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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Harbor Regional Center v. Office of Administrative Hearings: OAH Has Jurisdiction To Order Higher Wages For Disabled Child's In-Home Care Provider

Just a quick note on this case, Harbor Regional Center v. Office of Administrative Hearings (Hannah G.) (10/12/12):
Harbor Regional Center (Harbor) appeals from the judgment in this administrative mandate action, contending that the trial court erred by determining that an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) from the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) had jurisdiction under the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act (Lanterman Act or Act; Welf. & Inst. Code, § 4500 et seq.) to order the center to pay a higher wage to the in-home care provider of a severely disabled girl. We conclude that under the circumstances of this case, jurisdiction to hear such disputes rests with the OAH, and therefore affirm the judgment. 
Slip op. at 2. The Court explained: 
After several years of acquiescing to administrative law orders to fund salaries above the established rate to the caregivers of a profoundly disabled girl receiving services under the Lanterman Act, Harbor chose to dispute a temporary pay increase of approximately $1,650 for a substitute caregiver. At issue over this small sum are the rights of developmentally disabled children to contest decisions by service agencies such as Harbor to refuse funding for pay increases above the state-approved general rate. We hold that such increases may be required by unique circumstances in order to fulfill the Lanterman Act’s mandate to take all steps possible to keep such children at home with their families.

The opinion is available here

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