#Law Reform
The Developmentally Disabled Community
United States of America

Regional Centers, which are a California State run agency, under the Lanterman Act, provide services for those with developmental disabilities. They serve those with: Mental Retardation, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and Epilepsy.

Since 1988 Case Managers for Regional Centers have not had a had a cost adjustment to the formula for raises entered into California Law (via the Lanterman Act). In addition, case managers are mandated through the Lanterman Act, which is state law, to maintain a caseload of sixty-five to seventy cases per case manager.
Our petition's mission is to create an amendment to the Lanterman Act, which would recalculate the formula by which case managers' are paid to reflect a living wage.

In addition, it is also mandated by the state that case managers have a work load of 65-70 consumers per case manager. We are asking that the work load be reduced to 25-30.

Since 1988 Case Managers for Regional Center have not had a cost adjustment to the formula for raises entered into California Law (via the Lanterman Act). In addition, case managers are mandated through the Lanterman Act, which is state law, to maintain a caseload of sixty-five to seventy cases per case manager.

Neither of these things have changed. However, what has changed? Due to the tremendous rise in Autism (60% of all consumers who receive Regional Center services have an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis) the need for better quality of care has dramatically increased. Due to this huge demand, the need for more case managers is only going to rise. However, because the pay is incredibly low and the formula for increasing their pay has not adjusted to the cost of living, case managers are difficult to attract, turn over is high, and the ultimate losers in all of this are the consumers and their families. Case managers cannot disseminate quality care if their attention is divided between themselves (making ends meet) and the consumers they serve.

Many individuals who would make wonderful case managers for our consumers, often choose not to, because they cannot live on what they would make. In addition, the case load for each case manager is so great, that it often takes case managers up to one year to interact with every consumer and their family who is on their case load. What is the result ? Consumers and their families do not get quality care.

High turn over is rampant among Regional Centers and these reasons detailed above are some of the most common ones cited. It is not that case managers don’t care, the problem is that they are overworked, and underpaid.

The demand for quality case managers is something which is only going to increase due to high incident rate of autism.

The solution lies in two things:
1) Case managers need to have the formula to increase their pay recalculated so that they can make a living wage.
2) Case managers need to have a substantial reduction in the size of their case loads.

One of the complaints often cited by older consumers and their families, is how agonizing it is, to have to repeatedly tell a new case manager their life story. This is exhausting for not only the consumers, but their families and the case managers as well.
When a consumer is new to the system, it is important to have a case manager who is competent and can help them navigate the regional center system.

When a consumer starts the process of special education, the case manager can be vital. They are often terrific advocates for the consumer in the school setting.

Then, when consumers enter into the transition years, consumers need a tremendous amount of support as they enter the work place and develop the life skills they need to live as independently as possible.

As a consumer ages, having a case manager who they can communicate with, (using whatever means is appropriate to that person) is crucial.

At each stage of the consumer’s life, case managers are a vital part of the consumers life. The consumer cannot have the best quality of life, if they do not have the supports in place that will enable them to do so, and the foundation of that support system is Regional Center (this can be especially true if the consumer does not have a family to advocate for them or their family is no longer living).

The only way to enact these changes it to amend California State Law. How do we do that? We need to create an amendment to the Lanterman Act which states :
1) A new formula to calculate case managers pay (and pay raises) which would constitute a living wage. This formula should take into account the cost of living for the area the Regional Center serves.
2) Case Managers need to have a significant reduction in case load size. We propose 25-30 cases per case manager.

Please take the time to sign our petition. Additionally, anyone who is interested in testifying may contact me at : autismdirectr@aol.com

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The Petition for Amendment to the Lanterman Act for Cost of Living Pay Formula Adjustment and Reduction in Caseload for Case Managers of the Regional Center System petition to The Developmentally Disabled Community was written by Aria Ligi and is in the category Law Reform at GoPetition.

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