Visit Our Redesigned Website

We are thrilled to announce that we have completely redesigned our website!

Visit Our Redesigned WebsiteWe are thrilled to announce that we have completely redesigned our website,! Visitors can now:

  • Keep up with our advocacy efforts in the Capitol and beyond
  • Access resources for people with I/DD and their families and friends
  • Find their local chapter of The Arc
  • and find our Monday Morning Memo articles individually and by topic – complete with links for sharing – on the blog

We hope that the updated site will be a valuable tool for members of the I/DD community seeking information for themselves as well as those who wish to engage in advocacy.

A Big Budget Win on Anti-Disability Hate Crimes

The 2019-20 Governor’s Budget includes one big win for the disability community and the civil rights groups in general: $797,000 …

The 2019-20 Governor’s Budget includes one big win for the disability community and the civil rights groups in general: $797,000 and five new positions in the Department of Justice to combat hate crimes.

Anti-disability crimes have been called “the invisible hate crimes.” Victims rarely report them to police, in part because police rarely recognize them as hate crimes or often as serious crimes at all — despite the fact that they often involve extraordinary sadism. The Arc’s leadership role in the civil rights movement’s advocacy on hate crimes is ensuring that our community’s needs are included in the state’s efforts to combat this growing national plague.

The money in the budget shows that Attorney General Xavier Becerra asked for, and will get, the means to seriously step of to the plate on hate crimes. His new five-person DOJ hate crimes unit will take these general steps:

  • Create and disseminate outreach materials so law enforcement agencies can better engage with their communities.
  • Create and make available training materials for law enforcement agencies on how best to identify and respond to hate crimes.
  • Implement a school-based program, in conjunction with representation from law enforcement agencies, aimed at educating the community to identify and confront issues, bias, prejudice and harassment; a huge problem for kids with disabilities.
  • Add region-specific data fields to the hate crime database, including items such as zip code in which the reported hate crimes took place and other fields determined by DOJ to support its outreach efforts to the law enforcement agencies.
  • Analyze reported hate crimes in various regions in California and send advisory notices to law enforcement agencies when it detects hate crimes happening across multiple jurisdictions.

I don’t anticipate any problem getting the Legislature to approve the governor’s DOJ budget item, though we and the other civil rights groups have offered Attorney General Becerra whatever support he may want.

Becerra’s action seeking the funding came in response to a highly critical report from a state performance audit of law enforcement agencies’ response to hate crimes. We led the other civil rights groups in winning approval of the audit in 2017 after three years of effort. The audit report also helped in winning unanimous approval in the Legislature and by Governor Brown last year of Assembly Bill 1985 by Assembly Member Philip Ting, which we and Equality California sponsored, aimed at improving law enforcement agencies’ hate crime training and procedures. We and the other civil rights groups also won $45,000 in the state budget for the Commission on Peace Office Standards and Training (POST) to upgrade its model hate crimes policy for law enforcing agencies to adopt, including detailed provisions for recognizing and responding to anti-disability hate crimes. We are advising POST now on the revisions to its model policy.

In addition to thanking Attorney General Becerra, we need to thank Assembly Member Kansen Chu, the Assembly Hate Crimes Committee chair, who made the audit request for us in 2017, and Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi, then chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee that approved the request. When the audit report came out in 2018, Mr. Chu and Mr. Muratsuchi also conducted a hearing to examine the results and to push DOJ and law enforcement agencies to make the changes the audit recommended. Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer, the Assembly Public Safety Committee chair, also was outspokenly supportive at that hearing.

Becerra has proven to be by far the most responsive California attorney general since Bill Lockyer on hate crimes, yet hate crimes against people with disabilities are slow to gain attention. Allying with other civil rights groups on hate crimes – especially those focusing on the rights of senior citizens – will continue to increase our political clout, allowing us to combat all crimes against all people with disabilities, including disabilities caused by aging. We will continue to advocate to Becerra and the Legislature on that front, including by sponsoring a new Senior and Disability Justice Act that should be introduced shortly. Stay tuned.

We shall overcome.

Greg DeGiere

Greg DeGiere

Civil Rights Coordinator

The Arc of California


Talk About Sexual Violence (TASV) Initiative is Expanding 

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) face far greater rates of sexual violence than their …

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) face far greater rates of sexual violence than their non-disabled counterparts. Many of these instances of abuse go unreported, and the physical and psychological trauma that result, untreated. The Arc of the United States National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability (NCCJD), through a grant from the WITH Foundation, is expanding their Talk About Sexual Violence (TASV) initiative to combat these injustices.

TASV is a platform for educating healthcare professionals on how to talk to their patients with I/DD about sexual violence. The WITH Foundation’s grant will expand the program’s current focus on women survivors to include resources about male survivors and the unique barriers they face in disclosing or reporting sexual violence. Much like their female counterparts, men with I/DD are at an increased risk of sexual violence. Research shows that 14% of men with disabilities will experience violent victimization compared to 4% of men without disabilities. Yet, across all groups men are less likely than women to report sexual assault. Men with I/DD, like women with I/DD face additional barriers to reporting, yet they are far less likely to be asked about sexual assault by their health care providers.

