The Importance of Participation in the Client Advisory Committee (CAC) for IRC Clients Over 16

Dr. CJ Cook, DBABlog

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Inland Regional Center (IRC) is dedicated to serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), helping them lead fulfilling lives. One key component of this mission is the Client Advisory Committee (CAC), a platform where clients aged 16 and older can voice their opinions, share experiences, contribute to the decision-making processes that affect their lives, and participate in fun social events.

Here’s why participating in the CAC is so important:

  1. Empowerment Through Voice

Participation in the CAC gives clients a platform to express their views and concerns. This sense of ownership and involvement in the decision-making process empowers clients, helping them develop self-advocacy skills. When clients speak up, they learn to articulate their needs and preferences, which is a vital skill both within and outside of the IRC community.

  1. Influence on Services and Programs

The feedback and suggestions from CAC members directly impact the services and programs offered by IRC. By participating, clients can ensure that the services provided are tailored to their actual needs and preferences. This direct influence helps create a more responsive and effective support system, improving the overall quality of services.

  1. Building Community and Connections

The CAC provides an excellent opportunity for clients to meet others who share similar experiences and challenges. Building these connections fosters a sense of community and belonging. It allows clients to share their stories, learn from each other, and offer mutual support, which can be incredibly empowering and encouraging.

  1. Developing Leadership Skills

Being part of the CAC helps clients develop essential leadership skills. They learn to organize meetings, engage in constructive discussions, and make decisions collaboratively. These skills are not only valuable within the CAC but are also transferable to other areas of life, including education, employment, and personal relationships.

  1. Ensuring Representation

Clients over the age of 16 bring a unique perspective to the table. Their insights and experiences are crucial for ensuring that the CAC reflects the diverse needs and interests of the IRC community. By participating, they ensure that their age group is adequately represented, which is vital for the committee’s success and relevance.

  1. Personal Growth and Confidence

Active participation in the CAC can significantly boost a client’s confidence and self-esteem. Knowing that their input is valued and that they can make a difference encourages personal growth. Clients often find that their involvement in the CAC helps them become more assertive and confident in other areas of their lives.

  1. Building Social Networks Through Fun Events

The CAC also plans various fun events, providing an excellent opportunity for clients to build social networks. These events create a relaxed and enjoyable environment where clients can connect, form friendships, and strengthen their support systems. Building these social networks is crucial for enhancing the overall quality of life and creating lasting bonds within the IRC community.

The next IRC CAC event, “IRC CAC Presents Bingo-Rama!” will be held on August 3, 2024, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM at the Gonzales Community Center, located at 670 Colton Avenue, Colton, CA 92324. This annual fundraiser supports smaller events throughout the year. The cost is $5 per person, including caregivers, parents, and guests over 16.


Participation in the Client Advisory Committee (CAC) is a vital opportunity for IRC clients over the age of 16. It empowers them to influence services, build community, develop leadership skills, ensure representation, experience personal growth, and build social networks through fun events. By engaging with the CAC, clients not only advocate for themselves but also contribute to the betterment of the entire IRC community. It’s a chance to be heard, make a difference, and grow as individuals. So, if you’re an IRC client aged 16 or older, consider joining the CAC and be a part of this important and impactful journey.

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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.

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