New California Law Upholds Landmark Disability Services Law

October 9, 2013

California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1232 into law, enacting new provisions relating to disability rights.  The new law strengthens the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act of 1969, a landmark disabilities law that enforces the rights of the disabled and their families to have access to the same services and supports as people without disabilities have.

AB 1232, sponsored by Asm. V. Manuel Pérez, allows for an improved quality assessments system to better address and serve the needs of California’s multicultural society.

Under the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act:

  • The State Department of Developmental Services contracts with regional centers to provide services and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities. Existing law requires the department to implement a quality assessment system, as prescribed, to enable the department to assess the performance of the state’s developmental services system and to improve services for consumers.
  • The department is required, in consultation with stakeholders, to identify a valid and reliable quality assurance instrument that assesses consumer and family satisfaction, provision of services, and personal outcomes, and, among other things, includes outcome-based measures such as health, safety, and well-being.
  • The department is required to contract with an independent agency or organization that is, in part, experienced in designing valid quality assurance instruments, to implement the system.

The new law additionally requires the quality assurance instrument to assess the provision of services in a linguistically and culturally competent manner and include outcome-based measures to evaluate the linguistic and cultural competency of regional center services that are provided to consumers across their lifetimes.

The new law now requires the independent agency or organization the department contracts with to be experienced in issues relating to linguistic and cultural competency.