Sacramento, CA – With the Sonoma Developmental Center slated for closure, nearly 400 of the most medically fragile patients in the state system will be transitioning into the community system with no developmental center to fall back on if the placement fails. In fact, across the state, over 1,000 developmental center residents will be moved out over the next five years.
Currently, there is no mandate to monitor and evaluate the transition of residents from Developmental Centers to the community and ensure our state follows through with its commitment to provide appropriate services to developmentally disabled Californians.
But today, this has changed with Governor Jerry Brown signing Senator Mike McGuire’s legislation creating a quality of life tracking study for transitioning residents as they move from developmental center care to community care. The study will track a minimum of 250 residents from the closing Developmental Centers for two consecutive years from the time they leave their developmental center.
“This new tracking study will hold the state accountable and bring needed transparency to the transition process. We’re at a defining moment for our state as major changes are made to the system of care for California’s developmentally disabled residents,” Senator McGuire said. “We have to ensure that as Developmental Centers are slated for closure, we are closely monitoring the health and well-being of residents so that immediate steps can be taken during this transition if appropriate services and housing are not being provided.”
SB 982 will be an important tool for developmental center residents and their families by assuring the State is providing the services needed for residents to thrive in the community.
Specifically, this bill will track transitioning residents and their family’s satisfaction with the process, the adequacy of services they are receiving in the community along with their satisfaction of their new housing. The legislation also requires the Department of Developmental Disability Services to report to the legislature annually on the outcomes of these mandated surveys.
Additionally, it will enable the state to learn from and correct any challenges that may arise from the transition in real time, and will provide transparency and accountability on the state’s investment and responsibility to the Developmentally Disabled community.
“Given the fact that there will no longer be any developmental centers to fall back on if residents have challenges in the community, a comprehensive study - focused on the well-being of Developmental Center residents - should be required and we are grateful that Governor Brown agreed,” Senator McGuire said.
The Legislative Analyst Office agrees that the state needs greater monitoring of those who are moving from Developmental Centers into the community. This bill is supported by the County of Sonoma, Disability Rights California, the Sonoma Parent Hospital Association, SEIU 100 among others. The legislation also passed both the Senate and Assembly with no votes in opposition.
Senator McGuire, who represents the region that includes the Sonoma Developmental Center, which is scheduled for closure, has spent the past two years working with state and local officials, families, residents, staff and providers to ensure a safe and seamless transition for the nearly 400 medically fragile residents who call the SDC home. At SDC, the state is currently over 50 percent behind in its goal of moving residents into the community.