Writing by Ronda Cook
Art by Robin Mead
My son has Autism Spectrum Disorder. I can tell you what I did that was successful in getting him Protective Supervision. He was approved in three and a half months without needing to appeal. He got approved for 195 Protective Supervision hours.
About Protective Supervision
Protective Supervision is part of the IHSS program in California. It is for children and adults with a mental impairment that have self-harming and or dangerous behaviors that they engage in without regard to consequences. These behaviors must be regularly occurring and random. That is why they need someone to supervise them 24 hours a day 7 days a week to minimize injury to themselves.
If your child engages in any behaviors that put them at risk for harm or injury without awareness of consequences, you should pursue getting Protective Supervision.
You can learn more and meet other parents whose children have Protective Supervision in the Facebook Group IHSS Advocacy.
Examples of Self-Harming Behaviors
- Eloping or wandering away
- Climbing up high
- Banging their head on the floors, walls or people
- Punching or slapping themselves in the face
- Scratching themselves until they bleed
- Bolting out of an open door or gate
- Running into the street
- Chewing fingers
- Talking to or following strangers
Step One: Applying for IHSS
If you are not already in the IHSS program, or if you want to learn how to appeal IHSS hours, please take a look at: IHSS Advocates Manual
Story from a reader who received 228 Hours Per Month from IHSS without Protective Supervision: How I Got Approved for 228 Hours Per Month in IHSS
Step Two: Applying for Medi-Cal
If you are having trouble qualifying for Med-cal, or you are given a high Share of Cost, please take a look at: IHSS Advocates Manual
Step Three: Gathering Documents
Some people will qualify for IHSS, but not for Protective Supervision. Protective supervision is only for children or adults who have self-harming behaviors.
If you feel your family member might meet the qualifications, then call your IHSS Social Worker and ask for an assessment for protective supervision, or submit your request for this at the same time as you apply for IHSS.
You have to remember that Social Workers have lots and lots of cases. At a bare minimum you should be calling every single week and checking in if you have an open case waiting for a decision.
This is how my son got Protective Supervision quickly:
🌸 First I made a Dangerous Behavior Log which is a list of any self-harming behaviors he has done over the past six to 12 months. Here are some sample pages from my log: Sample Dangerous Behaviors Log for IHSS Protective Supervision
🌸 If your child is a client at a Regional Center, gather his Regional Center Individual Program Plan (IPP). And his Client Development Evaluation Report (CDER). Regional Centers.
🌸 It may also help to collect letters, statements, files, or reports from any other program your child is part of, or any assessments your child has had.
🌸 Then I get a copy of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) from your child’s school.
🌸 Now look through all these documents. See if they mention any self-harming behavior your child engages in. Look for any self-harming behaviors noted and highlight them.
🌸 If there are behaviors he engages in that are not noted, you could call a meeting and have them added to his school and/or Regional Center reports. Then collect copies of the updated files.
🌸 Once you have all of the above completed, call your Social Worker and tell them that you are applying for protective supervision.
🌸 Disability Rights California has a guidebook with information on this program: IHSS Advocates Manual
Tip: Keep track of every contact with IHSS that you have the date the time the person you spoke with and a summary of your conversation.
Step Five: Visiting Your Child’s Doctor
🌸 I printed the IHSS SOC 821 protective supervision form and took it to the doctor that treats him along with the hazard log.
🌸 It is helpful if you can sit with the doctor while he fills out the form and tell him to use the examples of self injurious behavior to write in the form. It’s best if your doctor marks most boxes “severe”.
🌸 Here’s where you can find a bunch of good Tips from Parents on Getting Doctor’s Forms
Step Five: Meeting the Social Worker
When I met the Social Worker for the home assessment, I handed her the following:
🌸 Dangerous Behavior Log
🌸 Completed SOC 821 form
🌸 IEP with the items highlighted
🌸 CDER with the items highlighted
🌸 IPP with the items highlighted
Tip: Always make a complete copy of everything that you give to IHSS so you know what information they are looking at.
We were approved at this point. If your family is not approved yet, keep appealing:
Appealing a Decision
🌸 If your case is denied, and you’re within the time frame to file an appeal, always try to do that first to preserve any back pay.
🌸 If you lose your appeal there’s another step beyond that you can try for. Otherwise you can always reapply– basically start a new case.
🌸 Generally though you would only want to reapply if you’ve exhausted all your other appeals first because if you reapply, then backpay would only be from your new application date.
🌸 The easiest way to appeal is online. Go to this link, create an account and state your reason for appeal as “Protective supervision incorrectly denied”. https://www.cdss.ca.gov/hearing-requests
🌸 You can request the hearing to be conducted by telephone, So you don’t have to worry about a babysitter.
🌸 You can upload any additional documents supporting your case. You can also submit more documentation while waiting for the hearing date. One important thing is the judges like documentation￼. They need paperwork that they can point to and say in their ruling: this document is why I approved this person’s request
🌸 If you have a strong case for protective supervision, you should definitely appeal. Even if the Social Worker ignored your documentation, the judge won’t ignore your paperwork.
Hiring an Advocate
🌸 You do not need to have a lawyer or advocate to appeal, however if you wish to hire one, this a business that provides advocates for families with children with developmental disabilities: IHSS Advocates.
🌸 When I first applied for IHSS, I read their website and I found it helpful. I spoke with one of their advocates and they told me I didn’t need to hire them because my son is so severely disabled he would be approved easily. I do believe they are honest people and I would recommend them.
🌸 Hiring an advocate can be expensive, but you do not pay upfront. It comes out of backpay when you win your case. I wouldn’t have hesitated to hire them if I needed it.
Tips from Gracie Fuentes
“Parents don’t need to tell doctor’s who is going to be their child’s provider. You can ask for the form to be filled out and, if you feel the need to explain, you can tell them it’s so the child can get hours for a provider to watch them…
“I get the feeling some doctors don’t like the fact that parents get paid to watch their own children. But they seem to ignore the fact that some of us gave up a good paying career to stay home with our children and make minimum wage. I gave up my career at a Law Firm.”
The same applies for Social Workers. Many readers report having trouble because their Social Workers were misinformed about the rules for parent providers, and told them they wouldn’t qualify or suggested withdrawing their application.
Keep in mind: Your child is applying for services. You are not applying. This is not your application. When your child is applying for services, it does not matter who the provider will be. After your child is approved, you can decide whether to hire a friend, family member, someone you don’t know, or to be a parent provider yourself.