California's Developmental Disabilities Service System

The following brief provides a background on California's developmental disabilities service system, the role of Regional Centers, the Home and Community-Based Services Waiver for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities, and system-wide deinstitutionalization efforts.

California is considered a model across the nation for its developmental disabilities (DD) service system, which uses a coordinated service delivery model that provides consumer choice and prioritizes home and community-based services (HCBS) as an alternative to institutionalization. Much can be learned from the success of this model, although it also confronts challenges. This LTC Fundamentals describes the history of the system, the characteristics of individuals who are eligible for services, its underlying principles and organizational structure, and system challenges, including increasing costs and oversight of a complex rate-setting system.