Respite Changes Coming to IRC in 2018

Amelia MaldonadoBlog

Inland Regional Center (IRC) is working hard to spread the word about respite changes happening in 2018. From community outreach events, to social media alerts, and even a public service announcement video. This blog article will act as just one more way for IRC to get the word out!

Director of Community Services, Vince Toms, spoke to the importance of informing IRC families. He stated, “Inland Regional Center wants to share that the repeal of respite restrictions will begin on January 1, 2018.  We hope that the repeal will enable and benefit all individuals and families who have a need for the respite service.”

First Things First: What is Respite?

Respite is a service that allows parents and guardians who care for a child or adult with a developmental disability to receive assistance in providing care. For the purposes of this article, we are referring specifically to respite services authorized by, and paid for, by Inland Regional Center.

In most cases, a respite provider comes to the family home to provide care and supervision for the person with the developmental disability. This is called in-home respite. Out-of-home respite is also an option. In this case, the person with the developmental disability spends time at a licensed residential facility. Respite care can happen on a regular basis, or “as needed.” However, respite, like all services funded by IRC, must be documented in the Consumer’s Individual Program Plan or “IPP.”

Respite Caps and Why They Exist

Starting in 2009, California law limited the hours of respite that regional centers could pay for. These limits were put in place as part of a large-scale budgetary reduction effort. The goal was to help reduce budget deficits, many caused by economic factors like “The Great Recession.”

This law, Welfare and Institutions Code Section 4686.5, created some limits. Each quarter, the regional center could approve no more than:

  • 90 hours of in-home respite
  • 21-days of out-of-home respite

Additional hours could only be granted if the Consumer/family was granted an exemption. These “exemptions” were based on a demonstrated need for additional respite.

How the Law is Changing and What that Means for Families

Beginning January 1, 2018, regional centers, like IRC, will no longer be limited to these amounts. These caps are being lifted! Earlier this year, the legislature amended the law and eliminate restrictions.

Without these restrictions, Consumers, families, and Service Coordinators can work together to determine respite needs based on an individual Consumer’s needs.

How to Apply for Additonal Hours

Consumers and families who are interested in additional respite should contact their IRC Service Coordinator. Service Coordinators, working with Consumers and families, help to identify a Consumer’s individual needs. They then arrange services and supports for the Consumer, and document them in an Individual Program Plan. Service Coordinators act as the Consumer’s point of contact when seeking services or increasing in service hours.

Additional Resources

Download and share an informational flyer about these changes, created by IRC’s Community Engagement Team.

View a letter from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) instructing regional centers to repeal respite restrictions.

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Amelia Maldonado

Amelia is IRC's Community Relations Specialist and an expert on all things IRC. You will frequently find her typing away on her laptop, creating social media/web content, agency publications, and more. Outside of work her passions include smooshy face dogs, fitness, and roller derby!

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