Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Two bills.

There are two bills we are supposed to be talking about, AB 2424 (Beall) and AB 1192 (Evans.)  Both seem simultaneously well-intended and not helpful but I'm open to having explained to me why the bills are either diabolical or useful.

To summarize briefly, AB 2424 is a wide-ranging 30+ page concoction meant to implement for especially transition-age children with developmental disabilities some of the recommendations of the SB 1270 hearings. Long legislation makes my head swim a little and I definitely need a second or seventh reading but one thing jumps out at me immediately: The law puts a lot of mandates on regional centers to, for instance, do timely IPPs and to have a bias towards work in an integrated setting. We've discussed before here whether or not that bias is appropriate but what is troubling me is that there are already IPP-related mandates that are complied with, if not never, within the statistical margin of error of never. Fair Hearing rights would be one example.  

Until there is some evidence that the legislature controls the executive branch and DDS can and does require compliance with regulations from regional centers, any legislative input into the IPP process seems either pointless or cruel.  To put in the funding contract language requiring compliance is entirely pointless without monitoring and enforcement, which is why no DDS client has ever (with a confidence interval of p=95%) heard of their fair hearing rights unless they were themselves intrepid researchers or were assisted by a wise parent or craven vendor.

AB 1192, which I have also heard referred to as AB 1983 (maybe a pet name) is similarly clearly well-meant and otherwise baffling.  This bill will require establishment of an abuse registry, require that service providers consult said registry and forbid service providers from hiring people listed.  Like the pursuit of integrated employment opportunities, the rationale is unassailable.  I imagine every other ED, like me, loses more sleep over the prospect of employing an abuser than over funding which is otherwise everything we love.  What I can't figure out is the value of the registry.  It seems to me that if a person has been convicted of a crime including abuse, that conviction should appear on the criminal background check we are already required to do.  If a person has not been convicted of a crime, it seems abusive and, perhaps, unconstitutional to prevent that person from working on the basis of a crime they have not been tried for and found guilty.

So, I guess there are two points we can discuss here.  The first is: What don't I get about these bills?  Is there a reason to support them other than their intent?  The second is whether it is harmless to pass harmless legislation or whether such legislation causes damage as a distraction from important advocacy that otherwise might be done.  

Brer Stanley, I know you have in the past expressed enthusiasm for 2424.  Educate me, please.

13 comments:

Stephanie said...

I am awake from my nap, but ready to take another nap, so will be brief. I do not think there is any such thing as harmless legislation. and i agree with your assessment that putting additional mandates on regional centers, without resources, is cruel.

P.O.S.E.R. Inc. said...

"but what is troubling me is that there are already IPP-related mandates that are complied with, if not never, within the statistical margin of error of never."

Doug,

Your comment seems based on a presumed premise that I do not think that we can so safely presume:

That the purpose of introducing and/or even passing legislation is primarily for the purpose of improving the system that provides services to people with disabilities

There is almost 4 BILLION dollars in play, and that 4 billion dollars provides for more than the needs of people with disabilities.

It also creates livelihoods for our "advocates" and advodivas.

Can we so safely presume that the entire process of introducing legislation, arguing its points, and organizing rallies and campaigns does not serve some other purpose than making the system more efficient, better, or more accountable?

P.O.S.E.R. Inc. said...

"...putting additional mandates on regional centers, without resources, is cruel.

Stephanie,

How can additional mandates be cruel when apparently, as Doug has pointed out, the Regional Centers apparently feel no obligation or pressure to follow existing mandates?

Doug said...

Stephanie, enjoy your nap. I agree about harmless legislation. Well-intended, ineffective law has real cost in dollars and whatever the dollars were supposed to buy. That's why my instinct is to be grateful to Evans and Beall for thinking of us and pretty negative about their bills.

P.O.S.E.R., I don't presume that the primary purpose of passing legislation is to improve process but to inspire alliteration. Your point about the resources for work that won't be done is a good one. I think at the least, the budget should be prioritized between work that will be done badly and that which will be routinely ignored.

stanley said...

[Stephanie say] additional mandates on regional centers, without resources, is cruel.

What’s cruel are the tricks (promises/laws broken) we play on those with special needs...there are no additional mandates...they exist NOW in spades.

Lanterman mandates 1) needs shall be determined; 2) programs found to meet needs; and 3) programs funded...vice obeying the law we game the system...vice fulfilling the Lanterman dream we provide Potemkin Villages nightmares...in effective, say to those with special needs...ah ha...we fooled you...we really don’t intent to meet your needs...we were just kidding.

[doug say] Brer Stanley, I know you have in the past expressed enthusiasm for 2424. Educate me, please.

You are already, as do most, know the facts...ie;

[doug say] The law puts a lot of mandates on regional centers [...] but what is troubling me is that there are already IPP-related mandates that are complied with, if not never, within the statistical margin of error of never. Fair Hearing rights would be one example.

and

[doug say] To put in the funding contract language requiring compliance is entirely pointless without monitoring and enforcement, which is why no DDS client has ever (with a confidence interval of p=95%) heard of their fair hearing rights unless they were themselves intrepid researchers or were assisted by a wise parent or craven vendor

so, i cant educate just opine...some AB 2424 disjointed rants/opines posted on a yahoo group follows

AB2424 just may be the means to restart Lanterman and make it work as intended...make the dream a reality...remind us of the law with hope we will follow it this time...

AB 2424 will update the Lanterman Act to ensure more effective individual and family participation in the IPP process and to promote integrated employment and other integrated community activities.

Layman summary of AB 2424

AB 2424 basically says to DDS/CDE obey the EXISTING law.

Under EXISTING LAW, special education services are determined by an IEP team documented in an IEP... Under EXISTING LAW special needs (including education services)are determined by the planning team (the people at the IPP meeting) and documented in an IPP...

AB2424 says there will be an additional function (team whatever) to determine transitional services.

It says, correctly, there are certain services provided by school districts and other services and supports provided or purchased by private nonprofit regional centers that contract with the State Department of Developmental Services.

Not stated in AB2424: EXISTING LAW requires DDS/RCs to provide any/all IPP needs not provided by others AND requires DDS to enforce EXISTING LAW, Lanterman.

AB 2424 also addresses other areas of IPP needs...basically requires commission reviews of existing law requirements to ensure enforcement...

EXISTING law, Lanterman/IDEA, does provide for transitional services...as these services are a painfully obvious need...and should have been/should be included in current IPP/IEPs...ie, Lanterman say a planning team (the people at the IPP meeting) determines the needs.

AB 2424 basically say OBEY the LAW...it also reinforces necessity for enforcement; and suggest means and funding plans to ensure enforcement...

so tho;

the need for a bill that says enforce the law is questionable...the answer is:

There evidently is no question...THERE IS A NEED...as the law has not been enforced for decades and has resulted in an illusion vice reality of a model system some advocates believe exist.

Corrections to and clarification of layman interpretation welcome.

COMMENT
jeeze, do administrators (eg, DDS and CDE directors) need a bill to tell them how to do the painfully obvious...in this case provide cradle to grave programs for those with special needs. Transition services...AKA continuation of existing services...is a painfully obvious need.

is there really a need for more regs...seems the debates over additional bills/regs is just a smoke screen to hide the lack of enforcement of EXISTING LAW and funding of programs...andAND;

THE EXISTING LAW, IDEA and Lanterman, provides all the administrative authority needed to ensure FAPE and services agreed to in an IEP/IPP...just enforce THE EXISTING LAW. repeating, they have the basic law/regs: IDEA and Lanterman to enable administrative action...just enforce IDEA/Lanterman

That a bill/law is needed to tell DDS/CDE to provide transitional services is ludicrous...reminds of a line from movie, A Few Good Men: where is the manual to tell you where the mess hall is (or something like that)

There is a DDS/CDE funding issues...NOT a needs issue
there are certain services provided by school districts and others provided or purchased by regional centers...special needs children/adults should not be denied services while DDS/CDE feuds over who purchases needs.

And to add to the tangled web funding has created...stay put and transitional service regs have been/are added.

AB2424 bill points out another painfully obvious need: cradle to grave combined IEP/IPP/ team to determine needs/programs for those with special needs.

stanley seigler

Anonymous said...

Dear Like-Minded responders of Doug's Blog: Ok, here are my mindless thoughts
1) Doug -- the system works what percentage of the time - `10 - 20 30??? I assume it does work well - why does it work well for whom and under what circumstances. i assume it works well when their are partnerships between all key stakeholders
2) when doesn't it work well 90% of the time- why - that is a rhetorical question- we all know the thousand of reasons why it doesn't work
3) how can we make it work- my friend stanley would force people to live up to the law- i agree with stan that public flogging for any act that betrays the ipp should be televised, but..... we already have big brother and wrestling
4) i have said this time and time again -- the system doesn't want to do the right thing because of lots of reasons- such as most human service people don't like disabled people; they are incompetent; they don't know what to do therefore they pass more laws such as 2424 -- no reason to do this if there was leadership, person-centeredness-etc.
5) the regional centers could do more with the same money, but that would mean they really want to do it, can do it, could think of doing it, could live with doing it wrong,etc. again---lack of leadership at all levels including the consumer and family
6) as i shared with doug, most abusers would never get on the registry-- they fly under the radar scope ---- the registry is a lovely idea in the perfect world, it would not reduce abuse at all -- it would only make abusers more thoughtful in how they abuse and where and what it would take to abuse\

ariel said...

