Join the Movement!
Join the Movement!
More than 386,000 Californians with developmental disabilities 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 disabilities, 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. In 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom partnered with the Legislature to pass a historic budget that invested $2 billion over five years to help stabilize the foundation of the disability system and close the funding gap for disability services. While this budget was a major victory for Californians with disabilities, the bulk of the investments don't begin until 2024-2025. For 2022, 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.
YOUR ACTIONS MADE A DIFFERENCE!
On June 30, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom and the Legislature reached an agreement on the 2022-23 State Budget. We are excited to announce that the Lanterman Coalition’s proposal to accelerate funding to the disability system to address the staffing crisis is included in this year’s budget! The $159 million general fund (GF) for accelerated funding will begin January 2023 and the final funding increases of $534 million GF will begin July 2024, a full year sooner than originally expected thanks to all your efforts. Overall, including federal matching funds, your advocacy efforts resulted in an additional $1.24 billion in funding for the developmental disability system over the next three years.
This success is a result of relentless advocacy from organization members of the Lanterman Coalition and from you and other members of the grassroots community across the state. During this effort more than 3,800 advocates took 11,800 actions of emails, calls, tweets and video messages to members of the Legislature and Governor.
While these investments will undoubtedly help to restore services and supports that were lost as a result of the pandemic and staffing shortages, the final budget package falls short of the Lanterman Coalition’s full proposals. The accelerated funding is six months later than our proposal of July 2022 and does not include technical fixes to the rate models nor regular updates to funding the disability system to adjust for economic fluctuations. Additionally, the budget package does not include an update to the Regional Center service coordinator rates to lower caseload ratios and attract staff, even when this week a statement by the California State Auditor says it “found that regional centers have neither sufficient staff nor funding.” This means that our work, and your work, is not done. In our ongoing efforts to advocate on behalf of Californians with developmental disabilities and the workforce, we will be requesting the Governor’s administration make an effort to address the rate issues and we will start planning our advocacy strategy now to address the important service coordinator shortage issue that inhibits access to services and supports.
We thank every single person who contacted the Governor and your elected officials asking for their support! This year, many of you submitted powerful video messages that demonstrated the personal impact of the staffing crisis we are facing across the state. Your involvement made a difference!
Other items the final budget package includes are:
As always, we will continue to advocate on behalf of the 380,000 Californians with disabilities, their families and staff and the incredible service providers and regional centers who are working tirelessly to meet the needs of the community. There’s more work to be done, and we are counting on you to continue to join us on this journey, but we hope you take a moment to feel proud of this accomplishment. We couldn’t do it without you!
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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