Self-Determination Program/ Independent Facilitator

Now Accepting Applications for January 2022 

Could You Use Some Guidance When It Comes To Transitioning Your Child Into A Self-Determination Program?

  • Do you have a child who is a Regional Center client?
  • Would your family like to have more control over the budget they receive for services from the Regional Center?
  • Have you been curious about using an independent facilitator to create a person-centered plan that ensures your child is receiving the services they need and evaluates if the budget is correct? 

You may be feeling frustrated about the lack of choice when it comes to vendored services provided through the Regional Center. Perhaps you’ve found that transitional services offered often have limitations or that vendor providers have staff members who lack appropriate training to meet your child’s needs and have high turnover.  

It could be that you’d prefer a person-centered planner instead of a Regional Center service coordinator to help you develop your child’s person-centered plan. You may be feeling like an independent facilitator is more in tune with your family and your child’s hopes and dreams and is better able to negotiate services. After all, Regional Center service coordinators tend to be overwhelmed by full caseloads. 

It may simply be that you want more control and choice when it comes to developing a plan to support your child’s special needs. You’d likely feel more comfortable with this process if you could hire an independent facilitator. 

Though the process of creating your child’s person-centered plan can be overwhelming at times, an independent facilitator can guide your decision-making with the unique hopes and dreams of your child in mind. And with my years of experience of supporting families and individuals with special needs, I can help your child successfully enter the Self-Determination Program that makes optimal use of their funds.

Working With An Independent Facilitator Can Help Your Child In Their Transition Into The Self-Determination Program

There are many families involved in Regional Centers all around California who have not had their needs met with the services available to their children. As part of a bureaucracy, your local Regional Center contracts with local vendors that can provide respite, adaptive skills, independent and supported living services, employment support, adult day services, and more. However, those vendors can often be limited when it comes to the contract they have with the Regional Center, creating setbacks to finding effective services for many individuals with special needs. 

In addition, it can be difficult to navigate the Regional Center resources as is. You may not be fully aware of what is available for your child and, therefore, are forced to adhere to what their staff and employees recommend for your child’s case. 

However, an independent facilitator specializes in person-centered planning so that you and your family can get the best quality services, understand how to navigate your budget, and enter your child into the Self-Determination Program with confidence. 

An Independent Facilitator Can Help You Navigate The Person-Centered Plan And Budget So That Your Child’s Needs Can Be Met

Before beginning my own practice providing support and resources and bridging services to special needs individuals and their families, I spent a long career working as a special needs teacher and Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). I am familiar with the wide range of disabilities present within the special needs population and recognize that each case is unique. 

In addition, I spent part of my career developing and managing programs for adults with special needs, including independent living and adult day services, supporting individuals in employment, and post-secondary education services. Because of this, I have a lot of familiarity with how Regional Centers across California work and what services they provide. And being part of a large network of independent providers has given me insight into the wide variety of services that are available beyond what the Regional Center offers.

One of the tasks that I can help with is ensuring that the services that a client should have are included in the budget. We identify this through the process of creating a person-centered plan. By getting the services in, it increases the allotted budget. It is also important to know the steps of how to get those services.  I have the experience and knowledge of what services a client should get and how to get it which in turn increases the budget.

I will be able to guide your family in the process of understanding what is covered with your Regional Center budget and where to look for specific opportunities and resources. As I facilitate your child’s transition into the Self-Determination Program, I can support your family to identify competent care providers, develop a budget, and form a plan that meets Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) rulings. 

After you complete an initial intake form, we can schedule an initial Zoom or phone consultation, which will determine if we are a good fit. Front there, we can begin the process of entering your child into the Self-Determination Program. This process will include: 

  • Meetings to prepare a person-centered plan
  • Developing an actionable person-centered plan document
  • Identifying unmet needs and change of circumstances
  • Facilitate the person-centered plan party with the circle of support
  • Presenting your child’s case for self-determination to the Regional Center
  • Negotiating an individual budget based on the previous year’s expenditure, unmet needs, and any changes of circumstance
  • Creating and implementing a spending plan
  • Attending the final IPP meeting before entering the Self-Determination Program

Once all plans are approved and your child transitions into the Self-Determination Program, I can continue to make my independent facilitating services available to your family to ensure that all goals in the person-centered plan are being met. I will also work with your family to adjust the spending plan as needed and provide ongoing advocacy on your child’s behalf. 

I have offered support and guidance to special needs individuals and their families from the time since the Self-Determination Program became available in 2018. Thanks to the introduction of this program, the dozens of clients I have advocated for have received more effective and tailored services. I look forward to continuing this important work!  

Perhaps you’d like to hire an independent facilitator, but you have some questions…

Who pays for an independent facilitator?

In 2018, the state of California allotted $2,500* to Regional Center individuals chosen for the self-determination soft roll out for the express purpose of hiring facilitators to create person-centered plans. Some of my clients have been able to pay for my services with these funds. And though this is a temporary measure, it’s our hope that the state will observe the great success I and others have had in transitioning our clients into Self-Determination Programs and continue to offer similar subsidies. Otherwise, my services are paid for privately, by individual clients. 

How are budgets developed in the person-centered planning process?

Budgets are entirely based on the past 12-month expenditures incurred by the individual, unmet needs, and any change of circumstance (this would be any circumstance that would require additional services or reduction of services). Based on my years of experience, I can help you develop an effective budget and understand eligibility, ultimately maximizing services based on your child’s needs.

What qualifies as an unmet need?

An “unmet need” refers to any services that are ordinarily provided by the Regional Center, but for some reason or another has not been fulfilled or accessed. There may be a lack of availability for certain support staff or other limitations that prevent the Regional Center from meeting a need. And during COVID, in particular, there are more limitations and interruptions of services that would qualify as an “unmet need”.

Regain A Sense Of Control With Person-Centered Planning 

If you’re the parent of a child with special needs and your family qualifies for support through the Regional Center, I can work with you as an independent facilitator to ensure that your child receives the most effective services. To receive an intake form or to learn more about how I can help, please email me

*Person-Centered Planning for the Self-Determination Program is funded by the Department of Developmental Services through regional centers across the state. Funding for such services is currently only available to those selected by lottery for the phase-in period. 

NOTICE OF APPEALS PROCEDURE For all regional center-funded services, individuals have the right to an appeals procedure. If you believe that a mistake has been made or that your rights have been violated, please contact the Department of Developmental Services at (916) 654-1987.