for which we have statistics, 2016.
Likewise, most of these crimes fit the legal definition of "dependent adults" abuse. But police -- and mandated reporters -- too often fail to recognize that people with disabilities are protected by these abuse laws, regardless of the fact that they live independently.
The Arc-UCP is sponsoring two bills this year to attack these problems. Both bills passed the Assembly 66-0 last week. They go next to the Senate Public Safety Committee, which is where any opposition would surface.
The bills are:
  1. AB 1985 by Assemblymember Philip Ting, sponsored by The Arc-UCP and Equality California. (
This bill will upgrade the formal policies that law enforcement agencies adopt to guide their offices on enforcing the hate crimes laws. Among many other points, the upgraded policies will include specific indicators of anti-disability hate crimes that officers should watch for, and they also will include steps to remedy under-reporting of anti-disability hate crimes.
  1. AB 1934 by Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, sponsored by The Arc-UCP. (
This bill is intended to achieve two goals:
-       Educate police, mandated reporters, social workers, local long-term care ombudsmen, and people with disabilities and their families that people with disabilities are protected under the "dependent adult" abuse laws regardless of the fact that they live independently.
-       Build respect for people with disabilities and also elders by repealing the well-intended but demeaning language of the Penal Code that equates elders and "dependent adults" with children. It also will help de-stigmatize the demeaning legal term "dependent adult" by making it clear that these adukts can and often do live independently.
Greg deGiere
Civil Rights Advocate
The Arc California









One or more
Program Development Grants in each Regional Office area 
up to $20,000 per area

Proposals must relate to one or more SCDD State Plan Goals:
  • Goal 1: Self-Advocacy
  • Goal 2: Employment
  • Goal 3: Housing
  • Goal 4: Health and Safety
  • Goal 5: Early Intervention, Education, Transition & Post-Secondary Education
  • Goal 6: Formal & Informal Community Supports

The purpose of the ARRT program (funded through NIDILRR's Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program) is to provide advanced research training and experience to individuals with doctorates, or similar advanced degrees, who have clinical or other relevant experience. ARRT projects train rehabilitation researchers (including those with disabilities) with particular attention to research areas that support the implementation and objectives of the Rehabilitation Act and that improve the effectiveness of services under this law.

In recognition that some service providers need to take steps towards modifying their services to come into compliance with the HCBS rules by March 2022, the 2017 Budget Act contains $15 million to fund necessary changes.

 DRRP Community Living and Participation (Research)-- Under this grant, applicants must propose a research project aimed at improving community living and participation outcomes of individuals with disabilities.
DRRP Community Living and Participation (Development) -- Under this grant, applicants must use knowledge and understanding gained from research to create materials, devices, systems, or methods beneficial to individuals with disabilities, including design and development of prototypes and processes.

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 "career ladder" in their chosen profession.

The Arc San Diego, VP Human Resources/CHRO
 Essential Duties and Responsibilities 
1. Establishes and implements HR efforts that effectively communicates and supports the organization's vision and strategic vision. 
2. Leads the development and implementation of comprehensive HR strategies, policies, and practices in support of the organization in the areas of recruitment and retention....

The Public Health Director (Branch Director, Health & Human Services) is an at-will position appointed by, and reporting to, the Director of Health and Human Services. The incumbent oversees the Community Health branch's programs, staff, and budget.

California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
Executive Director, $85,000 to $95,000
Interested in leading the California Foundation of Independent Living Centers to accomplish its mission of increasing access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities by building the capacity of Independent Living Centers? Apply for this job to be a catalyst in the advancement of the Independent Living Movement in California!

Children's Services Division annually supports almost 700 children with intellectual and developmental delays and behavioral health needs and their families. 

The Executive Director is accountable for the legal, safe, and effective operation of all activities and programs of the agency.  Responsibilities include association-wide fiscal management, personnel management, business compliance, long-range planning, program management and evaluation. 

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.

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