Advocacy Director’s Report

December 8, 2012 Report

 

This report represents a summary of the work Disability Rights California (DRC) advocacy programs and projects reported through September 30, 2012; some activities on the legislative and press front may be more current. I would like to thank those who provided the material to make this report possible.

COMMUNICATIONS

Four DRC issues featured in mainstream media
May 1 - September 30, 2012

Over this five month period, recurring media coverage of four key issues – discrimination in housing, accessibility of businesses, abuse of people with developmental disabilities and discrimination in healthcare provision – put a spotlight on DRC expertise on these topics and on its role in developing legislation or litigation in response.

In May the Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed piece by DRC and a fair housing advocacy group, calling attention to local efforts to discriminate against small group-homes under the guise of a need for new regulations to control overcrowding. In June, the Los Angeles Times social justice advocate Steve Lopez mostly agreed with us in a column, "Proposed LA Group Homes Law Needs Work,"  followed by a Los Angeles Times editorial stating the proposed law was too broad.

News stories in May and June highlighted the tension between small business owners concerned about the expense of accommodating customers with disabilities, and the disability community which, after 20 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act, expects community life to be more accessible. A flurry of bills were submitted proposing various protections for small businesses, such as notification periods before they could be sued for lack of access. DRC worked with the media (San Francisco Chronicle's business columnist, Sacramento Bee, Legal Newsline, and others) to explain how the proposed restrictions were violations of civil rights. In September, media reports noted DRC opposition to the bill SB 1186 and its role in negotiations that led to the inclusion of some provisions that would lead to access improvements to prevent litigation. Another accessibility story that reappeared this summer was the misuse of disabled parking placards and DRC was quoted in the media on this issue as well.

In August and September, starting with a story about abuse using a Taser, there were a series of investigative reports issued by California Watch and the Bay Citizen, looking into treatment of residents with developmental disabilities at five state institutions. DRC was quoted in print media and interviewed by ABC7 News Sacramento. Our role in strengthening legislation was noted in the media when two bills passed in the fall, requiring that abuse be reported to external law enforcement and to DRC. Subsequently, when abuse of a man by his caretakers was shown on CBS8 News in San Diego, DRC was interviewed, and featured as a resource.

In July, the DRC role in protecting people with disabilities from discrimination in healthcare was featured in multiple local stories illustrating the ongoing outrage of people found eligible by medical staff for the new Community Based Adult Service and then ineligible by subsequent administrative decision. In many articles, we explained the criteria that the Brown Administration had agreed to as settlement of a DRC lawsuit. A San Francisco Chronicle editorial stated it was appalled by the turnover of decisions and urged use of agreed criteria.

Following the Supreme Court's decision upholding the Federal Healthcare Reform Act, discussions began in the media about how California would grapple with changes to its insurance coverage of health benefits. We were quoted in the Bay Citizen and elsewhere about the impact of the new law on specific benefits of people with disabilities.

Communications Goals: Goal 1
Disability Rights California Staff: Barbara Duncan, Dan Brzovic, Deborah Doctor, Autumn Elliott, Elissa Gershon, Lauren Giardina, Margaret Johnson, Leslie Morrison
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access, Trust Fund

DRC press releases

From May to September, we issued six press releases covering: the Governor's May Budget Revision; Disability Capitol Action Day; our Voting Hotline for the June Primary; systemic problems at the Sonoma Developmental Center; Remembrance Day on September 17 in honor of people who died in state institutions; and the inaccessibility of the state's new online voting registration system.

Communications Goals: Goal 1
Disability Rights California Staff: Barbara Duncan
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access, Trust Fund, PAIMI, PAVA, PADD

Highlights of DRC web based communications work

Website and Facebook:
We produce hot topics and feature news, meetings, and links to videos about DRC priority issues. In this period, some of the topics featured were: technical, legislative and educational projects to improve voting for people with a disability; cases we provided amicus briefs for or otherwise support; the controversy around the delayed ADA regulations for hotel and motel swimming pools; local protests in June against IHSS cuts; and California studies about various disability groups, such as the higher suspension rates of students with disabilities.

Communications Goals: Goals 1 and 3
Disability Rights California Staff: Barbara Duncan
Grant/Funding Source(s): Trust Fund, Equal Access

Publication updates:
In publications, for the period May 1 to September 30, over 117 publications were created, updated or translated including the following: Public Benefits for People with Disabilities, Rights of Students with Disabilities, Department of Rehabilitation Services, and our CAP brochure was translated into Japanese per community request. Additionally, our Mental Health Stigma and Discrimination Reduction project created several new fact sheets including: Tips Towards Plain Language, People First Language in Mental Health, and Interpreters and Translators in Mental Health Settings.

