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Community Health

Advisory Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Weekly Message from the Executive Director

By the Numbers

This week we had four consumers and one provider testing positive for COVID-19. For over a month now we have been able to report no hospitalizations, but this week one of our consumers was hospitalized. This consumer lives at home with family and the family reports that the consumer has reportedly started feeling better as of Thursday. It is always very stressful to endure hospitalizations during the pandemic, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. 

This week on "Tier Tuesday" we learned that San Joaquin County, our largest county, moved from the red "substantial" tier to the orange "moderate" tier. As of this week, Stanislaus county is our only county in the red "substantial" tier. Our day programs are continuing to move forward with community care licensing to get their mitigation plans approved so that they can reopen. Other programs not licensed are also submitting reports to Community Services to let VMRC know what they are doing to keep our consumers safe during the reopening.


Unprecedented Times (Budget Presentation of the May Revise and Legislative Proposals)

I have periodically reported on the governor's budget for people with developmental disabilities, and as of right now we are in the final stages of the decision-making process. Without getting too lost in the government lingo it is important to realize the proposals being considered for developmental services are historic and make major changes to restore so many reductions made during the great recession, and aim to address new systemic problems that have developed since then.

The two largest issues being considered right now are the approaches to reduce the large case load ratios in the regional centers and the historic underfunding of the direct service system for people with developmental disabilities. While the governor's May Revision proposes to address the caseload crisis in the regional centers (VMRC caseload ratio is 1:82 and should be 1:62 - roughly) in future years, the legislature has taken action to approve a proposal to fully fund over 900 service coordinators statewide starting in July 2021. The governor has proposed a series of measures to avoid anticipated budget reductions (removes an expected 8% reduction, and furlough days) and puts in place funding enhancements for providers related to recruitment, professional development, and bilingual capabilities.

The legislature has proposed one of the largest commitments of state funds ever seen through the full funding of the "Rate Study" recommendations as outlined by the Burns and Associates study. As with every budget year the final decision is usually somewhere in between. Thank you to all of the advocates who expressed their opinions in support of developmental services to the legislature, but now the only one left is the Governor who will be making his decision soon. Your opinion matters and the governor would always welcome citizen comments on important policy matters such as this. Please call his office at 916-445-2841 to let him know why you feel that fully funding service providers and reducing caseloads is important to you.

Tony Anderson

Executive Director

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Case Management Update - Children

Education Resources

With summer break quickly approaching, parents and students may feel like they could benefit from some additional support outside of the classroom. The CDE has an abundance of summer reading and math resources, like Find a Book, which gives access to over 160,000 books and Summer Math Challenge which is a free six week emailed based math skill program starting 6/21 (registration required). These resources and more can be found at

Additionally, the CDE provides resources that address student’s mental health and wellness while school sites are closed. Resources include Teen & Youth Help Hotline, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, The Trevor Project, and more. These resources can be found at



Early Start

Important information about transition from Early Start to Education services at age three! Howard Doi, District Manager for San Andreas Regional Center Early Start Program, and Michelle Oliver, Part C Consultant and Early Start Specialist at the Santa Clara County Office of Education, provide information on the Regional Center, and transition at age 3. Learn about the process of “transition” from an IFSP to an IPP, and from an IFSP to an IEP. Find out what you can expect as you plan for services. Find out what qualifies your child for services, and about what services the Educational system, the Regional Center, and other community services may be able to provide for you and your family. Check out this important video message here:

From the Blog: Hands & Voices: 8 Reasons to Say Yes to Early Intervention 

Hands & Voices and the Family Leadership in Language & Learning Center (FL3) have produced an infographic that details reasons why the parents of children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing should say yes to Early Intervention. To see the infographic and read the blog post, click here

Important information regarding drowning resources!

This website contains great videos to share with families, and also the drowning is silent handout available in multiple languages.


Do you need assistance with internet connection?

-to participate in tele-med appointments?

-to assist with virtual Early Start Services?

-to participate in your virtual day program?

PROJECT DATA (Digital and Technology Assistance)

Family Resource Network (FRN) has created Project DATA* to provide internet connection and equipment lending opportunities for individuals and families who are in need and meet eligibility guidelines.

Eligibility considerations:

You do not currently have internet or an appropriate device to connect to the internet, you or your child/immediate family member is a consumer of VMRC, and you meet income guidelines.

