February 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Inland Regional Center (IRC) and the beginning of the regional center system in California. It is important to reflect on how far we have come since the agency first opened its doors to the developmental disability community back in 1972.
Over the years, there have been significant policy changes that have impacted the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. The country has also experienced collective growth, resulting in an increase of acceptance for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This has led to an increase in advocacy for alternatives to state hospitals, support for integrated school settings, empowerment for integration in the community, and resources for employment opportunities. These changes were the result of decades of advocacy, commitment, education, and hard work on behalf of parents, professionals, and government leaders.
Reflecting on the 50-year history reminds us all why we take pride in being part of the IRC mission. Countless of individuals formed an incredible legacy, with their passion, dedication, and perseverance, and it is something that is carried forth today to make Inland Regional Center the epitome of independence, empowerment, and inclusion for the over 42,000 clients we serve in the Inland Empire.
“On November 1, 1988, I began my employment at IRC,” recalls Lavinia Johnson, IRC Executive Director, “today, 34 years later, I continue to feel honored to be serving over 42,000 people with developmental disabilities who live in the communities of Riverside and San Bernardino. Many IRC staff, like myself, are loyal, dedicated, and determined to improve and normalize the lives of our clients. Our work continues to break down the barriers for people whose opportunities are limited in areas of housing, employment, access to medical care, and social inclusion. Although we have many challenges that we will continue to face as we look to the future, we will continue to serve and meet the needs of our clients. We will do this with confidence, gratitude, and the vision of equality for those we serve.”
The following illustration includes five decades of Inland Regional Center history, its accomplishments, challenges, experiences, and the individuals who have turned hope into reality.
Share this Post