Health care professionals are uniquely positioned to educate, treat, and possibly prevent sexual violence within the I/DD community. TASV will work to educate and train health care professionals to speak directly with people with I/DD about this critical issue.

The initiative will have national reach though we are fortunate that its efforts are currently focused in California. TASV is currently looking to interview care providers, survivors, health care providers, and social workers to learn from them. Anyone interested in learning more about the project and giving their input can email Mark Starford, Director Board Resource Center at

Christian Small

Christian McMahon

Communications Specialist

The Arc of California

A FUTURE IN PERIL Why California is at A Crossroads in 2019 for Supports for People with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

More than 350,000 Californians with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities live in California as our neighbors, classmates, coworkers, family, and friends; …

More than 350,000 Californians with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities live in California as our neighbors, classmates, coworkers, family, and friends; however, their support structure has been grossly underfunded and is failing. A state required Rate Study, due in March, 2019, may propose solutions that should be implemented; regardless,
immediate investment is needed this year.
This year alone, more than 15,000 new individuals with I/DD are expected to require services under the state’s famed Lanterman Act. At the same time, direct support staff are quitting the field or working multiple jobs due to poverty level wages; essential programs are closing throughout the state; and individuals are forced to live with inadequate supports or not supports at all.

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Instead, the state should invest to create job training opportunities, community integration programs, parent support, and a livable wage for the approximately 150,000 direct support professionals whose job is supporting Californians with I/DD.

Let us be clear—our system is in crisis and is falling apart rapidly, and there is a direct impact on people with I/DD, their families, and the workforce, which is predominantly non-white women.
“Our son, David, has autism and significant difficulties with language and needs 24-hour staff support. In the last 27 months David has had 10 different support staff. For obvious reasons, this is not an ideal situation, and recruiting for David can be challenging due to the difficulties of communicating with him. Given the low wage rate with little opportunity for advancement, finding a higher paying job is always a prime motivation for staff to move on. There is always uncertainty about when the situation will resolve, and uncertainty is difficult for David and the rest of our family. The reassurance that would come with improvements for our direct support staff and knowing that the system is stable is priceless.

– Betsy Katz, Mom and President of The Arc of California

Additionally, the federal government has set a deadline of 2022 for implementation of new guidelines that will call for more community integration of this population, further creation of job opportunities, and require more complex support from the people and programs that support people with I/DD. Not one element of this future will be cheaper than what we pay today.

This adds up to a crossroads this year: invest now or leave hundreds of thousands of Californians behind and risk losing hundreds of millions of federal dollars!

THEREFORE: We urge Governor Newsom and the Legislature to include an eight percent, across-the-board rate increase to our system as a down-payment toward the implementation of the rate study, to somewhat stabilize the system, and, if nothing else, to simply account for the rising cost of providing services over the last two years alone.

“I receive a pay check twice a month. I work 120 hours plus each pay period and I bring home only $1500 at the most, usually less than that after taxes. I can’t even afford my own place. I even started driving for lyft to make ends meet. I love my job I enjoy going to work every day but it’s not enough to survive.”
– Direct Support Professional, Solano County

Jordan Lindsey

Jordan Lindsey

Executive Director

The Arc of California


USARC Brings Ski Season to Californians with Disabilities

Participating in outdoor activities can be exhilarating, offering us a chance to feel the calm assurance of our own capabilities …

Participating in outdoor activities can be exhilarating, offering us a chance to feel the calm assurance of our own capabilities while immersed in the beauty of nature. For people with disabilities these opportunities can be difficult to find. Fortunately, the United States Adaptive Recreation Center (USARC), in Bear Mountain Ski Resort in Southern California, offers adaptive skiing in the winter, and adaptive watersports and camping in the summer geared towards people with I/DD as well as physical disabilities.

Outdoor sports can be intimidating for anyone who hasn’t tried them before, and people with disabilities are right to be especially cautious. This is why the USARC is an ideal place to start. Their ski program offers one-on-one instruction and access to a variety of highly specialized adaptive equipment. Each student is individually assessed, outfitted with the right gear to meet their needs, and taught at a safe yet challenging pace by a professional instructor at the on-site adaptive ski school.

The USARC works with schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and parks and recreations departments to teach groups of adaptive skiers as well as taking individual reservations. Ski season runs from December through March so there is still time to hit the slopes!

Christian McMahon

Christian McMahon

Communications Specialist

The Arc of California


Improving Health & Behavioral Outcomes for Disabled People

The Office of Developmental Primary Care, UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine, has published their 2018 Annual Report which …

The Office of Developmental Primary Care, UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine, has published their 2018 Annual Report which highlights their accomplishments and dedication to ensuring all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to the health care services they need to maximize their wellness and function. Dr. Clarissa Kripke leads the ODPC team in partnering with self-advocates and stakeholders to develop the health care services and health workforce that are so important in meeting the unique needs of individuals with I/DD.

