Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Developmental Disability?

A developmental disability is defined as a disability that occurs before the age of 18, is substantially disabling for an individual, and is expected to continue indefinitely. Developmental disabilities include mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism. Also included are disabling conditions closely related to mental retardation or requiring similar treatment.

Who is eligible for services?

An individual is eligible for Serra Center services if he or she has a developmental disability and is 18 years of age or older.

How can I receive services from Serra Center?

If you are a client of the Regional Center, you can request that your case manager contact Serra Center to make a referral for you to receive services.

After Serra Center receives the information that your case manager sends, we will review it and contact you to schedule a time to meet with you.

Otherwise, for more information about receiving services from Serra Center or to schedule an introductory meeting, please call Lisa at (510) 477-1000.

How are services paid?

The State of California has a commitment to provide services and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities throughout their lifetime. Services and supports are provided through a combination of federal, state, county and local government services.

Additional support is provided through donations by caring friends, private businesses, churches, foundations, support groups, volunteers and others who give to Serra Center.

What is the Regional Center and what services do they provide?

The Regional Centers are private, non-profit corporations under contract with the California Department of Developmental Services. There are 21 Regional Centers around the state. They work in partnership with many individuals and other agencies to plan and coordinate services and supports for people with developmental disabilities such as: case management, service referral and funding, individual program planning, service monitoring, counseling and advocacy.

A community-based Board of Directors – which includes individuals with developmental disabilities, family members and community leaders – provides guidance and leadership. Typically, individuals who receive services from Serra Center are a client of the Regional Center. However, Serra Center also serves individuals on a private pay basis.  For more information on the Regional Center services for Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, contact Regional Center of the East Bay at or (510) 618-6100.