PAVE Operational Definitions 

What is an Operational Definition? 

An operational definition is a detailed description of an object or concept.  The description allows us to be certain that what we are looking at is really the thing we are interested in. 

In the case of services, an operational definition describes what that service is and does. For example, it describes what type of support a service provides and when, where, to whom and how a service is delivered.   

It allows two or more people to agree that what they are looking is indeed a "supported living service", for example. 

It also allows those who are interested in providing or delivering that service to know what will be expected of them and the service they provide. 

Why are Operational Definitions important to PAVE?

Operational definitions are central to the PAVE Service Outcomes system. 

  • They will help us know how to measure quality of the different services and to know if services are working in line with what will be expected. 
  • They will help us make good training that will help staff and managers in services to understand what they need to do and how to do it.  This will make help them to provide the support people and their families need in order to have good outcomes. 
  • They will also be used to help people with disabilities and families to make informed choices about the services they receive. 
  • They will help services and regional centers to provide the same type and quality of services so that people can receive that type of services no matter where they live. 

The focus of our operational definitions are to describe the four service types as they are now.   This is important so that we can measure the quality of services and judge them against the criterial that currently exist.  Operational definitions may be updated over time as regulations and policy changes, to reflect research and good practice.  

For what service types are operational definitions available? 

There are four service types for which operational definitions are currently available.  For each service type there is the detailed operational definition and a plain language summary.  You can open these in a new browser window by clicking on the links.  

How did we develop the PAVE operational definitions?

  1. We worked with Subject Matter Experts and carried out a thorough environmental scan of regulations and any existing definitions available. 
  2. The CCLN Board of Directors reviewed and provided input/feedback. 
  3. The PAVE team at the Department for Developmental Services reviewed and provided input/feedback. 
  4. The PAVE Stakeholder Advisory Group reviewed and provided input/feedback. 
  5. The State Council on Developmental Disabilities, including the Self-advocates Committee reviewed the Plain Language Summaries. 
  6. The Directors of the 21 Regional Centers were asked for feedback by the Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA).  

NEXT STEPS:  To gather feedback from the wider community. 

How can you give feedback on the PAVE Operational Definitions?

There are a number of ways you can give feedback. 

  1. You can attend one of our Townhall feedback sessions which will be held via Zoom on Tuesday June 4th and Thursday June 6th.  For more information on how to register and for the agendas and presentation, please click here. 
  2. You can complete an online survey to give your feedback on one or more of the definitions.  You can access the survey by clicking this link:     The survey will close on Friday June 14th. 
  3. You can email us your feedback at  
Please remember that we need to work with how services are defined now. You might have lots of ideas about what you would like different types of services to do in the future. However, we need you to think about what happens now in giving your feedback.   Thank you!

California Community Living Network
Contact Info:

Mark Melanson

Chief Executive Officer
California Community Living Network

166 Geary St

STE 1500 #1802

San Francisco, CA 94108

Phone: (415) 505-5975

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