California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind
Resolution 2015-15
 
Whereas, around 1948, the California legislature created the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind (the board), pursuant to Section 7200.5 of the state’s Business and Professions Code; and
 
Whereas, the board rapidly developed procedures governing the development of guide dog training programs (called schools), fund-raising for such programs, and the licensing of the schools and their instructors; and
 
Whereas, thanks to the board’s efforts, California became the first and only state to mandate regulations for certifying the quality of guide dog training programs and the competency of instructors through a comprehensive examination and licensing procedure for California schools and their instructors and for instructors from out of state who seek to serve students in California even with after-care; and
 
Whereas, since 1989, the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), an international association of guide dog schools, which has grown to at least 80 member schools worldwide, has required its member schools to undergo an accreditation protocol that is at least as rigorous as the California state licensure requirements  for guide dog schools and instructors; and
 
Whereas, in recent years the board has, contrary to its earlier practice, begun to strictly enforce state regulations that prohibit the activities of unlicensed instructors in California to the extent that instructors from IGDF-accredited schools, regardless of the demonstrated abilities of these instructors, or the accreditation from the IGDF achieved by these schools, are prohibited from providing after-care services to graduates of these schools unless the particular instructors providing such services have been individually licensed by the state of California, and board; and
 
Whereas, these practices punish California guide dog users for choosing to receive their training from out-of-state schools, including schools with a long-standing track record of providing outstanding services to their students, and
 
Whereas, an inability to receive after-care in a timely manner from instructors who have familiarity with their graduates and their dogs and who utilize guide dog training techniques familiar both to instructors and their graduates can put the safety of guide dog users who need after-care at great risk; and
 
Whereas, this treatment by the state of California clearly violates principles of consumer choice with respect to training which are universally upheld and valued by the American Council of the Blind;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization call on the legislature and governor of the state of California to enact legislation during the 2016  session to permit instructors employed by IGDF accredited schools to provide follow-up services to their graduate guide dog teams in California, without requiring these instructors to be licensed by the state; and
 
Be it further resolved that this organization call on the governor of the state of California to reach out to the board to create approaches to alleviating the dangerous situation described above by encouraging the creation of an interim approach that will allow after-care services to be delivered by out-of-state instructors; and
 
Be it further resolved that copies of this resolution shall be sent to the governor of the state of California, to the members of the California State Legislature, and to the members and Executive Officer of the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary