Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And a note on trust and reform

Here is something in the way of reform: Who do we trust?

If a reform requires regional center discretion, such as the frequent proposal to require maximum cost efficiency from a vendor or allowing negotiated payments, most of the community won't trust the reform because we don't as a rule trust regional centers.  We don't trust regional centers because as a rule, they aren't trustworthy.  They aren't trustworthy because, as a rule, when someone at a regional center does something unwise, whimsical or badly, nothing unpleasant will happen to them.  This tends to be true for individual service coordinators, executives, boards and middle managers.  The community but for ARCA won't support reforms that empower the regional center to do anything because we all know well that regional centers are too empowered already.

If a reform empowers vendored agencies, we won't support it either.  Take for instance, the example of proposals to have vendors rather than regional centers perform the service coordination function.  The community won't support that reform to empower private vendors because the community doesn't trust us and the community doesn't trust us because we have not been reliably trustworthy.  We are not reliably trustworthy because, in general, nothing bad ever happens to agencies for poor performance.  Nothing bad happens to agencies for poor performance because nothing bad happens to regional centers for poor performance.

There are a lot of reasons that self-determined services (SDS) make sense, but I suspect one reason SDS offers the only recent example of reform (stalled as it is) must be that it doesn't empower anyone who has any experience with power to be proven untrustworthy.  Not long hence, support brokers and financial management services must take their places as proxies for the politically untouchable clients as stereotypical reprobates.  Soon, we will not trust them because they will not have been trustworthy because nothing will happen to the bad ones because nothing bad will happen to the people meant to oversee them.

Reliable accountability remains the reform needed before any other can be expected to go forward. 


Anonymous said...

Nice to have you back, Doug. I would disagree that all the organizations you listed are, by definition and practice, untrustworthy. Instead, I suggest that each has competing interests and overlapping interests. I've met very few regional center staff or provider staff who are not committed and passionate about supporting and serving people with developmental disabilities. I also think that the competing interests among organizations is built into the very fabric of the Lanterman Act. I also think that there are recourses for people who are dissatisfied with any of the organizations. Unfortunately, people who share similar agendas often do not take advantage of their recourse avenues. Thus, we can all blame it on "the system".

Doug said...

Thanks, Anonymous. Don't be a stranger.

The point, I hope, is that people who fear making the wrong decision can be relied upon. Those who do not fear mistakes cannot. I'm not trying to criticize individuals or institutions but to recognize the total lack of accountability and to explain why nobody trusts anyone with reform.

Anonymous said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

Doug said...

Thanks, Hapi. Have a swell day.

stanley said...

Don't be a stranger [doug say]

believe doug’s blog has too much potential for any of us to be strangers to IT...doug is willing to lose all his friends (both of them) to speak the are a few others (eg, andy and paul)...

Hope great minds will contribute more...never know when an idea might catch on or someone may decide to lead the way to cross the bridge to selma...or

at least one other might be added to the list of those willing to lose all their friends for the sake of our children and friends with special;

the possibility of perhaps changing the system one person at a time is too great to remain silent... buttbut;

hope great minds will discuss issues not issjr...the too cute put downs of issjr must be very, very boring turn offs to most...

if there is an uncontrollable urge to make fun of an old man, do it off list or on DDRights...issjr has no problem with that...and will respond until it becomes too boring.

Sad the insistence on addressing issjr vice issues may have been partially resp for the now lack of any exchange of ideas on another list.

Moving on

Doug say: I'm not trying to criticize individuals or institutions

Well if there is to ever be accountability...the accountable individuals must be critiqued...other than maintain the unacceptable status quo, atta boys to go along havent done much good.


Doug said...

Thanks, Stanley. I don't know when you wrote your comment. I just realized comments no longer come through without my say so, and how to say so. Apologies to everyone with a comment that's been burbling.