Application is available at this link:

Please contact FRN at 209-472-3674 for more information, for assistance with the application, or if you have any questions.


The California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) revealed proposed changes to the Self-Determination program last week

In the next few weeks, the State Council on Developmental Disabilities will be releasing its report on how to make the Self-Determination program successful. These proposals are a starting point for discussions with the Department, the Legislature and the Governor about how to improve the program in this year’s state budget. 


Here is what you should know:

July 1, 2021, the Self-Determination program will be available to all eligible individuals on a voluntary basis with no limit on the number of participants. 


To be eligible for the program, you or your family member must:


1. Have a developmental disability and currently be receiving services from a California regional center, or be a new client of a regional center; and


2. Be over the age of three or, if under, be qualified for services through the Lanterman Act; and


3. Live in the community.

The next Self Determination training will be held on June 29th from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Register here.  


Save the date for the following trainings, Registration links coming soon!


June 17th from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

August 9th from 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

September 30th from 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM


Tara Sisemore-Hester

Director of Consumer Services- Children

Case Management Update - Adults

Services and Supports

Service Coordinators continue to connect with the people they serve and their families to amend IPPs and confirm needed services and supports. Please be patient as we strive to meet with each of you over the next 30-60 days.



Food Insecurities

Endless possibilities exist by working together. Food banks exist in all 5 counties. If you are in need of food, please reach out to your service coordinator for a resource list. Or call Second Harvest of the Greater Valley at 209-239-2091. 


In-Person Visits Resume


The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is directing regional centers to resume conducting at least quarterly face-to-face monitoring visits for consumers living in licensed residential facilities to make sure they are healthy and safe. This will also include all Family Home Agency (FHA) settings, as well as Supported Living (SLS)/Independent Living arrangements (ILS).


Now that many people are vaccinated and not as many people are getting sick from COVID-19, we have restarted in-person visits for individuals living outside of their family home. Regional center staff will follow COVID19 safety guidelines when visiting.


Social Security and SSI Benefits Training Opportunity

June 10, 2021 06:30 PM to 07:30 PM


Social Security and SSI benefits for a “disabled adult child” change when a parent retires, dies, or becomes disabled themselves.


Are you:

Close to retirement? Divorced or widowed?

If your child receives SSI, a federal benefit program, and you are retiring, everything changes!

Also, hidden benefits like “Child in Care” may be available to widowed parents or when a spouse or ex-spouse is retired. And, did I mention Medicare for our adult children?


Join Parents Helping Parents in a conversation with Daniel E. Fortuño, from BEC, who will help us understand the impact of our own retirement, death, or disability. Social Security benefits kick in for our sons or daughters on SSI. Daniel will share the good news on how to maintain those benefits to preserve services reliant on Medi-Cal / Medicaid benefits eligibility.


Social Security is a Federal benefit, so this applies to people across the country. Spread the word, this is a topic that will apply to many parents with special needs children of any age.


Daniel is an expert in public benefits, don’t miss this information-packed hour! Come, learn, and plan! Use this link to register or check out the website!

Christine Couch (she, her, hers)

Director of Consumer Services - Adults

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Clinical Update

Community Partnership Works!

Today, we are having another vaccine clinic at the Modesto office and the second dose will be on June 25th. All the vaccine clinics are made possible because of the tireless efforts of our volunteers who show up on each of these vaccine clinics.

Enormous “THANKS!!!” to our volunteers: VMRC staff, Board of Directors, and community partners: DRAIL, B.E.S.T., SCDD North Valley Hills Office, FRN, SAC6, DRC, UCP, ICC, CLASP, Therapeutic Pathways, Gamaliel of California and Fuerzas Unidas, who helped make it possible. As always, VMRC is grateful to Safeway Pharmacy (Albertson’s Companies) and their staff who served as our vaccine provider and partnered with us during the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics at our VMRC Offices!

Other regional centers are doing vaccine clinics as well. Here is another sensory friendly vaccine clinic in the bay area, shared by one of our vendors:

SANDIS COVID-19 Tracking Data:

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The Advocacy Council for Abused Deaf Children (ACADC) has an upcoming FREE training titled "Deaf Child Abuse Prevention & Identification in a Virtual Setting" which will be held via zoom on June 22nd from 3-4:30pm Pacific Time.

