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Community Health

Advisory Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Weekly Message from the Executive Director

By the Numbers

For the second week in a row, we only reported two consumer cases of positive COVID-19 and we reported one DSP case. Unfortunately, our large population counties have still not been able to more past the red "Substantial" tier this week and our region has the lowest ICU availability in the state at only 19%. I know there always seems to some bad news mixed with some good news but these days it sure feels like more good for our region than bad. We still rank on top of regional centers for vaccinated consumers and over 70% of our seniors with disabilities have been vaccinated, that's one group that will reach the president's goal of 70% by July 4th. With a clinic coming this weekend and another in the near future for the younger consumers 12-15 years old we are well on our way.


The State Budget and Developmental Services (DDS Budget Page)

While you're reading this Health Advisory the Governor may have already announced his May Revision to the budget for 2021-2022 which makes changes to the budget he proposed last January. While most of the news regarding the May Revise will be overshadowed by the California Comeback Plan targeting homelessness, schools, small business relief, water infrastructure, and a major tax rebate, many in our community will be looking for the investments to development services. 


The legislators already met and proposed their own ideas or made changes to the governor's ideas. Some of the proposed budget items put forth in May from the legislators were to (1) add deaf services to regional centers including a service coordinator, (2) resources for forensic diversions, (3) funding for Community Navigators at Family Resource Centers, (4) moving the DDS headquarters, and (5) eliminating the planned 8% reduction in provider rates and the Uniform Holiday Scheduled furlough of provider services. The Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA) and the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) have been working together on an initiative to Strengthen Service Coordination by adding 921 additional service coordinators as a way to significantly reduced the large case load ratios experienced by every regional center statewide. Hopefully this investment in the consumer's service coordinators will be in this May Revision but if not remember it's not over until the end of June, giving everyone plenty of time to tell the policymakers why this is important to you.

Case Management Update

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ACE Presentation

The Children’s Services Coordinating Commission and the San Joaquin County Office of Education is holding a free virtual training scheduled for Thursday, May 20th from 9am-10:30 am.

The presentation will review Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to help determine challenging times; empower and inspire professionals to effectively serve in underserved communities, explore best practices for understanding and connecting with children and families in underserved communities, and provide strategies for promoting resilience in children and families.

Prior registration is required no later than May 19th.

Register for the workshop at:  



Self-Determination Program

Enrollment in Self Determination will soon be open to anyone eligible for regional center services. To prepare for this, we continue holding virtual Self Determination orientation meetings. These meetings are required to initiate enrollment. 


If you are interested, please let your VMRC Service Coordinator know and register for one of the following orientations being provided. Spanish translation will be available.


·        Saturday, May 15, 2021 from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM


·        Wednesday, May 19, 2021 from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM


·        Tuesday, June 29, 2021 from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining.

Please contact Angelique Shear at (209) 955-3294 or



Disability Services Support Center

The Disability Thrive Initiative is offering FREE one-on-one and group assistance through video or phone calls for those with challenges or questions about receiving or delivering alternative and remote services during the pandemic. 

Help is available to anyone in California's intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) community, including people with disabilities, their families/caregivers, the organizations who provide services to people with IDD, and their staff. Items they can help with include:

·        Working with your service provider to receive alternative services

·        Safe reengagement in group or in-person programs during pandemic

·        Concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine

·        Connecting to technology for accessing remote services

·        Self-determination for alternative services

·        Connecting to resources for accessing remote services

Call (916)238-8811 or visit:


Time Flies When You Have a Job That Makes you Smile

Nearly 25 years ago I started a job as a Client Program Coordinator, now known as a Service Coordinator at Valley Mountain Regional Center. The time has flown by. I have truly enjoyed working here and find it very bittersweet, however the time has come for me to retire. My last day at VMRC will be May 20.

Coming from a regional center in Missouri and having worked in the field while residing in Illinois, I thought I was prepared for what was ahead when I moved to California in 1996. Although there are similarities in processes, I soon learned that California is much more generous in their use of public funds and I was very impressed by the systems in place to provide services to the developmentally disabled population.

Walking into VMRC, I had a caseload of 139 consumers. There had been a hiring freeze just prior to my hire and once that was lifted, several of us were hired at the same time. A few of us remained here through the years and I’m still friends with those very same wonderful people. That first day was interesting. My predecessor had sent out letters informing the consumers on the caseload of my name and start date. So, on that day about half of those on the caseload showed up at the office to meet me. The overhead pager was busy that day and everyone got to know my name quickly because of that. The welcoming spirit was amazing. From that point on, I knew VMRC was the place for me!

