$750M CA Budget Cuts Hurt Kids with Developmental Disabilities

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In Governor Brown Proposes Massive Cuts to Social Safety Net, Marty Omoto of the California Disability Community Action Network writes:

$750 Million Reduction For Developmental Services

The Governor’s proposal for a $750 million reduction in state general fund spending for developmental services includes the 21 non-profit regional centers.

The bulk of that cut will most likely come from the 21 non-profit regional centers who coordinate community-based services and supports to over 240,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities. The regional centers contracted under the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) also coordinate the state’s early intervention program – called Early Start – that serves over 25,000 infants.

The proposed $750 million reduction does not include any lost federal matching funds which would like push the total reduction in spending in developmental services to close to $1 billion (all funds). This reduction is on top of 2009’s permanent and on-going $500 million reduction (including federal funds lost) in developmental services (the bulk of it impacting regional center funded services).

The $750 million reduction in State general fund spending proposed by the Governor would include the continuation for at least another year of the existing 4.25% reduction in payments to most regional center providers and to regional center operations which was scheduled to end as of June 30, 2011. That reduction would, under the Governor’s proposal, continue at least through June 30, 2012 – though the savings or reduction amount actually is permanent.

The reduction also would be achieved through several unspecified measures, including imposing new accountability and transparency measures; and implementation of a statewide purchase of services standards – first attempted in 2002 by Governor Gray Davis.

Many readers here will know of the Regional Centers as the source of data used by many to track autism “rates” over time. The Regional Centers (RC) are California’s method of administering support services to developmentally disabled residents. Each RC covers a large territory and is responsible for purchasing services from private vendors. This method would be in place of a system where the state employs the administrators and the service providers directly.

That said, the recent budget proposal includes $750,000,000 in cuts for services for the developmentally disabled. This will incur an estimated $250M in lost matching funds and is in addition to previous cuts already enacted.

Take the numbers and do the math, using just the $750M amount as a start. Use 265,000 people served by the CDDS. That’s about $2,800 per person. These are not small cuts.

And there is no end in site to the economic woes of the State.

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