“Los Angeles County Child Abuse Prevention Councils: Advocacy Council For Abused Deaf Children is proud to present: Deaf Child Abuse Prevention & Identification in a Virtual Setting

Host: Amanda G. Somdal LCSW, LICSW

American Sign Language (ASL) with English voice interpreting will be provided!

Since COVID-19 Pandemic started in March 2020 – reports for child abuse have dropped to an all-time low and mental health providers have struggled with how to be vigilant for signs of abuse when they don’t see their deaf clients in person. Participants will become aware of different signs and clues to alert them of possible child abuse with their deaf clients. Awareness of how to provide accessible resources and support will be discussed.”

Free Registration:

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Those who know agencies that might be interested in a grant on Projects of National Significance that will help individuals with developmental disabilities, please feel free to look at the link below on Empowering Youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to Manage their Healthcare Transitions:


Claire B. Lazaro, MSN, RN, NP, PHN, FNP-C

Director of Clinical Services

Please continue to stay safe and healthy.

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Tips for Caregivers for Vaccination Day

Age 12+ Consumers- VMRC In Office Vaccination Clinic - Modesto

What to Expect at the VMRC Vaccination Clinic:

·        Upon arrival you will be asked to check-in and if those getting the vaccine have pre-registered. Please make sure to pre-register using the link below:

·        You will be asked to provide the first and last name of those who will be getting the vaccine, identification, proof of age, and possibly insurance or Medi-Cal information.

·        If you have not completed a consent form you will be asked to complete the form before being directed to the next station. Not having the consent form can increase your wait time.

·        You will be provided with a CDC Vaccination Card, for the first dose. For the second, dose, you will be asked to show the CDC Vaccination Card. This will be given back to you for your records.

·        Once check-in is complete, including providing/completing the consent form, you will wait for an available Pharmacist to administer the vaccine. The wait may take 5-10 minutes depending on your appointment time. 

·        When it is your turn, a Pharmacist will take your vaccination consent form and CDC Vaccination Card.

·        The Pharmacist will retain your vaccination consent form and give back the CDC Vaccination Card for your records.

·        If there are multiple individuals in your party getting the vaccine, you will be asked who wants to be first.

·        If there are multiple consumers getting the vaccine, we ask that you identify any consumer that has had history of behavioral issues during medical procedures, or may be less receptive to vaccine administration, so the vaccine can be administered to them first.

o  Note: It may be beneficial to schedule separate appointments for these consumers with a reduced number of individuals in the party.

·        The Pharmacist will have the consumer sit on a chair. They will have the vaccination needle, bandage, and cotton swab with alcohol for sterilizing the injection site. 

·        The Pharmacist will ask in which arm the consumer would like the vaccine and ask them to roll their sleeve up, if necessary.

·        The Pharmacist will sterilize the area with the swab, place a bandage, and administer the vaccine.

·        Once the vaccine is administered, you will be directed to sit in the waiting area and asked to wait 15 minutes to confirm there are no adverse reactions to the vaccine.

o  Note: The Pharmacist may ask you to wait up to 30 minutes, depending on medical history.

·        For First Dose administration a VMRC Staff or Community Volunteer will assist you with scheduling your second dose during the waiting period.

How to prepare for Vaccination Day:

·        Preregister for the vaccine clinic and complete a vaccination consent form

·        Plan to have the consumer dressed in clothing that makes vaccine administration quicker and easier.

o  Examples: Tank top where sleeve doesn’t have to be rolled up or t-shirt that can be quickly rolled up prior to administration.

o  Note: Sweaters, zip up hoodies, and long sleeves make administration more difficult and could lengthen the process.

·        If the consumer benefits from social stories, please create and use a social story the days leading up to Vaccination Day.

·        Bring preferred items to the vaccine clinic to aide in distracting/redirecting attention away from needle during vaccine administration.

o  Examples: Favorite videos/movies on tablet device, headphones, toys, or manipulative items that can be held in hands (ex: play-doh, fidget spinners, sticker books), favorite snack or treat that can be opened and consumed during vaccine administration.

·        Bring activities to occupy time during waiting periods.

·        If the consumer is known to have issues with compliance during medical appointments, or you suspect potential non-compliance during administration, it will be beneficial to have an additional family member or familiar individual present to assist with prompting and redirecting.

·        If the consumer can tolerate outings of longer durations, plan a preferred destination for after successful vaccine administration.

o  Examples: Favorite drive-thru restaurant, ice cream parlor, park, store, etc.


