Code Section

Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC

DIVISION 4.5. SERVICES FOR THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED [4500 - 4885]

  ( Division 4.5 added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1252. )
  

CHAPTER 5. Regional Centers for Persons With Developmental Disabilities [4620 - 4669.75]

  ( Chapter 5 added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1252. )
  

ARTICLE 2. Regional Center Responsibilities [4640 - 4659.2]
  ( Article 2 added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1252. )

  
4640.6.  

(a) In approving regional center contracts, the department shall ensure that regional center staffing patterns demonstrate that direct service coordination are the highest priority.

(b) Contracts between the department and regional centers shall require that regional centers implement an emergency response system that ensures that a regional center staff person will respond to a consumer, or individual acting on behalf of a consumer, within two hours of the time an emergency call is placed. This emergency response system shall be operational 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

(c) Contracts between the department and regional centers shall require regional centers to have service coordinator-to-consumer ratios, as follows:

(1) An average service coordinator-to-consumer ratio of 1 to 62 for all consumers who have not moved from the developmental centers to the community since April 14, 1993. In no case shall a service coordinator for these consumers have an assigned caseload in excess of 79 consumers for more than 60 days.

(2) An average service coordinator-to-consumer ratio of 1 to 45 for all consumers who have moved from a developmental center to the community since April 14, 1993. In no case shall a service coordinator for these consumers have an assigned caseload in excess of 59 consumers for more than 60 days.

(3) Commencing January 1, 2004, the following coordinator-to-consumer ratios shall apply:

(A) All consumers three years of age and younger and for consumers enrolled in the Home and Community-based Services Waiver program for persons with developmental disabilities, an average service coordinator-to-consumer ratio of 1 to 62.

(B) All consumers who have moved from a developmental center to the community since April 14, 1993, and have lived continuously in the community for at least 12 months, an average service coordinator-to-consumer ratio of 1 to 62.

(C) All consumers who have not moved from the developmental centers to the community since April 14, 1993, and who are not described in subparagraph (A), an average service coordinator-to-consumer ratio of 1 to 66.

(4) (A) Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, an average service coordinator-to-consumer ratio of 1 to 25 for all consumers with complex needs.

(B) The coordinator-to-consumer ratio specified in this paragraph shall not be authorized for a consumer for more than 12 months after the consumer is no longer receiving the services described in clause (i) or (ii) of subparagraph (C), after the consumer is no longer placed in a facility described in clause (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii), or (viii) of subparagraph (C), or after the department has made the determination described in clause (ix) of subparagraph (C), unless an extension is granted. An extension shall be based on a new and complete comprehensive assessment of the consumer’s needs. An extension may be granted one time, and shall not exceed six months.

(C) For the purposes of this paragraph, a “consumer with complex needs” means a consumer who is any of the following:

(i) Receiving regional center-funded mobile crisis services by a department-approved vendor, or has received those services within the past six months.

(ii) Receiving state-operated crisis assessment stabilization team services, or has received those services within the past six months.

(iii) Placed in a community crisis home, as defined in Section 4698.

(iv) Placed in an acute crisis home operated by the department, pursuant to Section 4418.7.

(v) Placed in a locked psychiatric setting or has been placed in a locked psychiatric setting in the past six months.

(vi) Placed in an institution for mental disease, as described in Part 5 (commencing with Section 5900) of Division 5.

(vii) Placed out of state as a result of appropriate services being unavailable within the state, pursuant to Section 4519.

(viii) Placed in a county jail and eligible for diversion pursuant to Chapter 2.8 (commencing with Section 1001.20) of Title 6 of Part 2 of the Penal Code or found incompetent to stand trial as described in Section 1370.1 of the Penal Code.

(ix) A person the department has determined cannot be safely served in a developmental center, as described in Section 6510.5.

(5) For purposes of paragraph (3), service coordinators may have a mixed caseload of consumers three years of age and younger, consumers enrolled in the Home and Community-based Services Waiver program for persons with developmental disabilities, and other consumers if the overall average caseload is weighted proportionately to ensure that overall regional center average service coordinator-to-consumer ratios as specified in paragraph (3) are met. For purposes of paragraph (3), in no case shall a service coordinator have an assigned caseload in excess of 84 for more than 60 days.

(d) For purposes of this section, “service coordinator” means a regional center employee whose primary responsibility includes preparing, implementing, and monitoring consumers’ individual program plans, securing and coordinating consumer services and supports, and providing placement and monitoring activities.

(e) In order to ensure that caseload ratios are maintained pursuant to this section, each regional center shall provide service coordinator caseload data to the department, annually for each fiscal year. The data shall be submitted in the format, including the content, prescribed by the department. Within 30 days of receipt of data submitted pursuant to this subdivision, the department shall make a summary of the data available to the public upon request. The department shall verify the accuracy of the data when conducting regional center fiscal audits. Data submitted by regional centers pursuant to this subdivision shall:

(1) Only include data on service coordinator positions as defined in subdivision (d). Regional centers shall identify the number of positions that perform service coordinator duties on less than a full-time basis. Staffing ratios reported pursuant to this subdivision shall reflect the appropriate proportionality of these staff to consumers served.

(2) Be reported separately for service coordinators whose caseload includes any of the following:

(A) Consumers who are three years of age and older and who have not moved from the developmental center to the community since April 14, 1993.

(B) Consumers who have moved from a developmental center to the community since April 14, 1993.

(C) Consumers who are younger than three years of age.

