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Task Force Established for Developmental Centers

State of California HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AGENCY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Contact: (916) 654-3304

May 22, 2013

California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana S. Dooley to Establish Task Force for State Developmental Centers

Sacramento – California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Diana S. Dooley today announced she will establish a Task Force on the Future of the Developmental Centers.  The Task Force will include a cross-section of consumers, family members, regional centers, consumer advocates, community service providers, organized labor, and the Department of Developmental Services.

The Task Force will be charged to develop a Master Plan that addresses the service needs of all developmental center residents, the fiscal and budget implications of the declining population, the aging infrastructure, staffing, and resource constraints, the availability of community resources to meet the specialized needs of residents now living in the developmental centers, a timeline for future closures and the statutory and regulatory changes that may be needed to ensure the delivery of  cost-effective, integrated, quality services for this special population.

The challenges facing the residents of the state developmental centers are not new and not easily solved.  Until the landmark Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act was adopted in 1969 to establish community-based alternatives, the only care option available to families of children with developmental and intellectual disabilities was state-operated hospitals. Since then, federal and state legal mandates have contributed to the deinstitutionalization of more than 10,000 former developmental center residents and made significant investments in community-based resources.  Today, California operates four large, old developmental centers and one small community facility serving a total of 1,510 residents with a budget of $545 million.

Last year, this Administration sponsored legislation, which placed a moratorium on new admissions to the developmental centers, required all residents to be assessed to determine if community services are available to meet their needs, and prioritized resources to reduce state and local institutionalization.  As the combination of this admission moratorium, legal mandates, and investments in community-based services are decreasing the developmental center population by approximately 200 residents per year, continued operation of four large institutions is increasingly inefficient and cost prohibitive.

Secretary Dooley said in announcing the establishment of the Task Force, “The health and safety of citizens served by the developmental disabilities service system is a high priority for California therefore we must provide services to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in the most integrated setting available to meet their needs and to avoid unnecessary institutionalization.”

The Secretary will make appointments to the task force by June 1, 2013 and will convene the first meeting by June 15.  The Task Force will complete its work by November 15 and produce a written Master Plan that addresses:

1. The effective and efficient delivery of integrated services to meet the specialty needs of developmental center residents; and

2. The fiscal implications of developmental center operations, including the cost of resident care and services, maintenance of aging infrastructure, and utilization of existing resources.

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