Vaccination Day Considerations:

·        Have completed vaccination consent form with you and easily accessible (THIS WILL REDUCE YOUR WAIT TIME ONCE YOU ARRIVE TO THE VACCINE CLINIC).

·        Have consumer’s preferred items loaded in vehicle prior to leaving for appointment.

·        Have activities available to engage with during wait times while at the clinic.

·        Have all necessary documents easily accessible upon arrival (e.g., Identification Cards, Insurance Cards, Social Security Numbers, completed vaccination consent form, CDC Vaccination Card if second dose).

·        If you are planning a special/preferred outing after successful vaccine administration, and the consumer can tolerate delays, let them know where you will be going after the vaccine clinic.

·        Have consumer dressed in tank top or t-shirt. If wearing a sweater or long sleeve, have consumer’s shoulder easily accessible prior to check-in.

·        If possible, have a preferred family member, staff, or other preferred individuals present to assist with redirecting the consumer.

·        Have preferred items/activities easily accessible to use as a distraction during vaccine administration.

o  As the Pharmacist approaches to administer the vaccine, prompt, and direct attention away from the needle and toward the preferred item or activity.

·        Provide verbal praise, attention, and reassurance before, during, and after the vaccination process.

¨     Reminder: VMRC Staff, Community Volunteers, and Pharmacists administering the vaccine cannot physically redirect, physically prompt, or physically restrain the consumer during the vaccine administration. VMRC Staff, Community Volunteers, and Pharmacists can distract and redirect attention from the needle during that time, but any physical touch or guidance must be provided by family member and/or familiar individual who arrived with the consumer.

¨     If you have additional concerns that the consumer you are bringing to the Vaccination Clinic may engage in problem behavior during vaccine administration, or you need further guidance on how to prepare for Vaccination Day at the VMRC Vaccination Clinic, please contact VMRC Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Liz Herrera Knapp, at (209) 955-3652.

Additional Resources to Prepare for Vaccination Day:

Liz Herrera Knapp, M.A.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

Community Services Update

Congratulations to the following providers who were granted VMRC’s Community Resource Development Plan (CDRP). The project type is to develop a Specialized Children’s Residential Group Home to serve Male and/or Female children ages 12-17. One home will be developed in San Joaquin County and the other will be in Stanislaus County:

Kavere Services – Licensee: Richard Herrera

H&Q – Licensees: Umer Qureshi and Stella and Carlos Hernandez


VMRC’s Resource Development recently added a new Community Resource Development Plan (CDRP) RFP to our website: “Swim Lessons & Water Safety Training for Children and Families”. The grant is for $15,000 in start-up funding to develop this project. For more information, please visit VMRC’s website:

The deadline to submit an RFP is June 28, 2021.

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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Self-Advocacy Council 6 (SAC6)


Weekly Virtual Chat


Let’s Check In with each other!

WHEN: Friday, June 4, 2021

TIME: 11:00 AM -12:15 PM

WHERE: ZOOM - computer, tablet, cell phone


Join Zoom Meeting

Join SAC6 for a Review of OUR RIGHTS!

Let's Hear from our SAC6 Leaders:

Crystal Enyeart - SAC6 Member

Lisa Utsey - SAC6 Consultant

Meeting ID: 821 7190 5822


Passcode: 737835 (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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Update from the Self Determination Advisory Committee

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PDF Version of Flyer Here

Five County Data Update

as of June 3, 2021


San Joaquin County

·    4.1 new cases per 100,000 people and 2.1% positivity rate (Moderate/Orange....2nd Least Restrictive)


Stanislaus County

·    5.8 new cases per 100,000 people and 3.0% positivity rate (Substantial/Red....2nd Most Restrictive)


Tuolumne County

·    2.7 new cases per 100,000 people and 1.4% positivity rate (Moderate/Orange....2nd Least Restrictive)


Calaveras County

·   3.9 new cases per 100,000 people and 3.0% positivity rate (Moderate/Orange....2nd Least Restrictive)


Amador County

·    3.0 new cases per 100,000 people and 0.7% positivity rate (Minimal/Yellow....Least Restrictive)


State of California

·    2.2 new cases per 100,000 people and 0.8% positivity rate



Valley Mountain Regional Center

·    746 positive consumer cases and 27 deaths

·    34 positive VMRC staff cases

·    4 positive volunteer cases

·    301 positive provider cases and 1 death

Local County, State and National Public Health Resources

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