I always loved meeting with the consumers and families, problem-solving any issues that may come up and ensuring that services were provided to help change or make their lives more satisfying. Even after becoming a manager, my best days were those when I met with consumers. After every meeting came the realization of why I loved this job, this population, and this agency.

It is rare to say that your job makes you smile, but VMRC and most everything that came along with it, did just that for me. An example I will never forget involved a consumer who, when she found out I like flavored coffee, would call me daily to find out what flavor I had that day. She did that for about two straight years. About twenty years passed by and I saw her at our Cultural Fair in Modesto. The very first thing she asked me was “have you had your coffee today and what flavor was it”? Priceless.

Through the years I’ve witnessed many changes and have seen many people come and go. Mainly all good memories, but some catastrophic tragedies that were difficult to overcome. Titles changed, policies revised, and budgets went up and then down again, several times. However, during it all I feel that our agency always worked hard and did its best to ensure consumers received the services they needed. VMRC is an amazing agency and I have every confidence that the mission will continue to be realized through combined efforts with consumers and families, vendors, and community partners. 

My greatest hope is that I was able to make a difference in people’s lives along the way. I will miss the work and all of the good people and experiences VMRC afforded me. Thank you to all staff who have worked so hard and done such an outstanding job. It was so rewarding to hire staff and see them blossom. I especially enjoyed promoting staff who flourished in their jobs. And, what an amazing group of Program Managers we have. It is because of these dedicated staff that the future will be very bright for the agency. 

One of my greatest honors was being called on to lead the case management staff. A special thank you to Paul Billodeau, our previous Executive Director who believed in me enough to put me in the position. And, to Tony Anderson, our current Executive Director who continued to support me through it all.

I hope to stay in touch and will be watching for all of the great things that the future holds for VMRC.

One of my favorite phrases comes to mind as I am leaving —“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”. 

Cindy Mix

Director of Consumer Services


Clinical Update

On Monday, the US Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine to be used in children 12-15 years old.[1] This happened a few days after Pfizer submitted an application to FDA for the FULL approval of their COVID-19 vaccine for 16 years old and older.[2] In California, as early as Wednesday, kids 12 years and older are allowed to get the vaccine.[3] This will definitely help our nation in reaching the heard immunity.

At VMRC, we will have another Drive-thru COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at the Stockton Office on May 25, 2021, from 9 am to 4 pm. This will give opportunity for our consumers, and families who have 12-15 year-old family members that needs to be vaccinated. Watch out for the Registration link in our website for this clinic.

Today, tomorrow and on Sunday, we are at our Stockton office giving the second dose of those individuals who got their vaccines last April at our Drive-thru Vaccine Clinic.

Yesterday, the CDC has released another update on the mask mandate.[4] The update from CDC stated:

· Update that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

· Update that fully vaccinated people can refrain from testing following a known exposure unless they are residents or employees of a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter.

There will still be state and local county public health office guidance that we are awaiting that might follow or differ from the CDC guidelines.

In California, the Governor announced that by June 15th, there will be a modification of the mask mandate, wherein only people attending “massively large settings” will be required to wear masks.[5] The California Department of Public Health has not yet commented on this.


[1] FDA. May 10, 2021.

[2] Pfizer. May 07, 2021.

[3] May 12, 2021.

[4] CDC. May 13, 2021.

[5] KCRA News. May 12, 2021.

Children's Case Management and Early Start Update


Our intake department has been incredibly busy. The referral outreach effort has been very successful. Although referral numbers still fluctuate from week to week, on the whole, the number of Early Start referrals in the entire agency have been higher in recent weeks. The Early Start referrals in San Joaquin County is nearly at the same level as prior to the shelter in place. In Stanislaus County the referral numbers for Early Start are climbing and getting closer to the referrals received pre-pandemic. In our San Andreas office, referral numbers are climbing as well and seem to be approaching pre shelter in place numbers. While most of our referrals are coming from doctors, we are having more parents refer their children. We have initiated an online referral for Early Start referrals. Online referrals can be made here: Referrals for individuals over age 3 have remained consistent in all offices throughout the year.


Early Start

For Calaveras County residents!

First 5 Calaveras has several programs for families. One program is the "free little libraries" this is to promote early literacy. You can also sign up to pick up "Daddy (& More)" kits which includes books and activities families can do together. If you are caring for a child or have a child under the age of 5 you can sign up to receive the "Busy Kids Kits"; these kits also include books and activities you can do together. For more information follow this link

Early Start Webinar Series

  • Early Intervention “Post COVID”: Navigating Blended Service Delivery and Maintaining Mental Wellness

Tuesday May 25, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. For more information and to register for these events please go to: CPEI Online


While many schools have returned to in person instruction, many students are still participating virtually or gearing up for summer break. Autism Speaks provides an amble amount of virtual activities to help keep children and teens engaged and busy at . These resources range from learning activities (123 Homeschooling, BrainPop, Amazing Educational Resources) arts and crafts (Khan Academy, Yaymaker Paint Night, Elise Gravel), games ( Nick Jr, PBS Kids Splash Learn), reading links, sports link, outdoor activities, and so many more online resources! 

