Since the mid 1990s, states have been experimenting with Self-Determination, Self-Directed Services, and other forms of consumer direction for people with developmental disabilities. In these options, the person with a disability gains control over their service budget, and they make decisions (with supporters that they choose) over what services they purchase to meet their needs. It’s been tough getting there in California. Twelve years ago the state started a self-determination pilot project, and today it still has only 140 participants statewide, out of over 100,000 adults with I/DD.
SEIU has been a leading voice in California to make self-direction available to all people with I/DD in California. In 2005 we partnered with Disability Rights California to pass legislation to expand self-direction statewide. After that got stuck in bureaucracy, California started looking at a scaled-back version called Individual Choice Budget (ICB). SEIU is continuing to advocate for an expanded program with maximum flexibility for families and people with disabilities to control their services and their lives.
SEIU members believe consumer control is in the best interest of both the individuals and the workers who provide supports. We will continue to stand up to those who oppose change because they benefit from the status quo, such as the providers of the current service mix who have always found reasons to oppose consumer control. We will continue to push for services that allow people to make their own decisions about how to live their lives.