(D) Consumers enrolled in the Home and Community-based Services Waiver program.

(3) Not include positions that are vacant for more than 60 days or new positions established within 60 days of the reporting month that are still vacant.

(4) For purposes of calculating caseload ratios for consumers enrolled in the Home and Community-based Services Waiver program, vacancies shall not be included in the calculations.

(f) The department shall provide technical assistance and require a plan of correction for any regional center that, for two consecutive reporting periods, fails to maintain service coordinator caseload ratios required by this section or otherwise demonstrates an inability to maintain appropriate staffing patterns pursuant to this section. Plans of correction shall be developed following input from the state council, local organizations representing consumers, family members, regional center employees, including recognized labor organizations, and service providers, and other interested parties.

(g) Each time that new funds are appropriated in the annual Budget Act to the department for allocation to regional centers with the stated purpose of reducing caseload ratios, both of the following shall occur:

(1) Each regional center shall hold at least one public meeting during that year to receive stakeholder input to help inform the way the regional center allocates new positions funded through the allocation to that regional center. Stakeholders may include the state council, local organizations representing consumers, family members, community-based organizations that represent the ethnic and language diversity of the regional center catchment area, regional center employees, including recognized labor organizations and service providers, and other interested parties. The public meeting required by this paragraph fulfills a regional center’s requirement under subdivision (f) to gather input regarding its plan of correction if the plan of correction is discussed during the meeting.

(2) On or before October 10 of the year of the appropriation of funds, and again by March 10 of that fiscal year, and in a format prescribed by the department, each regional center shall report the following information to the department:

(A) The number of new service coordinator positions created with the funds allocated to reduce caseload ratios.

(B) Data on current caseload ratios as of March 1 and October 1, respectively.

(C) Any other information determined by the department.

(3) The department shall post the information required to be reported by a regional center pursuant to paragraph (2) on its internet website.

(h) Contracts between the department and regional center shall require the regional center to have, or contract for, all of the following areas:

(1) Criminal justice expertise to assist the regional center in providing services and supports to consumers involved in the criminal justice system as a victim, defendant, inmate, or parolee.

(2) Special education expertise to assist the regional center in providing advocacy and support to families seeking appropriate educational services from a school district.

(3) Family support expertise to assist the regional center in maximizing the effectiveness of support and services provided to families.

(4) Housing expertise to assist the regional center in accessing affordable housing for consumers in independent or supportive living arrangements.

(5) Community integration expertise to assist consumers and families in accessing integrated services and supports and improved opportunities to participate in community life.

(6) Quality assurance expertise, to assist the regional center to provide the necessary coordination and cooperation with the state council, in conducting quality-of-life assessments and coordinating the regional center quality assurance efforts.

(7) Each regional center shall employ at least one consumer advocate who is a person with developmental disabilities.

(8) Other staffing arrangements related to the delivery of services that the department determines are necessary to ensure maximum cost-effectiveness and to ensure that the service needs of consumers and families are met.

(9) Implicit bias training, pursuant to Section 4511.1, to increase service access and equity in the developmental services system.

(10) Language access and cultural competency services and support, pursuant to Section 4620.4, to allow consistent access to information and services and to advance person-centered health and human services equity outcomes toward the diminishment of racial, ethnic, and other disparities.

(i) Any regional center proposing a staffing arrangement that substantially deviates from the requirements of this section shall request a waiver from the department. Prior to granting a waiver, the department shall require a detailed staffing proposal, including, but not limited to, how the proposed staffing arrangement will benefit consumers and families served, and shall demonstrate clear and convincing support for the proposed staffing arrangement from constituencies served and impacted, that include, but are not limited to, consumers, families, providers, advocates, and recognized labor organizations. In addition, the regional center shall submit to the department any written opposition to the proposal from organizations or individuals, including, but not limited to, consumers, families, providers, and advocates, including recognized labor organizations. The department may grant waivers to regional centers that sufficiently demonstrate that the proposed staffing arrangement is in the best interest of consumers and families served, complies with the requirements of this chapter, and does not violate any contractual requirements. A waiver shall be approved by the department for up to 12 months, at which time a regional center may submit a new request pursuant to this subdivision.

(j) From February 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010, inclusive, the following shall not apply:

(1) The service coordinator-to-consumer ratio requirements of paragraph (1), and subparagraph (C) of paragraph (3), of subdivision (c).

(2) The requirements of subdivision (e). The regional centers shall, instead, maintain sufficient service coordinator caseload data to document compliance with the service coordinator-to-consumer ratio requirements in effect pursuant to this section.

(3) The requirements of paragraphs (1) to (6), inclusive, of subdivision (h).

(k) From July 1, 2010, until June 30, 2013, the following shall not apply:

(1) The service coordinator-to-consumer ratio requirements of paragraph (1), and subparagraph (C) of paragraph (3), of subdivision (c).

(2) The requirements of paragraphs (1) to (6), inclusive, of subdivision (h).

(l) (1) Any contract between the department and a regional center entered into on and after January 1, 2003, shall require that all employment contracts entered into with regional center staff or contractors be available to the public for review, upon request. For purposes of this subdivision, an employment contract or portion thereof may not be deemed confidential nor unavailable for public review.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the social security number of the contracting party may not be disclosed.

(3) The term of the employment contract between the regional center and an employee or contractor shall not exceed the term of the state’s contract with the regional center.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 76, Sec. 28. (AB 136) Effective July 16, 2021.)