Monday, February 13, 2006

Regional Center Reform

We need regional center reform. Do you realize that as nonprofit agencies, the Department of Developmental Services has lost control over the actions of the regional centers? Think about it. Regional Centers are deciding who opens homes, who gets put out of business, where your family members live, when they are moved, who gets services, who is denied services, and on and on. As long as it does not impact DDS, they don't seem to care.

We need regional center reform, because we need more accountability. Executive directors, earning six figure incomes have the opportunity to do whatever they want and whenever they want. Unfortunately, some of these directors are not that ethical and make decisions that benefit themselves and not necessarily the consumer. Case in point. In one regional center, the director was accussed of all kinds of questionable behavior, yet nothing was done. In another regional center, the director make decisions on a whim and has been ruling like a dictator for over 20 years. Why is anyone in charge of an agency for that period of time. It just makes it too easy for unethical and possibly illegal activites to occur.

We need regional center reform, because we need uniformity. Do you know that if you want to open a home and provide services to consumers, regional centers play a game. The game is this. You go ahead and spend all your money, get a home licensed, write your program design and then play the waiting game. If and when they decide to vendor you, you will probably be in debt by a minimum of $50,000 and can be in debt by over $100,000. Why is this allowed? Well, on the part of the regional center it makes sense. If you are that far into opening a home and are on the verge of bankruptcy, you will take any consumer offered you. This is an easy way for regional center to place those consumers that are criminals, sexual molestors, or just have too many behaviors for other homes to deal with. So what if the consumer soon fails, at least they got them out of their hair for awhile.

Did you know that the Department of Children and Family Services has a more logical system? If you want to open a home, you attend a training class and instructions are given. You are given a package and sign up to compete to open a home. You submit a written proposal and, if you pass, you are asked to attend an oral interview. During each phase, you are told: "DO NOT MAKE ANY FINANCIAL INVESTMENT UNTIL YOU ARE ASKED TO DO SO!" Then, if you pass all the steps, they tell you to go ahead and purchase the home and get it licensed. By the time you are done with licensing, you are ready to fill your home.

Why can't regional center do this? Because directors have been allowed too long to manipulate the sytem for their own personal benefit or to assuage their own egos.

Families, vendors, careproviders, consumers, etc., need to start speaking up about the regional centers and the need for immediate reform.

Please watch for more reasons why this system is not working as it is and may not even be necessary for the developmentally disabled population.