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Project Independence helps people with developmental
disabilities find jobs, develop friendships, and live independently.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR DDS DIRECTIVE 01-083120: ALTERNATIVE NONRESIDENTIAL SERVICES (ALTERNATIVE SERVICES)

1. What are Alternative Nonresidential Services (Alternative Services)? Alternative Services is a way for consumers to receive nonresidential services that may have been disrupted by the COVID-19 State of Emergency. Service providers can offer supports that differ from their traditional program design and respond to any new needs and interests that have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some examples are: • Delivering food, personal protective equipment • Delivering packets, equipment and supplies for activities and remote learning • Wellness checks and discussion about current events • Collaborative meetings to plan upcoming events • Pre-recorded or live video classes to learn new skills • Assisting with networking and development of employment and micro-enterprising opportunities • Supporting set up, training and use of technology devices 2. Are Alternative Services required? No. This is an option that can be used to support the needs of consumers when services cannot be provided as they were before COVID-19. 3. Which vendors can provide Alternative Services? Vendors of most nonresidential services, as defined in Section 54302(a)(49) may provide Alternative Services, however there are some that do not fit the model, such as Home Modification or Vehicle Modification. DDS will be providing a list of service codes to clarify. 4. Will each vendor have to choose if they are going to provide all traditional or Alternative Services, or can it be determined on an individual consumer basis? The service delivery mode and types of services provided are based on the needs of each consumer. A vendor may provide traditional services to a portion of the consumers served and Alternative Services to other consumers; however, any Alternative Services provided to a consumer in a given month would result in billing using the Alternative Services monthly rate. 5. What are some examples of “Use of self-guided training and educational materials supplied to the consumer by the provider intended to support the consumer’s service?” If there is agreement and a benefit to the consumer, the service provider may prepare activities for the consumer to initiate at a time most convenient for the consumer. The materials may be assembled by the service provider and delivered to the person in a variety of methods. Some examples are supply kits delivered to the consumers home, a written workbook or lesson plan emailed to the consumer, and a pre-recorded video to be retrieved online. 6. Can services be provided during flexible hours? Yes. Services can be provided at any hours that benefit the consumer. 7. What is an individual service plan (ISP)? An ISP is a plan informed by the consumer and prepared by the provider that identifies and describes the services that will be provided to support the person’s needs, goals and objectives. The format may vary by provider and type of service, and some may refer to it as a treatment plan, plan of care, etc. 8. Is an individual program plan (IPP) meeting of the interdisciplinary team needed to initiate Alternative Services? No, it is not needed to initiate Alternative Services. 9. Can Alternative Services apply to Supported Employment? Yes. Providers of Supported Employment services may provide Alternative Services to consumer if traditional services can not be provided. 10. Can Alternative Services apply to Transportation Services? Yes. Providers of Transportation services may provide Alternative Services to consumers when traditional services can not be provided. Based on stakeholder input, DDS is reviewing to determine if there are adjustments to the alternative service model that may further support consumer and community needs. Any change will be provided through amended guidance. 11. Where can I find more information about the Self-Determination program? Interested consumers, families, or others are encouraged to visit the Self-Determination Program website to find out more information about California’s Self-Determination Program. Individuals may also contact their regional center to find out the date of the next local volunteer advisory committee meeting. For Families and Consumers 1. What service types are covered by the Alternative Services directive? This Directive applies to many non-residential services, including services provided by day programs, early intervention, and transportation, etc. Because of state and local health rules, these providers may not be able to provide the same services they did before COVID-19. The Directive provides information about how to provide alternative services to meet consumer’s current needs. The Directive does not apply when a provider can provide the same services, which meet the consumer’s needs, either in the way they were provided before COVID-19 or in a different location or via remote delivery. For example, a day program that provides the same services virtually and these virtual services meet a consumer’s needs, is not providing alternative services. Similarly, individual therapy services which can be provided in a clinic that follows required safety protocols are not Alternative Services. 2. When can Alternative Services begin? Alternative Services can start as early as September 2020. The provider shall engage the consumer about his or her need for and interest in Alternative Services as an option. If the consumer is interested in using Alternative Services, the provider must notify the regional center. The consumer must also receive a copy of a new or revised service plan. 3. What must providers do if they are providing Alternative Services? The provider must do the following: • Make sure the Alternative Services meet a consumer’s current needs. • Engage with consumers and families about their service needs and the use of alternative services. • Follow state and local health orders and licensing requirements. • Train their staff and consumers on safe delivery of in-person services, if in-person services are provided. • Be creative, resourceful, and make modifications to how services are provided . 4. How will providers be expected to engage consumers and families about their service needs? Providers are expected to facilitate an inclusive and individualized implementation of the Alternative Services directive. • The provider must engage with each consumer to find out if he or she needs and is interested in alternative services. You can decide if these services […]

Meals & Dignity For People in OC Affected by COVID-19

A newly formed army of local nonprofits, donors, agencies and volunteers are teaming up with Orange County restaurants with a single mission in mind — to deliver some 5,000 fresh meals each week to those hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. Members of the collaboration Delivering with Dignity Orange County are combining their public and private networks and resources to find individuals and families most in need and provide them the comfort and care of a warm meal. The group’s first delivery, 150 meals prepared by staff at Toast Kitchen + Bakery in Costa Mesa, took place Wednesday as a line of volunteer drivers loaded bags of spaghetti Bolognese, salad, chicken and mashed potatoes into their backseats and took off in all directions. The effort came at a crucial time. The Orange County Health Agency on Wednesday reported 26 new deaths from the coronavirus and 363 hospitalizations, the highest levels since reporting began. Conversely, the county’s testing rates fell Wednesday to a record low. Only 1,478 tests were reported — less than one-third of the county’s June 17 peak testing day. READ MORE