Public Education Goals: Goal 1, Objective 2; Goal 2, Objective 2
Disability Rights California Staff: Adam Borovkoff
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access, CalMHSA

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITIES

NOTE: Legislative activities are current at the time this report is prepared, however, the legislature moves quickly and things can change overnight. For the most current information about legislative activities reported here, check our home page and legislative website: http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/ and http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/legislature/index.htm

Overview of the FY 2012-2013 state budget

Governor Brown released his 2012-2013 proposed budget on January 5, 2012. The proposed budget projected a deficit of $9.2 billion for 2012-13. The May Revision, released in mid-May, adjusted the deficit to $15.7 billion. The May Revision included more cuts to health and human services programs that people with disabilities need in order to stay in the community.

The budget was signed on June 27, 2012; and relied on the passage of the Governor’s ballot measure. Proposition 30 passed in the November election avoiding trigger cuts and ensuring additional revenue will be raised through tax increases. The tax measure includes nearly $7 billion in new revenue for 2011-12 and 2012-13; $2.5 billion of it will be used for schools and the rest to address the deficit in 2012-13.

We drafted letters and position statements on proposals in the budget that impact individuals with disabilities. We also attended and testified at budget hearings and met with budget committee staff on these proposals. 

We summarized the final budget proposals that affect people with disabilities. For more details see here: http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/legislature/budget/2012/2012-13%20Budget%20Summary_1.pdf

State budget advocacy

Budget advocacy-special education: behavioral intervention plans (BIP):
In the January budget proposal, the Governor proposed to eliminate the state’s behavioral intervention plan “mandate” for special education students. We believe that many of the behavioral intervention plan requirements are a federal requirement, not a state mandate. In 2010, we worked with the Legislative Analyst’s Office and budget staff to craft budget trailer bill language (AB 1610) which clarified that state law and regulations merely implement the federal requirements and give specificity and guidance where the federal government gave none. We believe AB 1610 relieved the state of its obligation to reimburse schools for these federally mandated services. The administration did not believe that the language in AB 1610 fully alleviated the state’s obligation, so it put forward this proposal to eliminate it completely. Through the budget process, we opposed the Governor’s proposal in budget committee hearings and met with budget staff to express our position and find out more information. The legislature rejected the Governor’s proposal.

Public Policy Goals: 3
Disability Rights California Staff: Evelyn Abouhassan, Melinda Bird, Catherine Blakemore, Deborah Doctor, Margaret Johnson, Maggie Roberts Brandon Tartaglia
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access, Trust Fund

Coordinated Care Initiative, including managed care for “duals”: Please see previous reports for background.
The legislature approved and the Governor signed a package of bills which comprise the Coordinated Care Initiative, or CCI. The CCI is a change in the way medical and long term services and supports are delivered to people on Medi-Cal in California. The CCI authorizes the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to move people who are dually eligible for Medi-Cal and Medicare into managed care in up to eight demonstration counties (which contain about 80% of the “duals” in the state); it moves long term services and supports (LTSS – including In Home Supportive Services or IHSS) into managed care in those counties, and it creates a statewide authority for IHSS, which will take over collective bargaining for IHSS home care workers in the demonstration counties.

While DRC supports the financial integration of long term services, if it is designed to further home and community-based services and lessen the use of institutions including nursing homes, we and many other groups and individuals have concerns about the speed and the scope of the CCI. The state intends to move the people and services into managed care as early as June 2013, although this depends on federal approval of the state’s plans.

Among other problems, the administration proposes to enroll people passively, with a six-month lock in, provisions which erode consumer choice. It also intends to eliminate new enrollment in certain home and community based Medicaid waivers, in the demonstration counties, without requiring that the waiver benefits be part of the managed care benefits package.

We are concerned about the capacity of the plans to serve the needs of people with disabilities and of the state to adequately manage, monitor and evaluate the demonstration’s effect on the lives of those affected. We are concerned about whether the rates paid to the plans will be sufficient to provide adequate services, and how anyone will know whether consumers will be offered what they need both on the acute and LTSS sides. So far, no rules have been released on what assessment tool will be used for LTSS or the qualifications of the assessors. We have no details about what or how quality will be measured, or how anyone will know whether this demonstration produced anything other than savings for the state.

We have participated in state-sponsored workgroups and, along with other legal services and consumer groups, raised questions about how this effort will work and how it will affect people with disabilities. We believe that the Administration should slow down, figure out all the components and details of the integration project, and start with managed care plans that show competence and readiness to adequately serve a population with service needs that the plans have not previously provided. 