The CART Model (Clinical Services, Advocacy, Research and Training) is an exceptional model that encompasses all aspects of health care delivery and puts research into practice. Thanks to the hard work and leadership of Dr. Kripke and her team the CART Model is recognized as one of the most successful models of care delivery for people with complex needs. Though the practice location is in San Francisco (and serves the Bay area), the OPDC has become an incredible resource throughout the state as they share their expertise through a wide range or initiatives, trainings and materials.

Congratulations to Dr. Kripke and her team at the Office of Developmental Primary Care on another successful year of improving the behavioral and health outcomes of people with I/DD in California. I encourage everyone to read the annual report and see for yourself just what a valuable resource they are!


Teresa Anderson

Policy Director

The Arc & UCP Collaboration


A Primer for the Upcoming CalFresh SSI/SSP Cash-Out Reversal

The upcoming implementation of the reversal of the CalFresh SSI/SSP cash-out policy is especially important to the I/DD community. The …

The upcoming implementation of the reversal of the CalFresh SSI/SSP cash-out policy is especially important to the I/DD community. The majority of Californians with I/DD rely on SSI/SSP for their monthly income. Yet before this reversal they were ineligible to participate in the CalFresh nutrition benefit program. A program which has helped millions of low income Californians put food on their tables.

The following information from a Californians for SSI Coalition flyer is a primer on what we need to know:

SSI/SSP Recipients Will Be Eligible for CalFresh in Summer 2019  

  • In the summer of 2019, the ‘cash-out’ policy that bans SSI recipients from receiving CalFresh (food stamps) will end.
  • SSI and SSP benefits will NOT be reduced or eliminated as a result of ending cash-out.
  • This change means that an SSI recipient may receive CalFresh AND SSI/SSP benefits.

Summary of Changes When Cash-Out Ends in Summer 2019 

Newly Eligible for CalFresh

Most SSI recipients, individuals and SSI couples, will be newly eligible for CalFresh in summer 2019.


They will need to apply over the phone, in person, or online. If approved, they will get an EBT card and the CalFresh benefit will be loaded onto it each month.

The average CalFresh benefit for a household of 1 is $130 a month. Benefits will vary based on household circumstances.

Still Eligible for CalFresh and/or State Funded Nutrition Benefits

Some SSI recipients will be living in a household where other members are already receiving CalFresh. At their
next reporting deadline, these households will be asked to provide information about any SSI recipients – and then their CalFresh amount should be automatically recalculated.


For some households, adding the SSI recipient and their income may increase the CalFresh benefit .

For other households, adding the SSI recipient and their income will lead to apartial or total loss of their CalFresh benefit . These households will be eligible to receive a state-funded nutrition benefit, either the Supplemental Nutrition Benefit (partial loss) or the Transitional Nutrition Benefit

(total loss), which will help offset the loss of CalFresh.

CalFresh Information for SSI Social Service Providers 

Starting in Summer 2019, people will be able to receive CalFresh benefits and SSI benefits at the same time. This presents a tremendous opportunity to increase food security for very low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Successfully implementing this policy change next summer will require a collaborative effort to educate and enroll SSI recipients in CalFresh.

Right now, CalFresh provides nearly four million Californians—half of them children—an average of $130 a month on a debit (EBT) card to purchase food at grocery stores and farmers’ markets. The change in summer 2019 will provide CalFresh benefits for the first time to a significant number of seniors and people with disabilities who receive SSI.

Over 1.2 million low income Californians receive very modest SSI grants to help meet basic needs. More than half are seniors, about 1 in 10 are children with disabilities, and the rest are adults with disabilities. Everyone who receives SSI is also enrolled in Medi-Cal. One third also receive In-Home Supportive Services to help them remain safely in their home.

When exactly will this change go into effect? 
The change will go into effect starting June 1, 2019, with applications being accepted starting May 1.

Will SSI benefits be reduced as a result of ending cash-out? 
No, SSI benefits will NOT be reduced as a result of ending cash-out. The change simply means that someone can receive both CalFresh benefits and SSI benefits at the same time.

Will CalFresh benefits be counted as income when determining the SSI/ SSP benefit?
No, CalFresh benefits will not count as income or resources for SSI purposes.

Should people who previously declined SSI in order to receive CalFresh apply for SSI? 
Yes! These individuals should apply for SSI after the change goes into effect on June 1, 2019.

As a provider, what should I be doing now?  
Please do not encourage SSI recipients to apply for CalFresh before May 1, as they will not be eligible. Think through how the SSI recipients you work with will experience this change and what processes need to be in place to educate and enroll SSI recipients in summer 2019. Talk with other community based organizations and your County about how enrollment into CalFresh of large numbers of SSI recipients will be handled.

More questions? 
The California Department of Social Services—the state agency that administers the CalFresh program—has set up a webpage on implementation of this change. You can also get more information from the Californians for SSI coalition.

Jordan small
Jordan Lindsey
Executive Director

The Arc of California