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Supplement B: The Law Gives You Rights

Supplement B: The Law Gives You Rights

The Law Gives You Rights. This Supplement tells you which parts of the Lanterman Act give you the right to get the services and supports you need. These parts are called sections (or §), and these sections are from the Welfare & Institution Code. To learn more about which section affects you, read below.

Important! This list is not complete. We cannot list all services you have the right to get, but we list the most common ones. For more information about your rights, please see the complete manual, Rights Under the Lanterman Act.

Basic Rights and Integration – § 4502

If you have a developmental disability, you have the right to:

  • Treatment, services, and supports to help you live the most independent, productive, and “normal” life possible.
  • Services that protect your freedom in the least restrictive way.
  • Dignity, privacy, and humane care.
  • Treatment, services and supports in natural, community settings, as much as possible.
  • Participate in an appropriate public education program, regardless of your disability.
  • Prompt medical care and treatment.
  • Freedom of religion, conscience, and freedom to practice your religion.
  • Participate in community activities, and be social with peers.
  • Physical exercise and recreation.
  • Be free from harm, including unnecessary physical restraints, isolation, excessive medication, abuse, or neglect.
  • Say “no” to unsafe procedures.
  • Make choices in your own life. This includes where you want to live, who you want to live with, your relationships, how you spend your free time, your education, and work, your personal goals, and making a plan that fits your needs, and wants.
  • A prompt investigation of possible abuse against you.

Choices and Decision-Making – § 4502.1

You have the right to:

  • Have DDS, regional centers, service providers, and others give you information you can understand to help you make choices.
  • Have DDS, regional centers, service providers, and others give you the chance to make decisions.
  • Have DDS, regional centers, service providers, and others respect your choices.
  • Have regional centers give you information that is in keeping with your culture and in a language you or your parent, guardian, or authorized representative understand. This includes other forms of communication.

Rights in State-Operated, Community Care, and Health Facilities – § 4503

If you live in a state-operated facility, a community care facility, or a health facility (ex. hospital, skilled nursing facility, or intermediate care facility), you have the right to:

  • Wear your own clothes.
  • Have and use your own personal items without sharing them with other residents. For example, your own shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant.
  • Have and spend your own personal money, including at the canteen.
  • Have your own personal place to store your belongings.
  • See visitors every day.
  • Make or get calls with no one listening in or hearing what you say.
  • Have paper, envelopes, stamps or other things you need to write a letter.
  • Send and get mail without someone else reading what you write or opening or reading letters sent to you.
  • Say no to “shock” treatment (electroconvulsive therapy or ECT treatment).
  • Say no to psychosurgery. Psychosurgery means brain operations like lobotomy, psychiatric surgery, and behavioral surgery that affect how you think, feel, or act.
  • Say no to treatment that causes pain or trauma.
  • Make choices in all of your daily routines (what time you get up or go to bed), about your friends, free time, and social activities.
  • Make choices about what should be in your IPP.

Advocacy – § 4648(b) and 17 California Code of Regulations § 50510(a)(12)

You have the right to:

  • Get advocacy services
  • Go to court to enforce your rights. This includes saying no to a conservatorship.

Relationships – § 4620.1

You may have relationships with your parents and family members. Regional centers and support providers must respect and encourage these relationships.

Community Living – § 4640.7(a)

Regional Centers must help clients, and their families get the services and supports that give them the most opportunities and choices for living, working, learning, and playing in the community.

Eligibility Assessments – § 4643(a)

You have the right to:

  • Have a regional center decide if you are eligible for services in less than 120 days.
  • Have a regional center decide if you are eligible for services in less than 60 days if:
  • Waiting would put your health and safety at risk or lead to problems in mental or physical development, or
  • There is an immediate risk you must move to a more restrictive environment (for example, a locked setting).

Regional center eligibility and services if you move – § 4643.5 (a-c)

You have these rights, even if you move to a new regional center:

  • If one regional center decides you are eligible, you are eligible for services at all California regional centers.
  • Your eligibility will not end unless the regional center proves the original decision was clearly wrong.
  • If you move to an area served by a different regional center, your old and new regional center must make sure your services and supports are transferred smoothly.
  • You will have the same IPP until you agree to a new IPP.
  • If services or supports you had before you moved are not available at the new regional center, you must have an IPP meeting within 30 days.
  • Until your IPP meeting, the new regional center has to give you other services and supports that best meet your IPP goals in the least restrictive setting possible.

Your Individual Program Plan (IPP) Rights – §§ 4646, 4646.5, and 4648(a)(1)

General IPP Rights

  • After the regional center finds you eligible for services, they have 60 days to develop an IPP. §4646(c).
  • Both your IPP and the services and supports you receive must be tailored to you and your family. Your IPP must consider your needs and preferences (and those of your family, if appropriate).
  • The IPP services and supports must help you integrate into the community and lead an independent, productive, and normal life in a healthy and stable environment.
  • The services you and your family get must: reflect your preferences and choices, help meet the goals of your IPP, and be cost-effective. §4646(a).
  • Your IPP must include your goals, objectives, and services and supports that the regional center pays for, or that you get from other agencies §4646(d).
  • Your IPP must say exactly how many and what type of services you will get, and when the services will start. §4646.5(a)(5).
  • At the end of the IPP meeting, the regional center must give you a list of services and supports you both agreed to in the meeting. The list must say when services may start, how often you will have them and how long they will last, and the provider (if known). §4646(g)
  • Whenever possible, the IPP team must chose services that allow:
    • Children to live with their families.
    • Adults to live in the community with as much independence as possible.
    • Clients to interact with people without disabilities in positive and meaningful ways. § 4648(a)(1).