LOCAL DONORS HELP PROJECT INDEPENDENCE SPREAD HOLIDAY JOY

100 Fresh Meals Donated by the Simple Greek Restaurant Costa Mesa, California, December 29, 2020 – Thanks to the generosity of dozens of motivated donors, the holidays are a bit brighter for adults with developmental disabilities served by nonprofit Project Independence of Costa Mesa. Hundreds of everyday items like towels, socks, games, grooming and sanitation products and more now often in scarce supply for the organization’s clients were wrapped and delivered by its staff. Many of the items came from online visitors to the nextdoor.com website after reading about Project Independence. Also raising the spirits of Project Independence clients during the holidays were the 100 fresh meals prepared and donated by Vandana and Vineet Unadkat, owners of The Simple Greek restaurant in Fullerton. Vandana previously worked with Project Independence. “Both Vandana and I are very thankful for the opportunity that we are getting to give back to our community through this partnership with Project Independence,” said Unadket. Though getting together to celebrate was impossible for clients who attend the organization’s day program, this year an online Zoom party brought more than 50 people onscreen for an event with entertainment by DJ Noah, and included raffles for Van’s backpacks donated by Jean Kim, and Target and Amazon $100 and $50 gift cards donated by the Shubin family. “We were overwhelmed with the donations we received from our generous neighbors that are helping make the holidays brighter for our clients,” said Project Independence CEO and President Debra Marsteller. “Now more than ever, adults with developmental disabilities live with the risk of isolation and loneliness. These gifts are both helpful and hopeful.” Project Independence is asking members of the public to include the organization in their holiday giving. To donate, visit http://www.proindependence.org/donate-now/ Project Independence has a 40 plus year history of service and stability in Orange County as a lifeline to adults with developmental disabilities who are now at even greatest risk because of the pandemic. The essential workers who comprise the Project Independence staff continue to serve clients despite challenges brought on by COVID-19. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar raised by Project Independence goes directly to support vital programs for people with developmental disabilities. Charity Navigator rates the organization 100/100.  For additional information, please visit www.proindependence.org  

PROJECT INDEPENDENCE ASKS DONORS TO PICK THEIR PIECE OF PI

Costa Mesa, California, November 17, 2020 – No matter how you slice it, nonprofit Project Independence of Costa Mesa provides critical services for adults with developmental disabilities, including supported living, supported employment, day programs and Access 2 Adventure. Project Independence is asking members of the public to include the organization in their holiday giving. To donate, visit http://www.proindependence.org/donate-now/ As an additional incentive to give, donors of $250 or more will have a fresh pumpkin pie from delivered directly to their door. “Now more than ever, adults with developmental disabilities live with the risk of isolation and loneliness,” said Project Independence CEO and President Debra Marsteller. “Your support goes directly to the mission of Project Independence to assure that they know they are not forgotten.” Project Independence has a 40 plus year history of service and stability in Orange County as a lifeline to adults with developmental disabilities who are now at even greatest risk because of the pandemic. The essential workers who comprise the Project Independence staff continue to serve clients despite challenges brought on by COVID-19. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar raised by Project Independence goes directly to support vital programs for people with developmental disabilities. Charity Navigator rates the organization 100/100.           For additional information, please visit www.proindependence.org ### CONTACT: Dan Pittman 714.282.9994 dan@pittmanpr.com

Nonprofit delivers holiday cheer

Thursday, January 14, 2021  Project Independence, a nonprofit in Costa Mesa, wrapped and delivered thousands of everyday items to adults with developmental disabilities over the holidays. Along with hundreds of dollars in cash and gift cards, the organization’s volunteers brought games and myriad household products to its clients. Many of the items were donated by users of the website nextdoor.com, according to a statement from the nonprofit, while Vandana and Vineet Unadkat, the owners of the Simple Greek restaurant in Fullerton, prepared and donated 100 meals to the cause.                             Project Independence staffer Meka Green, right, and her daughter, Kimora, prepare deliveries to clients for the holidays. (LEFT) “Both Vandana and I are very thankful for the opportunity that we are getting to give back to our community through this partnership with Project Independence,” Vineet Unadket said. In addition to the holiday deliveries, Project Independence hosted an online party via Zoom in December. More than 50 people participated and took their chances with raffles for backpacks donated by Jean Kim and Amazon and Target gift cards donated by the Shubin family. For more information or to donate to Project Independence, visit proindependence.org

Walk for Independence Sponsor Thank You Featured in LA Times

Serving people with developmental disabilities takes more than a walk in the park. But it’s a great start! Thank you to the generous sponsors of our 10th Walk for Independence that celebrates independent living for people with developmental disabilities throughout Orange County. With your support, we are building a community one step at a time.

SUPPORT INDEPENDENCE

We serve over 700 people with developmental disabilities in Southern California as they experience life and discover their potential for independence, as every person should have the opportunity to do – regardless of disability.

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