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(3.4) How can I get my regional center to provide services in a culturally-competent way?

(3.4) How can I get my regional center to provide services in a culturally-competent way?

The Lanterman Act has many rules to make sure services are provided in a culturally-competent way.

  • Regional center services must be provided in cultural- and language-appropriate ways to people with disabilities and their families.[1]Section 4502.1(b).
  • Regional center boards must review how well the regional center is providing services that are language- and cultural-appropriate each year.[2]Section 4622(j)(2).
  • Regional center contracts with the state must include annual performance objectives, including for providing cultural- and language-appropriate services.[3]Section 4629(c)(1)(A)(iii).
  • Regional center evaluations for IPP planning must be aware of and sensitive to the cultural background of the person and family.[4]Section 4646.5(a)(1).
  • Regional center community resource development services must be cultural- and language-appropriate.[5]Section 4679(a).
  • Regional center family support services must meet the cultural preferences and values of the families served.[6]Section 4685(b)(4).
  • Regional centers and DDS must monitor and evaluate residential services agencies and homes to makes sure they accommodate residents’ culture and values.[7]Section 4689.1(e)(8)(E).
  • DDS must consult with people and families that reflect the ethnic and language diversity of the regional centers’ area to help develop and grow culturally appropriate services. This is to prevent regional centers from spending their purchase of service money in ways that discriminate against certain groups.[8]Section 4519.5(g)(1)(C).
  • DDS’s evaluation of regional centers must include seeing if they are providing services in a cultural- and language-competent way.[9]Section 4571(b).

Because of these requirements, you and your family should talk to your service coordinator about your language, culture, and values. Do this when your service coordinator is gathering information about you for your IPP. Regional centers must keep your and your family’s lifestyle and culture in mind when they meet with you to discuss your IPP. Regional centers must use the information you give them about your culture to help your team create an IPP that considers your culture, language, and values. The focus of the IPP must be on your wishes, needs, and dreams, rather than on a list of services and supports that are available.

Regional centers could also hire staff that speak other languages and are part of different cultures. They could form support groups held in languages other than English. They could also use service providers who have staff that speak multiple languages.

1 Section 4502.1(b).
2 Section 4622(j)(2).
3 Section 4629(c)(1)(A)(iii).
4 Section 4646.5(a)(1).
5 Section 4679(a).
6 Section 4685(b)(4).
7 Section 4689.1(e)(8)(E).
8 Section 4519.5(g)(1)(C).
9 Section 4571(b).