The Autism City: Disability Services Arrive at the Crossroads

Article from Forbes Magazine, October 1, 2019


In California, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) oversees a vast network of community-based services for over 333,000 youth and adults with developmental disabilities. Other states have similar sprawling networks—nearly all rooted in disability inclusion theories of the reformers of the 1960s and early 1970s.


Today, these networks are being buffeted on all sides: soaring caseload numbers and budgets; frustration by service providers with high client-to-staff ratios and rapid turnover of personnel; and on going fear of clients and family members that options will be reduced at any time. “The disability services system is at a crossroads”, explains Rick Rollens, a representative of service providers, and expert in disability services and costs. Indeed, this fall task forces are being launched in several states, including California, to identify how disability services might be delivered differently in the future.


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