The Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA) is an organization that supports the 21 Regional Centers in the state of California. As part of its mission to advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities, ARCA organizes an annual Grassroots Day in Sacramento. During Grassroots Day, representatives from each Regional Center visit legislators in their offices at the Capitol.
On April 5, Inland Regional Center’s Grassroots Day team met with 11 state senators and assembly members who represent districts in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, the same areas served by IRC. IRC’s Grassroots Day team was comprised of IRC Consumers, staff, and service providers. A team of this nature gives diverse perspectives and insight into the needs for legislation, funding, and services for people with developmental disabilities. The team also discussed the strong fiscal impact Inland Regional Center makes in the local economy through employment and service dollars. The team was armed with passion, personal stories, and a detailed fact sheet about IRC to help legislators understand the impact IRC is making. The goal of the visit was to emphasize how additional funding and support are paramount to the continued success of people with developmental disabilities in the Inland Empire. Legislators were also gifted a dinosaur sculpture made by Tyrone Bosley, an IRC Consumer and artist. Tyrone attends School of Hope, an IRC funded day program, where he has cultivated his artistic talents in sculpture, drawing, painting and more.
“Legislative advocacy is instrumental to positive change. The Lanterman Act became law due to the efforts of legislative advocacy at the grassroots level,” said Jennifer Cummings, Program Manager of Legal Affairs. “Our annual Grassroots Day at the Capitol provides the opportunity for individuals with developmental disabilities, family, service providers and regional center staff throughout the state to come together as one voice to meet face-to-face with our elected officials and/or their staff to share what is important to our community. After just recently celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Lanterman Act, our focus now is the need for legislative reform to ensure sustainability and modernization of the regional center system.”
To learn more about ARCA and the work they are doing to support Regional Centers and Consumers, visit arcanet.org.
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