The 21 Regional Centers in California are charged with advocacy for, and protection of, these rights via the The Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Act .  The Lanterman Act gives people with developmental disabilities the right to services and supports that enable them to live a more independent and normal life.  It declares that persons with developmental disabilities have the same legal rights and responsibilities guaranteed all other persons by federal and state constitutions and laws, and charges

In addition to persons with mental retardation, the regional centers are now mandated to serve persons with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, conditions similar to mental retardation, or conditions that require treatment similar to the treatment required for individuals with mental retardation. To be eligible for services under the Lanterman Act a Person must also have a “substantial disability.”