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Regional Center of Orange County Expands Family Support Resources to Meet Growing Needs

SANTA ANA, Calif., Sept. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Responding to increasing needs of children and parents, as well as growth in the number of people it serves, Regional Center of Orange County (RCOC) has implemented three initiatives to expand and improve the support it provides to families struggling to raise children with developmental disabilities.

1. Special Education Advocacy. RCOC launched a program to ensure that parents having difficulty with school districts are aware that special education advocacy services are available to them through RCOC. These services -- one operated by Pepperdine University School of Law and another by Whittier Law School -- teach parents about their rights and responsibilities under special education law, and provide advocacy services on behalf of individual children.

2. Inclusive Child Care. To help address the shortage of child care facilities able to meet the needs of children with the most severe behavioral and physical challenges, RCOC has funded an important new initiative to provide licensed child care agencies with the training and support necessary to deliver quality care for these children. It is a team effort in which the YMCA (with 52 Orange County locations) and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) will perform assessments for children referred to them, as well as recruit, train and employ child care staff to provide additional support. These staff serve children at various sites, including YMCA facilities and -- through an agreement with UCP -- at Child Development, Inc.'s 26 licensed child care centers in the county. In addition, UPC and the YMCA are available to consult and train day care agencies seeking to serve RCOC-eligible children in their facilities.

3. Behavioral Resources. To assist parents overwhelmed by the behavioral challenges they face in raising a child with developmental disabilities, RCOC took a number of steps that build on the successful behavior management training it has provided for parents. Specifically, RCOC: broadened its policy concerning one-on-one in-home behavior services for individual children; worked to increase the number of behavior service providers so families have quicker access to help in this area; and hired several new board-certified behavior analysts to help families with these issues.

"These new approaches we're taking, and others we'll introduce in the near future, are aimed at helping families deal with a range of issues that didn't even exist decades ago," said RCOC's Chief Executive Officer Bill Bowman.

Regional Center of Orange County ( is the private, nonprofit organization contracted by the State of California to coordinate critical, life-long services and supports to Orange County residents with developmental disabilities and their families. Developmental disabilities include mental retardation, autism, epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

SOURCE Regional Center of Orange County
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