The Power of Participation: The Importance of Attending Public Input Meetings

Dr. CJ Cook, DBABlog

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Within the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled (I/DD) Community, active engagement is both a fundamental right and a civic responsibility. Attending public input meetings stands out as one of the most influential ways to shape the trajectory of the I/DD Community and actively participate in decision-making processes. Annually, Inland Regional Center (IRC) organizes a multitude of public input meetings, focus groups, and listening sessions, covering crucial topics such as the Purchase of Services (POS) disparity, National Core Indicator (NCI) Survey outcomes, Caseload Ratios, and language accessibility focus groups. These gatherings serve as indispensable forums where community members can freely express their viewpoints, voice concerns, and share ideas on issues that profoundly affect their lives and the larger I/DD Community. This blog post delves into the significance of attending public input meetings and how your participation can bring about meaningful change within your community.

Fostering Inclusivity

Public input meetings, focus groups, listening sessions, and surveys serve as catalysts for change within the Regional Center System of Care. These forums offer an inclusive platform where individuals from various backgrounds and viewpoints can freely express their thoughts. Your active involvement in these initiatives plays a pivotal role in fostering a more inclusive and representative decision-making process. Your presence guarantees that a broader spectrum of voices and ideas are considered, ultimately resulting in decisions that are better-informed and more equitable.

Holding Decision-Makers Accountable

Public input meetings function as a crucial tool for ensuring decision-makers are held accountable for their actions. When Regional Center management and the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) witness a significant degree of public engagement, it heightens the probability of them prioritizing the community’s interests. Your active involvement in these meetings sends a strong message that you are fully dedicated to these decisions and expect transparency, accountability, and responsiveness from those in positions of leadership.

Influencing Policy and Projects

During public input meetings, data is shared, and potential solutions and strategies are proposed to the I/DD Community. Your active involvement in these meetings can directly impact the course of your community. Whether it pertains to decisions regarding programs, funding allocations, or new initiatives, your insights and concerns hold the potential to influence the outcome. Through your proactive participation, you assume the role of an agent of change, contributing to the molding and shaping of your community’s future.

Raising Awareness

Participating in public input meetings can play a pivotal role in increasing awareness about pressing issues within the I/DD Community. It’s often said that we’re unaware of what we don’t know. By actively voicing your concerns and disseminating information, you could enlighten others about matters that might otherwise slip under the radar. This heightened awareness has the potential to cultivate a more knowledgeable and engaged I/DD Community, ultimately serving as a catalyst for fostering positive change.

Building Community and Networks

Participation in public input meetings provides an avenue for you to establish connections with individuals who share similar concerns and interests. These relationships may pave the way for the creation of community groups, advocacy initiatives, and collaborative efforts that magnify the collective influence and impact of your shared goals. The development of robust networks within the I/DD Community holds the potential to become a potent driving force for effecting meaningful change.

Connection to IRC

We kindly invite you to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter or connect with us on social media to stay updated. You can access these resources by visiting

Invitation to IRCs POS Focus Groups and In Person Listening Sessions

For detailed information about the upcoming Purchase of Services (POS) Focus groups, including sessions in English on January 17, 2024, at 530 pm via Zoom, Spanish on January 24, 2024, at 530 pm via Zoom, and American Sign Language (ASL) on January 31, 2024, at 530 pm via Zoom, please visit IRC POS Focus Group Sessions | Inland Regional Center ( If you require interpretation accommodations (Vietnamese/Tagalog/Arabic/Chinese), don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] at least 14 days before the event.

We have arranged these focus groups in preparation for the Purchase of Service Listening Session, which will take place on February 15, 2024. The session will be conducted in Spanish at 11 am and in English at 5:00 pm at the Inland Regional Center Conference Building, in the boardroom. Please note that this event will be held in person only. IRC Purchase of Service 2022/2023 Listening Session – English | Inland Regional Center (

Annually, IRC and the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) collect data on the funding of client services. We invite you to participate in one of three focus groups dedicated to discussing the 2022-2023 data and sharing your insights. These meetings will be conducted primarily in the indicated languages. If you require interpretation accommodations (ASL/Vietnamese/Tagalog/Arabic/Chinese), don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at [email protected] at least 14 days before the event.


Participating in public input meetings, focus groups, listening sessions, and surveys transcends the realm of mere civic duty; it represents a genuine opportunity to actively shape the decision-making processes within the I/DD Community. Your input, ideas, and concerns are invaluable contributions that can pave the way for a more inclusive, accountable, and responsive system. Therefore, when you come across announcements regarding public input meetings, focus groups, listening sessions, or surveys on platforms such as, IRC’s social media channels, or in our quarterly newsletters, I strongly encourage you to consider attending and ensuring your voice resonates. Your involvement possesses the potential to catalyze the creation of a brighter future for the I/DD Community.

Posted by:

Dr. CJ Cook, DBA

As Program Administrator, CJ is responsible for the proactive oversight of various units within IRC, including Community Management, Service Access and Equity, and Training and Development. CJ's oversight extends to Language Access and Cultural Competency (LACC), Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), equity in the Purchase of Service (POS), and the National Core Indicator (NCI) project. Furthermore, CJ is tasked with managing the IRC's Performance Contract with DDS and overseeing Emergency Services.

Share this Post