Join the Movement!
Join the Movement!
More than 386,000 Californians with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) live in California; they are our neighbors, classmates, coworkers, family and friends. However, their support structure has been grossly underfunded for more than two decades. Direct support staff are quitting the field or working multiple jobs due to low wages, essential programs are closing throughout the state, there is a critical shortage of accessible and affordable housing for adults with IDD, the unemployment rate continues to grow, and individuals are forced to live with inadequate supports or with no supports at all. The COVID-19 pandemic has exasperated the challenges and put this population and their support system at high risk.
Lanterman Coalition member organizations across the state are working to protect the health and safety of those with disabilities during this unprecedented public health crisis. Last year, Governor Newsom partnered with the Legislature to pass a historic budget for 2021-22 that invested $2 billion over five years to help stabilize the foundation of the disability system and close the funding gap for IDD services. While this budget was a major victory for Californians with IDD, the bulk of the investments don't begin until 2024-2025, and there is still much work to be done to help address the disparities in the disability system so that every person has an opportunity to live their best life in an inclusive society.
This year, we are still facing an acute workforce shortage of Direct Support Professionals and Regional Center Service Coordinators due to lack of competitive wages and inflation. The Lanterman Coalition has put forth the following two proposals to the Legislature for consideration in the 2022-23 budget:
1) Address the Disability Workforce Crisis by Accelerating Funding in Regional Center Services
Individuals and families are going without services and supports due to the critical workforce shortage. The Lanterman Coalition proposes to speed up the $2 billion investments that were passed in last year’s budget and planned to be invested over five years. Specifically, the proposal seeks to accelerate the implementation of the Department of Developmental Services Rate Study by one year at an approximate cost of $330 million. The proposal also seeks to update the rate models based on lessons learned through the pandemic, to support California’s transition to an outcome-based system, and to ensure services are in compliance with the federal HCBS settings rule.
2) Fix Flawed Regional Center Funding Formula for Service Coordinators
Proposed investments in regional center operations will help correct funding gaps that have widened significantly over time and allow for the hiring of needed service coordinators to meet people’s needs. The “Core Staffing Formula” funds regional centers at only half the cost of actually hiring each service coordinator, which is the reason caseload ratios rise over time. A modest first year investment of $21.6 million General Fund paired with a commitment to keep the formula current would support the stability of service coordination long-term.
Join us in urging the Governor and our elected officials to accelerate to adopt and implement the two proposals above in the 2022-23 budget.
Let's build a future that will provide Californians with disabilities and the professionals who provide their support a chance to live full and equitable lives. #TheFutureIncludesUs
TAKE ACTION! CLICK HERE to contact your legislator!
The Lanterman Coalition thanks Governor Gavin Newsom and his administration for addressing some of the developmental disability system’s workforce instability crisis in the proposed one-time funding spending in the 2022-23 May Revise budget. Unfortunately, it does not go far enough to address the underlying staffing issue.
The root cause of the disability staffing crisis is having competitive wages within the larger labor force marketplace. The Lanterman Coalition consists of dozens of statewide organizations representing Californians with developmental disabilities, their families, direct support professionals, and regional center staff. To address the staffing shortage the Coalition members strongly support the following proposals put forward by the Legislature to:
An immediate strategy to address the workforce crisis is to accelerate the means for service providers and regional centers to pay their staff competitive wages. Californians with disabilities and their families need assistance now, as service providers and regional centers ration services and struggle to recruit, hire, and maintain an adequate workforce – a workforce who, similar to our valued CA Health Care Professionals, has worked throughout the pandemic to provide direct supports to people with IDD and their families.
Through The Lanterman Act 380,000 Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families are entitled to services and the state is obligated to provide those services and supports – but we are failing. Last year the Legislature and Governor Newsom made a new commitment to our community by approving historical investments into direct services, but by waiting for those investments we risk a dangerous too-little-too-late scenario. Considering the massive state budget surplus, it seems illogical to make California’s IDD community wait longer to simply be made financially whole.
Please consider continuing the commitment set forth in last year’s budget and invest in the disability community immediately by adopting the Lanterman Coalition supported proposals to address the workforce crisis. Californians with disabilities, their families, and their direct support workforce will thank you for creating a future that includes ALL of us!
To show support for The Lanterman Coalition’s funding proposals that can help end the acute disability workforce crisis, visit TheFutureIncludesUs.org.
There are approximately 150,000 direct support professionals (DSP's) working in our state to support more than 380,000 Californian's with developmental disabilities succeed in every aspect of their lives. Low rates for services, set by the state, directly impact DSP wages. California's disability system is currently facing an acute staffing shortage. CLICK HERE to share your story with us about how this workforce crisis impacts your life, or of someone you care about with a disability.
The state has set rates for the services it is legally obligated to provide to people with IDD too low. We are being denied these vital services because of unfilled positions and high worker turnover.
Dolores Huerta and her grandchildren explain why disability rights are civil rights and why California's lawmakers must #KeepThePromise
"Our son, David, has autism and significant difficulties with language and needs 24-hour staff support. In the last 27 months David has had 10 different support staff. For obvious reasons, this is not an ideal situation, and recruiting for David can be challenging due to the difficulties of communicating with him. Given the low wage rate with little opportunity for advancement, finding a higher paying job is always a prime motivation for staff to move on. There is always uncertainty about when the situation will resolve, and uncertainty is difficult for David and the rest of our family. The reassurance that would come with improvements for our direct support staff and knowing that the system is stable is priceless."
- Betsy Katz, Mom and President of The Arc of California
"I receive a paycheck twice a month. I work 120 hours plus each pay period and I bring home only $1500 at the most, usually less than that after taxes. I can't even afford my own place. I even started driving for Lyft to make ends meet. I love my job I enjoy going to work every day but it's not enough to survive."
- Anonymous Direct Support Professional, Solano County
For two decades, the state is failing Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), causing individuals and families to suffer without critical services and supports. Violating its legal requirement under the Lanterman Act, the state has chronically underfunded the community based organizations that provide services such as supported employment, independent living, family respite, and community integration. As a result, the workforce is leaving in masses - forced to leave the job they love because they struggle with poverty as a result of low wages - and programs are closing their doors. Instead of receiving the services they need to actively contribute to our communities, people are sitting at home without services and families are left abandoned by the state that promised to support them.
California's Lanterman Act passed in 1969. This law sought to end the long era of institutionalization by setting up the regional center system instead. This meant that people with I/DD could stay in their communities of origin instead of being removed to the segregated isolation of an institution. When this law passed state lawmakers promised to fund community based services and supports people with I/DD need to live full lives. Yet in recent years the state has failed to live up to its promise, leaving people with I/DD unsupported, isolated, and vulnerable.
Take two minutes to email, call or tweet to the Governor your elected officials to pass a 2022-23 budget plan that prioritizes people with IDD by accelerating the five-year IDD funding plan to address the acute disability system workforce crisis! #TheFutureIncludesUs
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