IPP Meetings:

  • You will have a planning meeting to agree on what will be in your IPP.
  • The regional center must give you a list of agreed-upon services at the end of the meeting. The list must include when services may start, how often you will have them and how long they will last, and the provider (if known). §4646(g)
  • If you (and the people representing you) cannot agree with the regional center on an IPP in the first meeting, you will have another one within 15 days, unless you ask for more time. §4646(h).
  • There must be someone with the authority to say “yes” or “no” for the regional center at your IPP meeting. § 4646(d).
  • You must be notified of every IPP meeting.
  • You can require that someone else also receive notice of IPP meetings, and that they are sent a copy of any notice sent to you. § 4646(e).
  • The regional center must document your native language (and/or the native language of your parent, guardian, or authorized representative) in your IPP. They must also hold the IPP meeting in that language and give you a copy of your IPP in that language. § 4646(j).

IPP Review:

  • You IPP must be reviewed and modified every 3 years.
  • If you ask for an IPP review before then, you have the right to an IPP review within 30 days. If your health and safety are at risk, or you might have to move from where you live, you have the right to a review within 7 days (some people call this an emergency IPP meeting). §4646.5(b).
  • If you get services under the HCBS waiver, your IPP will be reviewed every year.


  • If you disagree with part of your IPP (for example, if the regional center refuses to include a service you think you need), the regional center must send you a notice that explains why they did not agree (§ 4701) and your right to appeal. §§ 4646(i) and 4701.

Coordination of Services – § 4647

You have a right to:

  • Have the regional center coordinate your services and make sure you get the services in your IPP.
  • Have a service coordinator assigned to you.
  • Be told within 10 days if the regional center changes your service coordinator permanently.
  • Say you want someone else to be your service coordinator.

Regional Center Must Put Your IPP into Practice – § 4648

You have the right to:

  • Have the regional center get the services and supports you need to meet your IPP goals. The regional center will try to get you the service from other public agencies before using regional center funds to pay it. § 4648(a)(8).
  • Have the regional center consider supports in the natural community, home, and recreational settings first.
  • Have services that are flexible and tailored to you. § 4648(a)(2).
  • Service providers’ rates that make sure they can meet your special needs and provide quality supports in the least restrictive setting § 4648(a)(5).
  • Have your choice of service provider considered. The planning team will also consider the provider’s ability to provide quality supports, their qualifications, and what it costs for providers of similar quality. § 4648(a)(6).
  • Receive crisis and emergency services from the regional center to help you stay in the living arrangement you choose. § 4648(a)(10).

Right to Choose Where You Live – § 4641

If you are an adult:

  • You have the right to decide where you live.
  • You cannot be forced to move unless there is a danger to your health and well-being, there is a court order, or your conservator decides where you live.

Your Right to Move – § 4747

If you say you want to move out of a residential care facility (group home), the regional center must schedule an IPP meeting as soon as possible to help you find and move to another place.

Services and Support in Family Homes for Children with Developmental Disabilities – § 4685

If you are a child living with your family:

  • Getting services you need to stay at home with your family and community life is a high priority. §4685(a)(b).
  • Your IPP must include a family plan that describes the services and supports that will help you live in your family home. 4685(c)(2).

Children Living Out of the Family Home – § 4685.1

If you are a child living outside your home:

  • The regional center must do everything possible to place you close to your family home.
  • If the regional center cannot do that, they must put a written explanation in your IPP at least every 6 months that says everything they are doing for you to live closer to your family. They must send you a copy.

Services to Choose Relationships and To Be Parents – § 4687

You have the right:

  • To have relationships
  • To get married
  • To be part of a family
  • To have children
  • To make informed choices in your personal life
  • To get services from the regional center, like:
    • sexuality training
    • parenting skills training
    • supported living arrangements for parents with developmental disabilities and their children
    • advocacy help to deal with agencies like child welfare agencies
    • family counseling services

Supports to Help Participate in Your Community – § 4688

  • You have the right to get supports to help you participate in your community.
  • Regional Centers must expand opportunities that give you full and equal protection and participation in community integration and options in work, play, social, community services, and education.
  • If your IPP team decides you need community facilitation services to integrate or include you in the community, the regional center may get the service for you.

Supported Living Services for Adults – § 4689

If you are an adult, you have the right to get the type and amount of supports you need to live in a home you own or lease, no matter the degree of your disability.

Access to Mental Health Services – § 4696.1

You have the right to access mental health services when you need them, including emergency or crisis services. The regional center must work with the county mental health program to coordinate services. For example, if you are hospitalized, the regional center and the county mental health representatives must work together for your treatment plan and discharge planning.

Fair Hearing Process – §§ 4700-4716

  • If you disagree with a regional center’s decision not to provide new services or to change or end a service, you have rights to a notice and to a fair hearing with an Administrative Law Judge.
  • See Chapter 10 for more information about your rights in the fair hearing process.

 Access to Records – §§ 4725-4730

  • You have the right to see and copy the records in your file.
  • You have the right to review your file at the regional center during business hours.
  • Once you ask to see your files, verbally or in writing, you must be allowed to see them within 3 business days.

Compliance Complaints – § 4731

  • If you think your rights were denied or abused, you have the right to file a complaint with the director of the regional center or developmental center.
  • See Chapter 10 for more information about the complaint process, when to use the complaint process, and when to use the fair hearing process.

Regional Center Help with Other Services – §§ 4658, 4659, 4640.6(g)

The regional center must help you get cash benefits, health care, or other services you are eligible for. The regional center must have staff or a vendor with special skills in criminal justice, special education, family support, housing, and community integration. This means if you need help in one of these areas, the regional center should have someone or pay for someone to help you.