Your Rights: Appeals, Complaints, & Whistleblower

View the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) website in order to obtain description of the appeals procedure set forth in Chapter 7 of the Lanterman Act. You may also call DDS at (916) 654-1690.



DDS Office of the Ombudsman

The Department of Developmental Services established an Office of the Ombudsperson to assist individuals and/or their families who are applying for or receiving regional center services regarding the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act. Beginning December 1, 2022, this new Office will be available to provide information, facilitate resolutions to disagreements and complaints, make recommendations to the Department, and compile and report data.

The following is contact and webpage information for the Office:
• Toll-free telephone number: 1 (877) 658-9731.
Calls will be answered on workdays by an Ombudsperson staff member during the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Outside of these hours, the caller will be able to connect to the Office’s voicemail via automated options.
Ombudsperson staff will return the call by close of business the next workday.


• Webpage: Office of the Ombudsperson


• Intake form: Online intake form


• Email address:

Lantern Act Appeal Packet

Click here for the DDS website:  DDS Website 

Appeal Packet:






Appeals Process

The Appeals process is used to resolve disputes regarding eligibility, the nature, scope, amount of services and
supports, or any decision or action of the regional center or state developmental center for consumers or
applicants who are age three or older. For more details, please visit the DDS webpage.



DDS Appeal information page: DDS PAGE 







SARC appeals page 

Consumer Rights Complaint Process

The Consumer Rights Complaint Process is a mechanism to be used when an individual consumer, or any representative acting on behalf of a consumer, believes that any right has been wrongly or unfairly denied by a regional center, developmental center, or a service provider. This process is not to be used by consumers to resolve disputes about eligibility, or the nature, scope, or amount of services.


Learn more here:  DDS complaint page 

Early Start Complaint Processes (For Children From Birth to Age 3)

Early Start is for infants and toddlers under the age of three who are at risk of having a developmental disability or have a developmental disability or delay, and their families. There are three separate processes in place for addressing disagreements which arise under this program.

  • The Early Start Mediation Conference Requests is a voluntary process used to informally resolve disagreements between a parent, as defined in law, and a regional center or a local education agency related to any alleged violation of federal or state statutes/regulation governing California's Early Start Program, including eligibility and services, or related to a proposal or refusal for identification, evaluation, assessment, placement, or services. Mediation can be requested as the first option for resolution or can also be requested when during a complaint or due process hearing process, if a parent decides that mediation might be more appropriate. A complaint must be withdrawn if the Complainant elects to participate in mediation within the 60 day complaint investigation.
  • The Early Start Due Process Hearing is used to resolve disagreements between parents and a regional center or a local education agency related to a proposal or refusal for identification, evaluation, assessment, placement, or services.
  • The Early Start State Complaint Process is used to investigate and resolve any alleged violation of federal or state statutes or regulations governing California's Early Start.

Visit the DDS Webpage here: Early Start appeals 

Title 17 Complaint Procedure

The Title 17 Complaint Procedure is to be used when: (1) one of the "personal rights" of an individual who resides in a developmental center, community care or health care facility, has been formally denied by the facility as allowed in Title 17 of California Code of Regulation Section 50530; and (2) the consumer disagrees with the facility's decision.


Learn more here:

Vendor/Provider Related Appeals

Vendorization Appeals

Used to appeal a denial of vendorization application, termination of vendorization, or failure of a regional center to comply with regulations.

Residential Facility Appeals

Where a vendored community care facility may appeal the actions taken by a regional center regarding service level disapproval, sanctions, findings of substantial inadequacy or immediate danger, or enforcement of any requirement by the regional center which is not contained in Title 17, California Code of Regulations.

Rate Appeals

Used for a vendor to appeal a rate set by the Department of Developmental Services, the effective date of the rate, or the denial of a rate adjustment.

Whistleblower Complaints

If your complaint relates to an improper activity by a regional center or vendor/contractor, this process can be used to file the complaint with DDS.

Learn more here: DDS WB page 


SARC Whistle blower policy: Whistleblower Protection Policy 02 27 2023 - signed[18]

4731 complaint

Section 4731 of the Welfare and Institutions Code (W&I Code) permits each consumer or any representative acting on his or her behalf, to pursue a complaint against a regional center, developmental center, or provider


Learn more here: DDS 4731 page