“I am the mother of a boy with autism. Carmen Carley has represented my family with both the regional center and the school district. While courteous, Carmen is aggressive and unapologetic. She has been our advocate since 2005. Carmen obtained a 40 hour per week in-home Applied Behavioral Analysis program for my son. From the start of our cooperation, not only have I received excellent and quality advocacy, but numerous opportunities to participate and learn how to advocate on my son’s behalf. These services obtained have given my family hope, I have been truly inspired by Carmen’s enthusiasm and it has made me a better advocate for my son. Carmen has a deep passion to fight for children on the autism spectrum. This passion is shown in her persistent fight to obtain appropriate and needed services for disabled children. Navigating the special education system is not a problem for Carmen as she is very confident and knowledgeable about special education laws and procedures. It has been a long journey up to this point as well as a learning experience………..... I learned that dreams do come true!”
Dionne in Compton, 2007
“Carmen is an experienced and passionate advocate for the rights of children with special needs. She helped us fight confidently and win our case. Without her our child would not have obtained the necessary services to reach his full potential."
R. M., 2008
"Carmen is an excellent advocate. She helped us gain funding for a 40-hour/week ABA program for our son (who at the time was almost five years old). She represented us at fair hearing against HRC and their lawyer Mona Hanna. You can read the decision on-line (Daniel M. vs. HRC, OAH # L2007110790). I recommend Carmen because she is knowledgeable, professional, forthright, and truly caring. She guides parents to do as much as they can themselves, teaching them to be better advocates for their children.”
Yvonne in Cerritos, 2008
“I have two sons with Autism have worked with Carmen Carley for almost three years. I can't recommend Carmen highly enough! Carmen is like having a tough, guardian angel for hire. Since she has a child with autism too, she's knowledgeable, understanding, sympathetic and a great negotiator which helps in alleviating much of the stress during tough meetings. Although she has heart, she has no problem going after the juggular against the school district, regional center and even confronting ABA agencies when advocating on behalf of your child. Without her help in knowing all the ins and outs of the laws and having experience negotiating during some difficult IEP and HRC meetings, my children would not have all the services they have today. Simply put, Carmen is a cross between having a pit-bull and Mother Theresa on your side.... and I wouldn't want it any other way for me and my children.”
Melanie in Long Beach, 2009
“I would like to share the experience our family has had with South Bay Child Advocates. I met Carmen Carley about 5 years ago when I was in desperate need of securing ABA services for my daughter. She wasreferred to me by one of the ABA agencies, after I had been unsuccessful in obtaining hours for my daughter’s home program from the regional center. From the beginning, Carmen listened to my needs and she completely understood our situation. She guided me and told me all the legal steps that needed to be taken. She gave me the courage and strength that made me take the decision that this fight was worth fighting for and that together we would win this fight. She was right! With her extensive knowledge and hunger to do the right thing, we won our legal case with the regional center securing an appropriate program for our daughter. Starting this home program has been the best thing for our daughter and our whole family. Our daughter has responded very well to the program and she has progressed steadily. With Carmen’s mentoring, I have learned about regional center rights and obligations, as well as the school district’s and been able to secure continued services every year. Carmen is a great listener and in times when a parent is desperate, she is there to listen and will calm you down so you can think rationally. Carmen lives the case as if it is her own child she is fighting for. She completely understands what special education families go through. Carmen dedicates her time to help families win and part of her success is due to the fact that she puts all of her heart into the case. Carmen is extremely knowledgeable in all laws that relate to special education and/or regional center. Carmen knows how to make a point. We are so happy to have met Carmen and highly recommend her to any family looking for representation.”
Gina in South Gate, 2009
“Carmen is the true meaning of ADVOCACY. When your child is given a diagnosis, pain and doubt set in. As time progresses the need to help your child takes precedent. Now, understanding your parental rights and weaving your way through the school system can become complicated. Carmen understood our concerns and the needs of my child. We had a previous advocate and what a blessing to have met CARMEN. We immediately fired that so-called advocate and our journey continued with Carmen. From our first encounter to this very moment, Carmen is a force to reckon with. She has advocated from my son strongly and effectively. Carmen is like no other...she is knowledgeable, practical and an experienced advocate. We have gone from multiple IEP's with our school district and IFSP's with the Regional Center. All our concerns and questions have been meet with answers from Carmen. Whether they related to school district polices and procedures, ABA, traditional therapies, educational goals,independent assessments, or regional center polices...... all have been addressed. Our journey, for the betterment of my son, has escalated to meditations, hearings, and eventually due process. Through the guidance of Carmen, she made things happen, stayed atop of all pending issues and assisted in both resolutions and the preparation of our case with an attorney. She is a true advocate for families with our unique children. She assists parents in reaching their true goals for their children. And along with way, empowering each and every one of us. My husband and I can't thank Carmen enough for the many ways she had enriched our lives.”