Public Policy Goals:
Goal 3
Disability Rights California Staff: Deborah Doctor
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access

Update on sponsored legislation

SB 1377 (Corbett):
Please see previous reports for background. This bill amends state law to clarify that DRC, through our statutory access authority, has direct access to un-redacted citations and statements of deficiencies occurring in a program, facility, or service serving people with disabilities. The bill, authored by Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, was signed into law in September.

SB 1522 (Leno):
This bill requires developmental centers to immediately report the following critical incidents involving developmental center residents to local law enforcement: 1) a death; 2) a sexual assault, as defined in the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act; 3) an assault with a deadly weapon as defined in the state Penal Code; 4) an assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, as defined by penal code; and 5) an injury to the genitals when the cause of the injury is undetermined. The bill was signed into law in September.

SB 1051 (Liu/Emmerson):
The bill requires that incidents of suspected abuse and neglect involving elders and dependent adults be immediately reported and require DDS and state hospitals to report the following incidents to DRC by close of the following business day: 1) any unexpected or suspicious deaths; 2) any sexual assault allegation implicating the involvement of a developmental center or DDS employee; and 3) any reports made to local law enforcement. It also establishes minimum requirements for the Director of DDS Office of Protective Services (OPS) division. The bill was signed into law in September.

Update on other legislation


AB 1569 (Allen):
This bill extends a law that permits counties to provide court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) until January 2019. We opposed the bill because AOT services are not voluntary. We wrote letters in opposition, met with legislative staff to express our concerns and opposition, and testified as the bill moved through the legislature. The Governor signed the bill into law in September.

AB 2134 (Chesbro): This bill would have required a county that chooses to provide assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) to develop best practices for the purposes of responding to a mental health crisis, and to provide for services in connection with these best practices. It required that best practices include the utilization of crisis intervention teams, mobile crisis teams, or psychiatric emergency response teams, with an emphasis on peer support. We supported the bill through testimony and letters because the legislation was a positive step to protect clients’ rights. The bill did not pass the Senate Health Committee.

SB 1186 (Steinberg/Dutton): This bill: 1) requires a notice in leases for business tenants about any access inspections or lack of inspections; 2) requires information about access requirements to be distributed with business licenses; 3) provides a safe harbor for businesses who have made efforts to proactively comply with access laws and fix the violations within 60 days including a reduction in damages for those businesses; and 4) clarifies the deliverables of the California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA). It also includes a post-litigation damage reduction for small businesses that took no proactive steps to be accessible, which Disability Rights California opposed. We attended meetings that included some stakeholders from the disability community, representatives from the business groups and legislative staff. We reviewed and commented on language. We also met with members of the legislature explaining our concerns and opposition to the bill. The bill passed even with the opposition of most disability groups and was signed by the Governor in September.

AB 1729 (Ammiano): This bill authorizes a superintendent of a school district or principal to use alternatives to suspension or expulsion that are age appropriate and designed to address and correct the root causes of a pupil's specific misbehavior. We worked with the author’s office to include specific provisions to require an IEP meeting within three days whenever a student with a disability exhibited behavior that would subject that student to discipline under this bill. Unfortunately, those provisions were removed because of the potential cost issues. While the specific provision requiring an IEP meeting has been removed, the bill still makes it more likely that a student with a disability will receive a positive behavioral intervention to address their behavioral issues, instead of being suspended or expelled. We supported this bill throughout the process with letters, meetings with the author and sponsor, and testimony at hearings. The bill was signed into law in September.

AB 889 (Ammiano):
This bill would have changed the working conditions for domestic workers (including personal care assistants), who are not covered by overtime and other wage and hour rules, and would mandate certain benefits. (See details in previous Advocacy Director Reports.) The author took many amendments to limit the scope and costs of the bill, but almost all disability groups and many others remained opposed. We were involved in negotiations, trying to balance the rights of domestic workers to overtime with the effect that paying overtime would have on low-income people with disabilities. Shortly before the end of the two-year session, the author amended the bill to send the issue to the Department of Industrial Relations, at which point we removed our opposition. The Governor vetoed the bill.

AB 2531 (Allen):
This bill authorizes state hospitals to develop a list of contraband items that are prohibited on hospital grounds. It would require state hospitals to form a committee to develop the list. Originally, the list would only be reviewed and approved by the hospital director or designee, and would not be subject to the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).  Because of concerns about the lack of procedures and protections for patients, DRC’s Board authorized us to take an “oppose unless amended” position on the bill. We worked with the author’s office and were able to get amendments to the bill that allowed us to change to a “neutral” position on the bill. The bill was signed by the Governor in September.

