Improving Transition Outcomes for Black and Latinx Children with Developmental Disabilities

Leading by Convening: Fostering Collaboration Through Regional Summits

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There are significant racial and economic disparities for Black and Latinx children with developmental disabilities in California.

  • Research shows that Black and Latinx children with developmental disabilities are not getting the appropriate support that they need.
  • Despite efforts by state and local agencies in California to support smooth transitions, systemic challenges prevent many children with disabilities and their families from experiencing a smooth transition from "Part C" to "Part B" services.

We must take action to ensure all children get access to high-quality assessments and supportive services throughout their childhood. 

When we invest in collaboration, we can ensure that no child falls through the cracks.

In 2021, we implemented a new grants program funded by DDS to address this issue.

  • Five DDS-funded Family Resource Centers received a grant to learn a new framework for collaboration and convenings that builds bridges for Black and Latinx children.
  • FRCNCA trained grantees in the “Leading by Convening” framework, resulting in local regional summits and the creation of cross-sector collaborative advisory committees across the state.
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This model is making a difference in California.


  • It is very impactful for summit attendees to hear directly from families who have experience with cultural bias and the transition process
  • Many families are dedicated to improving transition outcomes and are willing to show up and share their stories to help
  • It's important to provide transition information to families in an ongoing way and in a variety of formats
Regional summits
People trained at Regional Summits
Regional Center staff
Parent leaders, community & educational partners



Information from this Summit has helped me better understand the needs and barriers faced by Black and Latinx children with developmental disabilities.

  • Increase from 72% Pre-Summit

I know who to contact and what to do when I have questions or concerns about transition support for Black and Latinx students aged 2-8.

  • Increase from 70% Pre-Summit

I feel a sense of community with other agencies/partners/CBOs who support Black and Latinx children with developmental disabilities.

  • Increase from 64% Pre-Summit

This Summit provided the knowledge and skills I need to think strategically about issues in transition for Black and Latinx students.

  • Increase from 72% Pre-Summit


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Family Resource Network, San Joaquin County

Hosted on November 13, 2022 for 37 people

This Summit brought together staff from Regional Center, community-based organizations, school district, and parents to receive the same training, at the same time. More professionals in this region now have a base knowledge of the issues that parents face, including families who face social, economic, and racial barriers.

  • Hosted two additional follow-up trainings for Regional Center
  • Trained 80 Regional Center staff
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Alpha Resource Center, Santa Barbara County

Hosted online in September 2022 for 65 people

This Summit was hosted in partnership with Santa Barbara County SELPA, Santa Barbara County Education Office, Help Me Grow Santa Barbara County, Tri-Counties Regional Center, Santa Barbara Network of Promotores, Community and MICOP. Attendees included professionals from regional center team members, service providers, school district employees, community-based organizations, and private schools.

  • 21 Summit attendees are currently participating in a bi-monthly Early Start Partners group
  • A Family Summit is currently in the planning stages
  • Developed a regional resource toolkit
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Early Start Family Resource Network, San Bernardino County

Hosted on November 14, 2022 for 126 people

The largest Summit trained 83 Regional Center staff and received a tremendous amount of positive feedback. Check out the regional toolkit, too.

  • "It helped me see the struggles some parents go through in a different light."
  • "INCREDIBLE!!! I will be more patient and work to go the extra mile to better explain things for families."
  • "This will help me provide culturally informed case management strategies to better serve Black and Latino families."
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Special Kids Connect, San Andreas

Hosted in September 30, 2022 

Raw and unscripted, parents shared the struggles and joys raising kids with developmental disabilities. Told from a position of strength, Summit attendees were visibly touched. The Summit brought to life the fact that most families do not understand the transition process and are unaware that they should be working with their school district of residence at age three. 

  • First time soliciting the support of parents to share their personal stories to an audience of professionals
  • Served 51 people through an extensive professional survey

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Westside Family Resource & Empowerment Center, west Los Angeles

Hosted in November 2022 

Through this Summit, Westside was able to successfully start a partnership with Lawndale Unified School District to assist with the development of a Support Group for local families. By also working closely with Lauren Black  (Ed.S. Equity and Inclusion Program Director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), they created a Summit resource padlet.

  • Initiated partnership with Lawndale Unified to develop a Support Group for African American and Latinx families
  • Developed a regional resource toolkit

"As a Physical Therapist...

I often feel that I am stepping on Infant Service Coordinators’ toes by providing info about the transition process. After listening to the parent panel saying that 'repetition is best,' I no longer feel this way. This Summit was INCREDIBLE!!!"

-Summit attendee in San Bernardino

What is the “Leading by Convening” framework?

Leading by Convening is a way to support parent leaders, early childhood professionals, and other stakeholder groups interested in learning how to:

  • Identify and invite potential partners to shape a local summit
  • Leverage a growing repository of resources (e.g., Toolkit, Resource Padlet, and Leading by Convening activities) to engage partners in learning together
  • Take collective action to achieve a shared vision of improving access and equity for Black and Latinx children with developmental disabilities transitioning across early intervention and school-age programs


Group members learn to jointly solve problems, align their efforts, form partnerships, share resources, and take collective action to make a positive difference in the lives of California children ages 3-8 with developmental disabilities and their families. 


For a quick overview, check out the training Powerpoint or visit our educational partner, WestEd

Collective Learning (160 × 160 px)

FRCNCA would also like to acknowledge Dr. Patrice Linehan, who provided training on the Leading by Convening approach to engaging stakeholder networks in shared problem-solving and collective action to make a difference. Contact if you are interested in designing learning partnerships that lead to positive change.

"We had participation from new partners such as the Promotores Network and Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project. These new partnerships will expand information, education, and resources to Black and Latinx families as well as those who are honored to work with them."

- Patricia Moore, Director of Help me Grow Santa Barbara County

Want to get informed and take action?

Follow the links below to check out these resources on transition:

Statewide resources

Regional resources

Alpha Regional Center, Santa Barbara County:

Westside Family Resource and Empowerment Center, western Los Angeles:

Early Start Family Resource Network, San Bernardino & Riverside counties:

"The night was wonderful and a great start to collaboration that needs to occur."

-Jennifer Connolly, Coordinator Santa Barbara County SELPA