Sandra V., 2010
“We have been so very grateful to Carmen! She has provided my family with hours of consulting, advising, planning and collaborating with my Non Public Agency with the goal of preparing for upcoming IEPs. More importantly, Carmen was available and diligent in her advocacy, she has the breadth of knowledge and instills confidence in us as parents. After 8 years as parents of 2 children on the spectrum, I still have Carmen by my side when I know I need her sound advise and strength next to me at IEPs or IFSPs! We recommend her whole heartedly.”
“Our journey began when our younger son was diagnosed with autism at 2. Since then, our family has overcome many challenges. We could not, and did not, do it alone. We needed guidance and help from angels, like our advocate Carmen Carley. Carmen has been our friend, confidant, strategist, sword and shield. She has advocated vigorously and judiciously on behalf of our precious son. For the past three years, Carmen has helped us secure 40 hours [rt errl of 1:1, in-home, ABA program from one of the most reputable non public agencies in southern California. During her advocacy, my wife and I observed an angel who possessed vast knowledge of regional center matters, superb negotiation skills, and who navigated us deftly through IEP meetings. Autism is a tough diagnosis. As if news of the diagnosis was not difficult enough, we faced many people who tried to misguide us into pit of despair. For instance, after our transition meeting, my wife and I were told by our regional center representative that our son's ABA funding would terminate upon him turning 3. She said that was the law and that since every child's funding terminates at 3, we must sign a document agreeing to such termination! She said she would love to help, but she had no option. In hindsight, my wife and I know that regional centers cannot do that. But, without an angel like Carmen on our side, we could have missed the 10-day deadline to request a mediation/due process hearing to challenge the termination of the funding. Unfortunately, I have run into families that received such notices and did not challenge them in time. As with all government and quasi-government funding, once services are lost, it is much harder to get them back, then preventing the cut in the first place. For parents out there who lost the funding, please do not beat yourself up. You cannot blame yourself. You now know that there are people who do not share the same goal as you do. You have empowered yourself with this knowledge. As you advocate for your child from this point on, remember there are angels like Carmen Carley out there to help you. Also, it is important to keep in mind that in California, there is no certification requirement to become an advocate. As a result, anyone can call him/herself an advocate. This is not to say a person who just started will be bad or have bad intentions. It is just a reminder to parents who are looking for one, to be diligent in finding a good angel to help your child obtain appropriate services. I write this testimonial so that other parents out there who are weighing the cost/benefits of hiring an advocate can consider an advocate like Carmen Carley who has a proven track record. We, as parents, need to maximize our precious resources too.
"We were so lost in this new world of special education and found a knowledgeable, caring and passionate guide who fought for our child like he was her own, we are forever grateful."
H.Z., PVPUSD, 2012
"The only thing I regret is not having hired Carmen Carley earlier, I will not do any future meetings without her, it is not worth the stress and having someone so passionate and capable in your corner at all times is so worth it!"
"Our child's success, growth and happiness would have not happened without Carmen."
A.S., Manhattan Beach, 2014
"There are no do-overs in this world of special needs, having Carmen Carley by our side on this journey has saved us a lot of time, agony and probably money. We cannot thank her enough and hope she never stops fighting for these kids!"
Andy, Rolling Hills Estates, 2015
"The perfect balance of courtesy and persistence, I would highly recommend Carmen Carley!"
Monica, San Pedro, 2015
JUDGES' RULINGS in favor of our clients:
•JESSICA M., Claimant v. SOUTH CENTRAL LOS ANGELES REGIONAL CENTER, Service Agency
•SETH F., Petitioner v. HARBOR REGIONAL CENTER, Respondent
•NATHAN f., Claimant v. HARBOR REGIONAL CENTER, Service Agency
•SETH F., Claimant v. HARBOR REGIONAL CENTER, Service Agency
•DANIEL M., Claimant v. HARBOR REGIONAL CENTER, Service Agency
•R. N., Petitioner v. REGIONAL CENTER OF ORANGE COUNTY, Respondent
•A.M., Claimant v. HARBOR REGIONAL CENTER, Service Agency
•ALIJAH G., Claimant v. HARBOR REGIONAL CENTER, Service Agency
•ALIJAH G., Claimant v. HARBOR REGIONAL CENTER, Service Agency •XG., Claimant v. SOUTH CENTRAL LOS ANGELES REGIONAL CENTER, Service Agency •L.B, Claimant v. WESTSIDE REGIONAL CENTER, Service Agency •L.B, Claimant v. WESTSIDE REGIONAL CENTER, Service Agency