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Challenges to Sustaining California's Developmental Disability Services System

March 1, 2011

Policy Note

Authors: Daphna Gans, PhD, Anna C. Davis, Christina M. Kinane, Gerald F. Kominski, Ph.D.

California's developmental disability services system is currently facing severe budget reductions as part of Governor Brown's efforts to close the state's budget gap. But for more than a decade, guaranteeing adequate funding for these services has been challenged by both a 57-percent increase in the number of individuals eligible for these services, combined with limited resources, rate freezes and inadequate transparency in resource allocation. As the only state in the nation that has established an entitlement for developmental disability services, California must pursue multiple strategies to meet the goals of this entitlement and ensure adequate and equitable access to high-quality and cost-effective services. This policy note discusses the background of California's developmental disability services, identifies the challenges facing this system, and recommends that the state adjust frozen rates for services, adopt an equitable and transparent vendor payment system, as well as maximize the efficiency of the current system of service provision, among other policy solutions.

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