Individualized Program Plans Lawyers in Los Angeles

Your Child Is Entitled to a Comprehensive IPP

Under the Lanterman Act, every eligible individual with special needs that is receiving aide from a regional center is required to have an Individual Program Plan (IPP). The IPP is the central document for consumers, typically over the age of three, and includes information about the recipient’s needs, strengths, goals, objectives, and services that they are to receive. This document is considered by many to be the most important when it comes to what services children and families will receive from a local regional center, and minor details in the allotted services to recipients can make a massive difference in the lives of families with children who have developmental disabilities.

Need Help Setting up an IPP? Call the Woodsmall Law Group!

Here at Woodsmall Law Group, we know better then most how important an IPP is to children with special needs and their families. Our IPP attorneys are based in Pasadena and serve the San Gabriel Valley and eastern Los Angeles. We are intimately familiar with the workings of the local regional centers, and courtrooms as well. After you call us at (626) 440-0028, we can schedule a free initial sit-down to go over your child’s needs and develop a long-term plan, including assistance in the development of your child’s IPP. Once you have us on your side, we will advocate for your child every step of the way.

Do not wait any longer to reach out to us and see how we can aid you and your family.

Who Can Receive Regional Center Services and an IPP?

Services from regional centers are available to any person age three or older who has a developmental disability as described by the Lanterman Act. Under California state law, the Lanterman Act grants people with developmental disabilities the right to support and services which give them the ability to live a more independent and normal life.

According to the Lanterman Act a developmental disability is a condition that originates before the age of 18, continues, or can be expected to continue for the rest of an individual’s life.

These developmental disabilities include:

  • Down syndrome
  • Disabling conditions that are closely related to down syndrome
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Epilepsy
  • Autism

Substantial Disability Requirements

Under the Lanterman Act, a person must have a diagnosis or condition that fits a developmental disability category and be shown to have substantial disability to be eligible for regional center services.

Substantial disability must be proven by showing impairments in at least three of the following areas:

  • Self-care
  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Learning
  • Mobility
  • Self-direction
  • Capacity for independent living
  • Economic self-sufficiency

Requesting an IPP Meeting

Once you and your legal counsel have reviewed the regulations, publications, laws, and decisions regarding the services and supports you believe may be suitable for you and your family, you will be in a better position to draft your IPP meeting request letter to the regional center. Before scheduling a meeting with the regional center, you and your counsel should have developed an outline of needs and services that you feel you are entitled to under the Lanterman Act.

Keep in mind, it can be premature to ask the regional center to purchase or secure a service or support if the need for it has not been officially documented yet. In those instances, it is recommended that a request be made for the regional center to conduct a primary assessment to conclude if, and to what extent, services should be provided to meet the area of concern.

IPP Requirements

Any complete IPP must have certain components in order for it to be implemented and carried out.

An IPP must include:

  • a statement of goals and objectives
  • a schedule of the types and amount of services and supports needed
  • a schedule for review and evaluation of the IPP

Goals and Objectives

Goals laid out in an IPP are statements based on the needs laid out by you and your family. IPP objectives must be specific, have a time limit, be stated in measurable conditions, and be related to your child’s goals and needs. An objective is measurable when it is written in a way that will allow the team planning the IPP to determine if each service or support specified in the objective has been delivered appropriately.

The IPP should list all of the services and supports that are needed in order to reach the agreed upon goals, and they must all be clearly stated. These services and supports include what the family needs to maintain their family life and ensure that the child’s needs are being met within the home. If living at home is not in the best interest of the recipient of the IPP, then out-of-home placement alternatives may be discussed.

Purchase-of-Service Policy

A Purchase of Service (POS) policy is a regional center rule that explains the conditions for receiving a service and may set boundaries on the amount or frequency of the service. The Lanterman Act entitles every person with special needs to the supports required to live an independent and fruitful life in the community in which they reside. Due to this, the regional center cannot implement a general policy to prevent a recipient from getting services based on what that individual wants and needs. POS rules cannot block the purchase of a particular type of service (such as in-home nursing) or set strict limits on the amount or recurrence of that service. Every POS policy must have an exception for individual cases. If the consumer truly needs a service from the regional center, the POS policy is not allowed be used as a roadblock.

If your regional center tells you the service you and your family require is beyond what the they provide under its POS policies, you don’t have to simply accept their decision. Appeals are an option if you feel your child and family needs the service or support from the regional center despite the POS policy. You can also file a complaint to challenge the policy itself as placing an illegal bar or cap on desperately needed services.

If the Regional Center Refuses a Service in the IPP Due to Lack of Funding

Under federal law, regional centers have wide discretion to determine how to implement an IPP, but no discretion at all in determining whether to implement the plan itself. No matter what, the IPP must be implemented. Limited funding cannot be the basis for rejecting a service or support. As long as the regional center has any funds to purchase services, it must provide services and supports based on the recipient’s individual needs and preferences, as determined through the IPP process of approval. However, regional centers can consider cost in choosing among providers who deliver the same services of comparable quality.

Applying for and receiving IPP is a drawn out and complicated process that requires the help of an experienced special needs attorney. In order to ensure that your child receives every bit of assistance that they need to lead a successful independent life, the Woodsmall Law Group provides experienced and sophisticated legal representation. Contact our Pasadena legal team today to schedule a consultation free of charge and see how we can help you.