Developmental Centers


Advocates Demand Governor’s Attention on California Developmental Centers

By Caroline Chen, Center for Investigative Reporting

Advocates for the developmentally disabled gathered today at the state Capitol to demand that Gov. Jerry Brown focus his attention on the 1,500 men and women living in California’s troubled board-and-care facilities, described by one resident as “hellholes.”

Waving a thick stack of reports in the air, Jacquie Dillard-Foss, CEO of Strategies to Empower People, which provides services for the disabled to live independently, said cases of patient abuse and neglect at the state’s five institutions had been recorded since the early 1990s, but with little response from the government.

“We know the problem has existed for decades,” Dillard-Foss said. “We are in the midst of a human crisis.”

The event in Sacramento comes a week after the California State Auditor released a scathing report detailing the failures of the Department of Developmental Services to protect the people who reside in its institutions in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Sonoma and Tulare counties.

A letter from the advocates in today’s event calls on Brown to appoint an administration official to respond to the audit’s findings. Continue reading

California Developmental Center Police Failed to Protect Patients, Audit Finds

By Elaine Korry, KQED

(Monica Lam/Center for Investigative Reporting)

(Monica Lam/Center for Investigative Reporting)

A state audit has found widespread safety problems at five residential centers for people with severe developmental disorders. It documents years of failures by the state Office of Protective Services, which is charged with resident safety at the centers.

The 76-page audit was requested by lawmakers following allegations of sexual molestation and physical assaults that had gone unpunished by the Office of Protective Services. OPS is the in-house oversight agency of the state Department of Developmental Services, which cares for 1,700 people with cerebral palsy, mental retardation and severe autism. In a telephone conference call, disability rights advocate Greg deGiere said the audit vindicates years of media investigations and family complaints.

“We’re talking about serial rapes, torture with tasers, at least one apparent homicide.”

“This audit is a scathing, devastating indictment of the state’s mismanagement of the developmental center residents’ safety,” said disability rights advocate Greg deGiere in a conference call. “Both the Department of Developmental Services and the Department of Public Health have failed to do their jobs and still are failing to do them adequately.” Continue reading