Rhys Burchill has always been engaged in advocacy, on the individual level and the systemic level. As Executive Director of Area Board XI (Orange County) for 24 years, Ms. Burchill reviewed policies and practices of all agencies in receipt of public funds for providing services and supports for persons with developmental disabilities. Area Board XI is now known as the State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD), a state agency mandated to ensure the legal, civil, and service rights of all infants, children and adult persons with developmental disabilities living in Orange County.
Ms. Burchill established Operation Housecall, a program that connected first and second-year University of California, Irvine medical students to parents of children with developmental disabilities in effort to provide students the opportunity to establish a rapport with the children and their families in the comfort of their homes. She is also credited with creating the ABXI Health Care Task Force in response to mandatory enrollment into managed health care in Orange County to ensure that persons with developmental disabilities received all health care-related services.
Upon enactment of Public Law 94-142, Ms. Burchill became a founding board member of Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK). TASK provides training and advocacy services provided for parents that would enable children with special needs to obtain all educationally-related services in the least restrictive environment.
Ms. Burchill’s daughter, Kelsey, age 43, has Rett Syndrome and has lived with Ms. Burchill all her life.
A longtime person receiving regional center services, Jyusse Corey, RCOC’s Peer Advocate, brings his extensive experience to his fellow consumers, vendors, colleagues and the public as whole.
His mission is to be accessible with up-to date information on the latest resources available as well as staying informed on the various issues now impacting clients including: the ABLE Act, competitive integrated employment, self-determination and so much more.
Mr. Corey hopes to continue to be an integral part of the lives of people receiving services and to help everyone grow and reach their potential. He loves meeting new people and discovering their stories, and letting each person he interacts with know that their experience is key in their approach to life and that everyone is different and to use what you know best: yourselves!
Outside of RCOC, he is just as passionate, enjoying reading, history, music, movies, and spending time with friends and family.
Dr. April Lopez is an Orange County-based Doctor of Chiropractic. Since 2001 she has owned and operated a successful practice in the city of Orange near Angel Stadium. She is the married mother of three elementary public school aged children. Her oldest is Isabella, a thriving young girl born with Down Syndrome and Autism. Dr. Lopez is a highly regarded volunteer advocate for parents of children with disabilities in regards to IEP/IEE and due process. She is a strong advocate for inclusion.
In 2013 Dr. Lopez was honored as “Woman of the Year” by State Senator Lou Correa. She is currently an Advisory Board Member for the Pujols Family Foundation. Founded by Angels First Baseman Albert Pujols, the PFF is committed to offering recreational programs to individuals with Down Syndrome at no cost and improving the lives of families living in poverty in the Dominican Republic.
Dr. Lopez was appointed by Governor Brown in 2012 as a family advocate representative to the State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD). In 2014 she was elected to the council’s executive board and currently serves as its Chairperson as well as holding leadership positions on its Legislative and Public Policy Committee, Membership Committee, and Monitoring and Technical Assistance Review System (MTARS) Committee. Dr. Lopez was instrumental in the lobbying efforts at the state capitol to insure the passage and signing into law of AB 1041 (Chesbro) Employment First Policy, SB 468 (Emmerson/Beall/Mitchell) The Statewide Self-Determination Program and SB 555 (Correa) Developmental services: regional centers: individual program plans and individualized family service plans.
Person receiving RCOC Services
Scarlet K. Von Thenen
SCDD Regional Manager
Clients Rights activist
RCOC Training and Organizational Specialist
Director of Services and Supports