Tara Sisemore-Hester

Director of Consumer Services-Children

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Community Services Department Update

Weekly Residential Informational Zoom Session hosted by VMRC’s Community Services Department EVERY FRIDAY at 9:00 a.m.

Meeting ID: 921 3684 6701

Day Program Providers please submit your CCL approved COVID Mitigation Plan or Community Based Day Program COVID Mitigation Plan to your Community Services Liaison (CSL) or Robert Fernandez at This is required to begin having ID Team Meetings in preparation for Day Program re-opening.

VMRC hosted the third session of Emergency Disaster Preparedness this week. We never know when a disaster will occur. Make a Plan, Build a Kit, Be Informed!

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HCBS for Residential Providers

Training for Residential Service Providers

If you provide residential services under the 096, 113, 904, 905, 910, 915, or 920 service codes your care home must be HCBS compliant by March 17th, 2023. Are you prepared? Do you have questions about HCBS and how to implement it for the population you serve? Join VMRC for an informational session on the HCBS regulations, how they impact your services and improve the lives of people with disabilities.

April 27th, 2021, 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Meeting ID: 986 2748 2546 Passcode: 602460

May 17th, 2021, 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Meeting ID: 967 2860 2042 Passcode: 336748

May 20th, 2021, 3:00pm – 4:00pm Canceled

June 8th, 2021, 9:00am – 10:00am

Meeting ID: 948 6640 4335 Passcode: 536049

June 10th, 2021, 9:00am – 10:00am

Meeting ID: 983 4583 1170 Passcode: 140950

For questions, please contact: Anna Sims, Sr. Comm. Serv. Liaison, HCBS (209) 955-3353

Click Here to See this Flyer in PDF

Brian L. Bennett

Director Of Community Services

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North Valley Hills Update

Dena Hernandez, Regional Manager (209) 473-6930

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A Different Year, A Different CHOICES


May 14, 2021


Celebrating the Life of Wilma Murray

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Project DATA


Family Resource Network (FRN) continues to assist consumers and families with Project DATA registration to provide devices and internet services to those in need. Please see the flyer for more information or contact the FRN office for assistance at 209-472-3674. 

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Project Data Flyer in PDF Here

Lisa Culley

Executive Director

Family Resource Network

Self-Advocacy Council 6 (SAC6)


There will NOT be a Friday CHAT this week as we are attending the CHOICES Conference


Let’s Check In with each other!

WHEN: Friday May 21, 2021

TIME: 11:00 AM -12:15 PM

WHERE: ZOOM - computer, tablet, cell phone


Join Zoom Meeting

Join SAC6 for a discussion with VMRC about Inclusion of All – where everyone belongs!

Let’s hear what VMRC has been working

on from

Gabriela Lopez– VMRC Cultural Specialist

Tony Anderson– VMRC Executive Director

Meeting ID: 827 6041 0788


Passcode: 750337 (MUST ENTER PASSCODE) OR you can call in:

TOLL FREE NUMBER TO CALL IN 877 853 5257 US Toll-free

PDF Version of the SAC6 Flyer Here

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May is National Drowning Prevention Month

Drowning is not like what you see in movies; there are no warnings or splashing sounds. Drowning is a leading cause of injury-related deaths for children under 5 in CA. Supervision of kids around ALL water is critical!

Click Here to Read More About Drowning Prevention

Five County Data Update

as of May 13, 2021


San Joaquin County

·    7.2 new cases per 100,000 people and 2.8% positivity rate (Substantial/Red....2nd Most Restrictive)


Stanislaus County

·    10.3 new cases per 100,000 people and 4.1% positivity rate (Substantial/Red....2nd Most Restrictive)


Tuolumne County

·    1.9 new cases per 100,000 people and 1.3% positivity rate (Moderate/Orange....2nd Least Restrictive)


Calaveras County

·    8.4 new cases per 100,000 people and 4.2% positivity rate (Moderate/Orange....2nd Least Restrictive)


Amador County

·    1.1 new cases per 100,000 people and 0.8% positivity rate (Substantial/Red....2nd Most Restrictive)


State of California

·    3.7 new cases per 100,000 people and 1.2% positivity rate



Valley Mountain Regional Center

·    735 positive consumer cases and 27 deaths

·    34 positive VMRC staff cases

·    4 positive volunteer cases

·    295 positive provider cases and 1 death

Local County, State and National Public Health Resources

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