This content has been reprinted with permission from the Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA)
Multi-Generational Service Coordination Benefits
Christina Marquez represents a multi-generational family who is served by Harbor Regional Center (serving the south end of Los Angeles County). She is now a parent mentor working alongside the service coordinators who manage heavy caseloads, but her connection with the center began over three decades ago. A nurse who took care of her son Matthew in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) suggested that his medical challenges would likely result in developmental disabilities and that she should contact her local regional center.
That was 33 years ago, and when Christina was a new mother and before Matthew went to school, her regional center helped her navigate through the therapies and services he needed. Most recently, her three-year-old grandson has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and she connected his father, another one of her four sons, to the regional center.
“My family received such incredible support when Matthew was growing up and that’s why I became a parent mentor to help other parents. My regional center helped me navigate the services Matthew needed, supported both of us with services and assessments and much more. Now that my grandson needs regional center support, I’m worried that because there aren’t enough service coordinators, he won’t receive the same level of assistance and attention Matthew did,” she said.
Stories like Christina’s are why ARCA, in partnership with SEIU, is pushing Governor Newsom and the Legislature to provide an additional $60 million, starting July 1st, to hire more service coordinators. Statewide, regional centers are currently facing a shortfall of 921 service coordinators.
Service coordinators don’t just connect families to developmental services. They also help them access a wide range of support outside our system, including food benefits (Cal-Fresh), unemployment, and more. To do this effectively, service coordinators need time to learn about each person and family’s unique needs. But time is scarce, with average caseloads 20% over state-set levels.
Click here to visit the Association of Regional Center Agency’s (ARCA) YouTube Video Channel for informational videos.
Ready to Advocate for Service Coordination?
ARCA, the regional centers, other advocacy groups, legislative champions, and community members like you are joining a push to help regional centers hire enough service coordinators to meet every family’s needs. And now’s your chance to help! We need advocates like you to call your local legislators and say:
“I am a constituent of the legislator,
and would like them to please support
Assemblymember Frazier’s service coordination request.”
Why say it like that? Because Assemblymember Frazier is the leading champion for our funding request! Also, this is the easiest way for you to communicate a fairly complicated Budget request. It’s just enough information to get the point across.
How do you do this? It’s easy! Go to http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov and enter the address where you live. Click on your Senator, and go to the “Contact Me” or “about” section of their website to find their phone number. Sometimes, you’ll find the office numbers at the bottom of the webpage. Call the “District Office” closest to you! Repeat it for your Assemblymember.
New Videos on Regional Centers, Developmental Disabilities, and Service Coordination!
Ever tried to explain what your regional center does, and had someone go “huh?” Do you want to share all about the role regional centers play in our service system? We have a new opportunity for you!
This new, 3-minute video (disponible en español), is a perfect tool you can use to help your friends, legislators, and community members understand our system. And it’ll also help explain why service coordination is so important.
Take a few minutes today to watch and share these videos – and let everyone who wants to help know we can use their assistance!
ARCA press release on service coordination Budget request
For media enquiries, please contact Daniel Savino at ARCA at [email protected]
Share this Post