Consumers and Families

Welcome IRC Consumers and Families! This page was designed to help you learn about how Regional Centers operate, how IRC provides services, and the roles Service Coordinators play in your service plan. You will also find definitions for frequently used terms, information about IRC documents/forms, and what to do if you disagree with a decision made by the Regional Center. If you have any questions about the information presented here, please contact IRC’s Community Engagement team.

A Consumer is an adult or child with developmental disabilities who receives Regional Center services.

Inland Regional Center, along with 20 other Regional Centers in the state of California, was established by the Lanterman Act, a law passed in 1969. The Lanterman Act ensures that people with developmental disabilities receive supports and services to live the most independent and productive lives possible. The Lanterman Act defines which diagnoses make someone eligible for Regional Center services, what types of supports/programs will be provided, how program plans are developed, and much more. Also, frequently used terms like Consumer, CSC, and IPP, come directly from the Lanterman Act.

Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act | Consumer’s Guide

Consumer is a word that you will often hear when working with IRC. But what does it mean? A Consumer is a child or adult with a developmental disability who receives Regional Center services. You can read more about how a person qualifies for Regional Center services on our Eligibility page.

CSC is another term you will hear frequently. A CSC is a Consumer Services Coordinator, or Service Coordinator for short. Once a person is found eligible for Regional Center services, they are paired with a Service Coordinator who becomes their main contact at IRC. The Service Coordinator will meet with the Consumer, and their family/support team, to understand their needs and goals. The Service Coordinator also coordinates supports and services to help a Consumer enhance their opportunities for independence, empowerment, and community inclusion. Consumer goals, needs, skills, preferences, supports and services are all addressed in the Individual Program Plan which acts as a contract between the Consumer and the Regional Center.

Note: A service plan for an IRC Consumer under age 3 is called an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). A Service Coordinator for this age group is called an Infant Service Coordinator (ISC).

The Individual Program Plan, or IPP; is created during a meeting with the Consumer and their Service Coordinator. Depending on the Consumer’s age, their support team can also include family members, teachers, service providers, etc. It is important for all members of the team to remember that the Consumer’s choices and goals guide the IPP, this is called person centered planning.

During the IPP meeting the team will discuss various aspects of the Consumer’s life including, their home life, school/work, medical conditions/needs, behavioral health, daily living skills, and more. These discussions set the stage for the Desired Outcomes section of the IPP, which defines the Consumer’s goals for the year. A complete and detailed IPP helps explain and justify the services and supports that the Consumer will receive.

The Desired Outcomes section of the IPP is based on the Consumer’s needs and preferences. These goals are specific and measurable, and include timelines set by the Consumer and their support team. The IPP will also list the services and supports the Consumer will need to help achieve their stated goals, including those provided by agencies outside of IRC.

At Inland Regional Center, IPP meetings typically happen on an annual basis, but IPPs can be amended when necessary. The Individual Program Plan must be signed before it can be implemented, and IRC must send the Consumer a copy of their IPP within 45 days of the meeting. It is very important that Consumers/families thoroughly review their IPP for accuracy, because this document acts as a contract between the Consumer and the Regional Center.

The Individual Program Plan (IPP) outlines the services and supports a Consumer will receive to help them reach stated goals. Many of the services/supports listed in the IPP are funded by Inland Regional Center and provided to the Consumer by IRC Service Providers. IRC contracts with Service Providers in San Bernardino and Riverside counties through a process called Vendorization. The Vendorization process allows IRC to identify, select, and evaluate Service Providers who will provide services to Consumers on behalf of the Regional Center. Providers use IRC’s core values of Consumer independence, inclusion and empowerment, as the guiding principles of how they provide services.

Additionally, some of the services and supports listed in the IPP are provided by agencies outside of the Regional Center, such as the Social Security Administration, school districts, county agencies, etc. If a service/support is provided by an agency outside of the Regional Center that agency will be identified in the IPP.

A person-centered, individualized planning process is used when developing IPPs, this means that the supports and services a Consumer receives will vary depending on their goals, objectives, needs, and strengths. For example, a Consumer who is a child may have respite services to achieve their IPP goal of living in the family home. An adult Consumer who is attending a community college may receive transportation services to meet their goal of furthering their education. A Consumer who has an elevated medical need may reside in an Intermediate Care Facility to meet their IPP goal of living in the least restrictive environment. It is important to note that all services funded by IRC must be linked to an IPP goal and the Consumer must meet the qualification criteria for that service, as established by the Lanterman Act.


Appeals

IRC is committed to establishing collaborative relationships with Consumers and families. Our primary focus is creating service plans that address the individual needs of each Consumer. Though, there may be occasions where the Regional Center and a Consumer/family disagree about eligibility or services. If you disagree with a Regional Center decision you can ask your Service Coordinator, and if appropriate their Program Manager, to meet with you and discuss the decision. This allows everyone involved to make sure that all essential information was considered. If things cannot be resolved during this meeting, Consumers/families have the right to appeal the decision.

The process of appealing decisions regarding services is called Fair Hearings. Below are links to Fair Hearings processes and forms found on the Department of Developmental Services website. If you would like to speak to an IRC Representative about the Fair Hearings process you can contact our Legal Affairs Department.

Early Start Appeals (under age 3) | Fair Hearings (over age 3)

Note: Fair Hearings deal specifically with disagreements regarding eligibility or the type/amount of services in a Consumer’s service plan. If you have a concern or complaint that is not related specifically to a service or eligibility you can contact our Community Engagement team or use the Consumer Complaint Process.

Self-Determination

The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is creating a program to allow Regional Center Consumers more control in developing their service plans and selecting service providers. The Self Determination Program (SDP) gives participants a budget to purchase services and supports from the providers of their choice. SDP participants have a larger role in their service planning and implementation, while receiving assistance from a financial services management provider and an independent facilitator. For detailed information and program updates visit the DDS Self-Determination home page.

Inland Regional Center will initially have 244 spaces for Consumers to participate in SDP, once it is launched by DDS. Interested in the Self-Determination program? Email spd@dds.ca.gov and notify your Consumer Service Coordinator of your interest.

2017 Self-Determination Meeting Agendas – July | May | April | February | January | Archives

Self-Determination Interest List – May 2017


Employment First Policy

Inland Regional Center (IRC) philosophies include promoting independence, empowering our Consumers, and ensuring they are included in the everyday routines of community life. Consistent with state law and agency core values, IRC has developed an Employment First Policy. IRC’s Employment First Policy states that integrated employment will be the first option for every working age adult and fully supports the principles outlined in Assembly Bill 1041.


Register to Vote!

Inland Regional Center encourages all members of the IRC Community, including our Consumers, to participate in the democratic process and exercise their right to vote. Visit the Secretary of State’s website to register today! If you would like help registering to vote please your Service Coordinator or IRC’s Community Engagement Team for assistance.

Disability Rights California offers a variety of publications on voting and voting rights.

Confidentiality

Inland Regional Center is committed to preserving the privacy and confidentiality of the Consumers we serve, in accordance with state and federal law. In some cases, IRC may not be able to provide information requested where confidentiality may be at risk. Please read more about Records Requests on our Accountability page.