Your regional center is a life-long partner, connecting you and your family to services that make community life possible. This connection is based on an “Individual Program Plan” (IPP) or “Individual Family Service Plan” (IFSP). These plans are created collaboratively, centered on the needs and goals of the individual receiving services.
If those services are needed to help an infant or toddler whose development is delayed, it is done through the IFSP. This type of service is “Early Start.” For individuals over the age of three, with a developmental disability, this is done through the IPP.
Both types of plans are created and updated by a Planning Team. This includes the person served and their service coordinator, but can also include the client’s family, friends, and even service providers. They work together to identify the right services to meet individual needs, including making sure those services can be paid for.
But there is more to a regional center than just this!
The people who are in charge of the regional centers are called the Board of Directors (BOD). They hire and guide the Executive Director, who is responsible for the day-to-day work of the center. The BOD must give them guidance on the center’s big goals and strategies to serve their community. The BOD decides:
Who runs the organization;
How the organization will operate;
How much money will be spent;
What the organization does for the community; and,
Who is selected to be on the BOD.
Members are selected to represent different groups from the community. The Lanterman Act says that 50% of the regional center BOD must be adults with developmental disabilities and/or family members of an individual with developmental disabilities. All regional center board members are volunteers who want to make sure the regional center does a good job helping people with developmental disabilities. The BOD reflect the geographic and ethnic characteristics of the area served. They must also be composed of:
Individuals who have demonstrated interest in, or knowledge of, developmental disabilities;
Persons with fiscal expertise, governance or management experience; and,
Representatives of each of the various categories of disability to be served by the center.
A BOD is led by officers. They have required jobs that help the Board run smoothly and carry out its mission. All Boards must have at least two officers, but most have a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Adapted from Westside Regional Center