Disability Thrive Initiative

COVID-19 Information and Resources

COVID-19 Vaccine Phase 1A Letter for Family Members

COVID-19 Vaccine Phase 1A Letter for Family Members

To Whom It May Concern:

California has a large population of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Recent COVID-19 studies have identified several groups within this population as being at high risk of COVID-19 complications and related fatalities. The purpose of this letter is to clarify that family members of certain people are “health care workers” pursuant to the State of California’s Vaccination Plan (https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/#When-can-I-get-vaccinated), and thus are prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination within Phase 1A.

These family members include those who care for people with any of the following conditions. This list is not necessarily exhaustive:

• Cerebral palsy • Down Syndrome • Epilepsy • Specialized health care needs, including dependence upon ventilators, oxygen, and other technology

The eligibility of these family members can be ascertained by documentation from their California regional center, verifying the qualifying condition of the member of their household who has an intellectual or developmental disability. A list of regional centers is available here: https://www.dds.ca.gov/rc/listings/. Alternatively, a family member may choose to present medical documentation of the qualifying condition of the member of their household who has an intellectual or developmental disability.

We hope this letter clarifies the eligibility of certain family members for the COVID-19 vaccine pursuant to Phase 1A of the State’s Plan, and thereby assists in protecting the health of Californians most at risk from COVID-19 impacts.




Please reach out to your NBRC Service Coordinator for more information. 

Additional Guidance on Payments for Nonresidential Services

This correspondence provides clarification to the Department of Developmental Services’ (Department) May 7, 2020, guidance regarding offsetting nonresidential service reimbursement during the State of Emergency declared due to COVID-19 with other received COVID-19 relief funds.

Please see complete notice here: Additional Guidance on Payments for Nonresidential Services During the State of Emergency 6-18-20

“No” to COVID-19 Discrimination against People with Disabilities – Joint Bulletin


The Governor sent a joint bulletin with the Department of Health Care Services, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Managed Health Care.

In the joint bulletin, the State assures,

“The State of California understands that people with disabilities are concerned that medical providers might consider an individual’s disability status when determining which patients to treat if hospitals or other health care facilities experience a surge of patients needing life-saving care. This joint bulletin reminds health care providers and payers that rationing care based on a person’s disability status is impermissible and unlawful under both federal and state law.”

We thank Governor Newsom and State health leaders for their quick action in protecting Californians with disabilities. You can read the full joint statement at http://www.dmhc.ca.gov/Portals/0/Docs/DO/JointBullletinMedicalTreatmentForCOVID19Accessible.pdf.



Directives from DDS Regarding COVID 19

Coronavirus Information and Resources

The state is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local governments, and health care providers across California to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus. State and county public health officials are continuously assessing the situation and will alert the community as the situation changes.

Please check the DDS website for current information

Directives to Regional Centers:

DDS Directive Requirement Waived Due COVID

DDS Directive Day Services COVID-19


Stakeholder Survey on Person-Centered Practices – due February 21st

Good Afternoon,


The Department of Developmental Services is partnering with Support Development Associates (SDA) to develop training on person-centered thinking and practices. Knowledge of the principles of person-centered practices and the ability to apply such principles is important for the successful implementation of the Self-Determination Program and meeting the HCBS settings requirements outlined in the January 2014 federal regulations. SDA is compiling information from California stakeholders to inform our understanding of the current state of person-centered practices in California. This information will be used to develop and facilitate trainings throughout the state in the coming months.


All service providers, individuals receiving services, and those who support them are encouraged to complete the Stakeholder Survey below by Friday, February 21st, 2020. The survey will take approximately 3 – 5 minutes and your input is greatly appreciated.


Stakeholder survey links:


Information regarding this survey and the links has been posted to the Department’s website at: https://www.dds.ca.gov/initiatives/cms-hcbs-regulations/stakeholder-survey-on-person-centered-practices/


Federal Programs Division

CA Department of Developmental Services

Assembly Select Committee on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Hearings video

Families and clients of several Regional Centers have shared wonderful stories of how the Regional Center has supported them and provcided recommendations for continued support.

Please take a peek at clips from the recent Assembly Select Committee on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Hearings