By Jordan Lindsey, Executive Director, The Arc/UCP California Collaboration
Last week on Monday, June 13th, the California State Senate and Assembly both passed their version of the 2022-23 State Budget, which included several critical investments for Californians with disabilities, their families, and their direct support workforce. The budget, which passed on a party-line vote, was sent to Governor Newsom on the constitutional deadline of June 15, who now has 12 days from that date to sign or veto the budget or use his “blue pencil” authority to reduce or eliminate any appropriations in the budget.
Unfortunately, Governor Newsom has expressed his disapproval of the budget which puts at risk the important investments for people with disabilities made by the Legislature. Negotiations are continuing between the Legislature and Governor, which could result in a revised budget bill sent to the Governor for his signature. The Arc & UCP California Collaboration along with its partners in The Lanterman Coalition are continuing to advocate for the adoption of the Legislature’s budget that includes all of the important investments summarized below:
Regional Center Services
Direct Support Workforce Crisis—The Legislature’s Budget aims to solve an acute crisis in regional center services due to the inability for state funded service providers to hire and retain direct support professionals (DSPs).
- Accelerate by one year the implementation of the Department of Developmental Services’ Rate Study, bringing increased provider rates on July 1, 2023 instead of July 1, 2024. Additionally, require updates to the rate study and require ongoing future updates to the rate models.
- Provide funding to hire more service coordinators at regional centers by fixing the underlying regional center funding formula, known as the “Core Staffing Formula.”
- Provide hiring stipends to recruit new DSPs and retention stipends to reward existing DSPs.
- Provide tuition stipends to regional center service coordinators.
Covid Relief Funding— Bridge to Recovery for Adult Day Services: COVID-19 Mitigation and Resilience Grants. These grants will provide critically needed infrastructure that addresses critical health and safety needs, transportation, facility improvements, and staffing shortages.
Family Fees – Elimination of all fees on families that utilize regional center services, including the Annual Family Program Fee and the Family Cost Participation Program.
Access, Equity, and Inclusion – Grants to regional centers and community-based organizations to reduce disparities and increase equity within the developmental services system.
SSP Grant Increase—Expedites the reversal of SSP grant cuts and provides an extra cash payment to SSI/SSP recipients.
Access to Dental Services – Specialty Dental Clinic Grant Program, to support the construction, expansion, modification, or adaptation of specialty dental clinics to increase access to oral health care for individuals with special health care needs.
We will provide another update as we learn more about the revisions in the Governor’s final budget.