Public Policy Changes
Regional centers are committed to helping adults with developmental disabilities to live independent, integrated lives in their communities. This includes the ability to live, work, and play alongside other people – both those with and without disabilities. Recent changes at both the federal and state level encourage this same outcome. Some of these changes include:
Home and Community-Based Services Final Rule – In order to keep receiving federal funding in 2019, services like those paid for by regional centers must help individuals with developmental disabilities to be fully included in their communities. This applies where individuals live and also to where they work and spend their day. States have to develop plans for how to make sure their services meet this standard and how to change any that don’t.
Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act – This law requires agencies working with individuals with disabilities to try to help them to achieve competitive integrated employment. It limits the payment of wages lower than minimum wage. It also explains that workers with disabilities should do the same work as people without disabilities and be paid the same amount for that work. Workers with disabilities should share their workplace with workers without disabilities.
Executive Order 13658 – President Obama signed this order in February 2014. It increases the minimum wage paid to employees who work for companies contracted by the federal government to $10.10 per hour. Employees with disabilities cannot be paid less than this minimum wage when working on these federal contracts.
Regulations to Improve Job Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities – The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs now requires companies contracted by the federal government to set a goal of having at least 7% of their employees be individuals with disabilities.
Employment First Law – “Integrated competitive employment is intended to be the first option considered by planning teams for working age individuals” with developmental disabilities who are supported by a regional center. Planning teams for every individual who is at least 16 years old should think about the services that will be needed to make this possible.
California Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE): Blueprint for Reform for Individuals with Disabilities – The California Departments of Education, Rehabilitation, and Developmental Services are working together on a plan to increase integrated, competitive employment for individuals with developmental disabilities.