Doug, I appreciate your refined using of colours.

Doug said...

Stanley, you say "AB 2424 basically says to DDS/CDE obey the EXISTING law." Reread that sentence and you'll understand my skepticism, I think. The This Time We Mean It, Pretty Please Act of 2008.

Jeff, I actually think you're overthinking the registry. I'm not worried that people will change their behavior to undermine it, I'm worried that there is no need to change behavior to undermine it. California provides criminal penalties for abuse, we are required to do criminal background checks. As far as I can tell, the registry affects no one, other than adding an item to the Human Resource checklist.

Ariel, thank you. It's always helpful to have a Hungarian perspective on California policy. I figure: great writers paint with words, so how impressive must I be to paint the words themselves?

stanley said...

[doug say] AB 2424 basically says to DDS/CDE obey the EXISTING law. Reread that sentence and youll understand my skepticism, I think. The This Time We Mean It, Pretty Please Act of 2008.

Based on the past decades, how could you be anything but skeptical...and cynical...but the alternate to a meaningful (more cynicism appropriate) discussion w/ a MEANIT ACT...is the status quo or televised public floggings for NOT obeying the law...or what?

As with AB 896 (2001) and AB 1427 (2007) the CONs may prevail...but where is their alternate...guess its the status quo...its 6 yrs since defeat of AB 896 and still no plan for a real DSP workforce...in the meantime there are, eg, more Broken Homes and cell phone documentation of abuse...and who knows how many cover ups.

[doug say] Jeff, I actually think you're overthinking the registry

jeff overthinking...jeff not thinking...sorry couldnt resist...pls no more straight lines...know jeff is very thoughtful.

BTW re blog colors...I like international orange w/ pink contrast (probably explains the rants)

stanley seigler

ariel said...

Doug, when somebody talks to people, it is the most important to make his words interesting to both those can read and those cannot. Impressive work indeed.

Will H. said...

I hope you can join us on Change.org in our community: "Support People with Disabilities"

http://www.change.org/changes/view/2154

Thanks,
Will H.

paul said...

Doug,

Forgive me for being obtuse or not covering what has already been said.

I have no doubt that you, as well as the rest of us, have a picture in our heads of what we see as the ideal service system for people with disabilities.

If I am correct then I would guess that your ideal includes assessing quality and doling out accountability based on that assessment.

I appologize if I have over reduced your issue, or missed it altogether. However, I am uncertain if I need to be correct in this regard in order to ask the following question.

If we call where we are today (A), and where you want to go (B) then what will it take to move from point (A) to point (B)?

Legislation? Regulations? A Judge, Jury…maybe an executioner? Putting someone’s head in a vice?

Doug said...

Stanley, public floggings I think is the right direction to move in. I think we have seen what a well-considered system without enforcement looks like. I say disgrace some SCs, skin some vendors and mock some parents and you'll find a more responsive system, generally.

Anonymous, your first point is crucial. I remember a quote, I don't remember who was quoted, saying "I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, I just don't know which half." Let's say that 20% of the time the system works right and 90% of the time people are trying their best, two assumptions I consider fair. If we knew which 20% was working, the other 70% get a model to emulate.

Ariel, exactly. Why, you're practically named for a font.

Will, thank you. I joined. We'll see if I'm gratified for having done so.

Paul, that's a fine question considering the skepticism. My sense of why the system fails so often to produce optimum results contains two key points. One is the monopolization of information and the other is the weakness of the information so monopolized. This system was wisely put together to harness the power of the marketplace but there's no likelihood for a market to function efficiently when:

A) The end user is not privy to information concerning quality and efficacy.
B) The buyer is not the end user.
C) No one is held to account for failure, nor prospered for success.

The reason I think public quality measurement and enforcement are the critical needs of the system is that it isn't fair to expect service coordinators to know what no one knows, be shrewd with the information and keep 66 people informed comprehensively. When anyone can determine that a particular client's best chance for value is available through a certain collection of models and/or providers, that certain POS policies produce the best results and that counter-productive behavior has a cost to the indulgent I think the system can be generally effective in helping people.

Otherwise we just debate ideologically and everyone's suspicions of their neighbor have equal merit.