(a)(1) In furtherance of the purposes of this division to make services and supports available to enable persons with developmental disabilities to approximate the pattern of everyday living available to people without disabilities of the same age, to support the integration of persons with developmental disabilities into the mainstream life of the community, and to bring about more independent, productive, and normal lives for the persons served, it is the policy of the state that opportunities for integrated, competitive employment shall be given the highest priority for working age individuals with developmental disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disabilities. This policy shall be known as the Employment First Policy.
(2) Implementation of the policy shall be consistent with, and shall not infringe upon, the rights established pursuant to this division, including the right of people with developmental disabilities to make informed choices with respect to services and supports through the individual program planning process.
(3) Integrated competitive employment is intended to be the first option considered by planning teams for working age individuals, but individuals may choose goals other than integrated competitive employment.
(4) Postsecondary education, technical or vocational training, and internship programs may be considered as a means to achieve integrated competitive employment or career advancement.
(5) This chapter shall not be construed to expand the existing entitlement to services for persons with developmental disabilities described in this division.
(6) This chapter shall not alleviate schools of their responsibility to provide transition services to individuals with developmental disabilities.
(b) The State Council on Developmental Disabilities shall develop an informational brochure about the Employment First Policy, translate the brochure into various languages, and post the brochure on its Internet Web site.
(c) Regional centers shall provide consumers 16 years of age or older, and, when appropriate, their parents, legal guardians, conservators, or authorized representative with information, in an understandable form, about the Employment First Policy, options for integrated competitive employment, and services and supports, including postsecondary education, that are available to enable the consumer to transition from school to work, and to achieve the outcomes of obtaining and maintaining integrated competitive employment.
(d) The department may request information from regional centers on current and planned activities related to the Employment First Policy. A contract between the department and a regional center shall include performance objectives relating to implementation of the Employment First Policy, as described in subdivision (c) of Section 4629 .
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