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Evaluating California’s System for Serving Infants and Toddlers With Special Needs


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[PDF] The 2019-20 Budget: Governor's Proposals for Infants and Toddlers With Special Needs

February 28, 2019 - In this report, we evaluate three Governor's budget proposals related to early intervention services for infants and toddlers with special needs. These include: (1) $60 million ongoing (split between Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenues and federal Medicaid funding) to provide supplemental payments to physicians who screen children covered by Medi-Cal for developmental delays, (2) four new positions (at a cost of $446,000 General Fund) to increase state oversight of Regional Center early intervention services, and (3) possible forthcoming trailer bill language to improve transitions for children aging out of early intervention services and into preschool special education. We recommend rejecting the proposed supplemental payments and approving the other two proposals and further recommend the Legislature consider broader reforms to address longstanding weaknesses in the state's early intervention system.

Update (3/4/19): Figure 3 totals adjusted.

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The 2018-19 Budget: Analysis of the Health and Human Services Budget

February 16, 2018 - In this report we provide a broad overview of the Governor's health and human services budget, highlighting major year-over-year changes. We then provide a more in-depth analysis of select programmatic areas.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Special Education Proposals

February 4, 2021 - This post provides background on special education preschool and school Medi-Cal billing, describes the Governor's proposals related to these topics, details our assessments of the proposals, and offers associated recommendations for the Legislature to consider.

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The 2020-21 Budget: Early Education Analysis

February 21, 2020 - In this report, we provide an overview of the Governor’s early education proposals, then analyze his three major early education proposals. Specifically, we analyze his proposals to (1) expand the number of full‑day preschool slots, (2) create a new department to administer child care programs, and (3) fund facilities for more preschool programs.

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Overview of Special Education in California

November 6, 2019 - Recent legislation directed the Legislature and administration to work collaboratively to consider changes in how the state organizes, delivers, and funds special education, with the overarching intent to improve outcomes. With this report, we aim to inform these fiscal and policy conversations by providing an overview of special education in California.

Update 11/8/19: Adjustments made to per-student education costs

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The 2020-21 Budget: Analysis of the Department of Developmental Services Budget

February 7, 2020 - The following report assesses the Governor’s proposed 2020‑21 budget for the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), which currently serves about 350,000 individuals with qualifying developmental disabilities in California. We first provide an overview of the budget proposal, including caseload projections and changes in year‑over‑year spending. We then consider four key new policy proposals. First, and most significantly, we consider the Governor’s proposal for a performance‑incentive program, which appears to represent a new direction for the DDS system. Second, we assess the Governor’s proposal to provide supplemental rate increases in additional service categories in 2020‑21. Third, we review a proposal to reduce the caseloads of service coordinators who work with children ages 3, 4, and 5. Finally, we examine the Governor’s proposed additions to DDS’ crisis and safety net services.

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[PDF] The 2016-17 Budget: Analysis of Child Care and Preschool Proposals

February 24, 2016 - In this report, we analyze the Governor’s child care and preschool proposals. The report includes (1) a high-level overview of the proposed child care and preschool budget, and (2) an assessment of the Governor's proposals to restructure California's child care and preschool programs. At the end of the report, we provide a summary of our recommendations.

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Improving Access to Dental Services for Individuals With Developmental Disabilities

September 27, 2018 - Individuals with developmental disabilities face a number of behavioral, cognitive, and physical challenges that can adversely affect their health. Oral health is no exception. Individuals with developmental disabilities often need extra appointments or special accommodations that dentists may be unwilling or unable to provide. This report analyzes the extent to which dental services are available and sufficient for individuals with developmental disabilities. Finding that access challenges exist, we consider options and make recommendations for improving access.

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History of Special Education Funding in California

February 27, 2018 - This post traces the history of state special education funding in California to better inform conversations about how this funding might be allocated going forward.