No matter whether the lead agency is the regional center or the school district, you can file a written complaint with:
California Department of Developmental Services Office of Human Rights and Advocacy Services
Attn: Early Start Complaint Unit
1600 Ninth Street, Room 240, M.S.- 215
Sacramento, CA 95814
If you have trouble putting a complaint in writing, your child’s service coordinator must assist you. The complaint must include your name, address and telephone number and a statement describing the violation by the regional center, school district, or private service provider. The statement must include the facts on which your complaint is based, the name of the person or entity responsible for the failure, and a description of any steps that you have already taken to resolve the complaint. This is the only complaint process that may be used to address a problem with early intervention services. The complaint must be filed with DDS, even if it involves a local school district.
DDS must receive your complaint no later than one year after the date the violation occurred. In some cases, the complaint may be received after a year has passed, if the violation continues and affects your child or other children.
In addition, if you are requesting reimbursement or “corrective action” of the complaint, it can be received by the Department up to three years after the date of violation.
[17 C.C.R. Sec. 52170.]
Within 60 days of getting the complaint, DDS must:
- assign the complaint to a state inter-agency team or to another appropriate state agency;
- give you an opportunity to submit additional oral or written information;
- review all relevant information;
- determine whether there has been a violation of any law affecting your child; and,
- issue a written decision that includes findings, conclusions, reasons, any required corrective action, timelines for any corrective action, and an offer of technical assistance to the agency or individual found at fault.
In certain limited circumstances, such as the complainant’s illness or absence from the geographic area, or a natural disaster, DDS may extend the 60-day timeline.
Corrective actions may include monetary reimbursement, assurances that appropriate services are provided in the future, and/or other corrective actions appropriate for your child or family.
[17 C.C.R. Sec. 52171.]