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What Is a Regional Center? Definition, Uses and Importance.

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Private, nonprofit agencies that contract with the state to provide services for persons living with disabilities. There are 21 regional centers throughout North Carolina and each one operates differently from one another in what they do or offer as far as advocacy goes but all of them have some form or function related specifically towards supporting someone who has developmental issues like autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The Department of Developmental Services contracts with private, non-profit regional centers – each serving a distinct geographic region – to coordinate services and supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families throughout their lives. For people who have developmental impairments and their families, regional centers can locate local resources and other community-based services that best meet their requirements.

Since the groundbreaking Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act was passed more than 40 years ago, the regional center system has served as a vital link between people with developmental disabilities and the resources they need to live independently and with respect in their local communities. Today, the state of California has 21 regional centers where RCOC provides services to more than 20,000 people with disabilities and their families.

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