AB 2623 (Allen):
This bill would have required hospital police officers (HPOs) to carry firearms when performing assigned functions outside the secure treatment area of the hospital. We opposed this bill because there is no need for HPOs to carry firearms and carrying them could actually pose a safety threat to patients and hospital staff. Methods already exist to address “high risk” patients, including transferring patients from the state hospital to a correctional facility under Welfare and Institutions Code section 7301. We wrote letters, testified in committee hearings and discussed our concerns with the author. This bill was passed by the legislature but was vetoed by the Governor.

AB 2282 (Berryhill): This bill required the California Commission on Disability Access to analyze and make recommendations to the Legislature regarding whether compliance with state and federal construction-related disability accessibility laws would be improved or potentially deterred by changes to state rules regarding legal standing for actions seeking injunctive relief to correct alleged violations of disability access laws or the manner by which these claims are pleaded. We supported the bill and testified in committees on the bill. The bill was held in Senate appropriations for fiscal concerns.

SB 9 (Yee): This bill gives courts the ability to reconsider an individual’s original sentence of life without parole for a crime committed prior to age 18 in light of mitigating factors, including the existence of a cognitive impairment. Under existing law, youth under age 18 may be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. This bill allows a prisoner who was under 18 years of age at the time of committing an offense and sentenced to life without parole to submit a court petition for recall and resentencing. The petition would contain a statement from the defendant that includes, among other things, his or her remorse and work towards rehabilitation. One of the criteria for the court to consider is whether the individual has cognitive limitations due to mental health or developmental disabilities that influenced the defendant’s involvement in the offense. The court could recall the original sentence of life without parole and re-sentence the individual based on its consideration of the petition. This bill was signed by the Governor in September.

Public Policy Goals: Goal 3
Disability Rights California Staff: Jackie Dai, Brandon Tartaglia, Evelyn Abouhassan, Margaret Johnson, Dan Brzovic, Michael Stortz, Melinda Bird, Catherine Blakemore, Deborah Doctor, Maggie Roberts, Leslie Morrison
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access, Trust Fund

Disability Capitol Action Day

We co-sponsored the ninth annual Disability Capitol Action Day at the State Capitol on May 30, 2012. Over 2,000 people attended. The event featured an educational forum, a march and rally at the Capitol, and legislative visits by consumer self-advocates. We chaired the coalition’s policy workgroup and decided the legislative priorities the coalition would emphasize. Our focus was on budget cuts that disproportionately impact people with disabilities. We also helped organize legislative visits and worked with the larger coalition on logistics.

Public Policy Goals: Goals 4, 5
Disability Rights California Staff: Deborah Doctor, Brandon Tartaglia
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access


SELF-ADVOCACY ACTIVITIES

DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
PEER SELF-ADVOCACY

Spring and summer trainings

We provided 40 trainings, presentations, and outreaches this quarter on a variety of topics such as: Abuse Prevention, Appeal Rights, California Memorial Project, DDPSA and Disability Rights California Services, Disability Etiquette when Representing Clients w/ Disabilities in Court, Effective Communication and Speaking Up for Your Rights, Employment, Independent Living Services, Individual Program Planning, Leadership, Poll Monitoring, Reducing Stigma and Discrimination, Regional Center Rights, Self-Advocacy, Self-esteem and Bullying, Transportation, and Voting Rights.
We provided trainings and outreach services to approximately 3,001 people and groups such as: San Diego People First Conference, United Cerebral Palsy Los Angeles, Whittier High School, Region 2 Conference in Redding, Self-Advocacy Conference Sacramento, Department of Developmental Services, United Cerebral Palsy San Diego, DDSO Employment Plus, Auburn People First, Westside Center for Independent Living, Bakersfield ARC, Deveraux, Pioneer Valley High School, Person Centered Services, Chico Leadership Conference, Sonoma Developmental Center, Fiesta Educativa, Bay Area People First Conference, ARCA New Day Conference, Area Board XIII Chula Vista, Area Board XIII Imperial County, Easer Seals Yuba City, Shasta County Vote Fair, Mt. Diablo People First, Peer Advocacy Connection Meeting, Parkview Cemetery in Manteca, Los Angeles County Bar, and the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy.

Developmental Disabilities Peer Self-Advocacy Goals:
Goal 1, Objective B
Disability Rights California Staff: Daniel Meadows, Scott Barron, Marinda Reed
Grant/Funding Source(s): PADD, PAVA

It’s great when the client takes the lead!

We helped C.G. develop her self-advocacy skills to advocate for the services she wanted at her IPP meeting. C.G. wanted to learn about supported employment services and how to get employment services. We told her about supported employment and her rights to employment services. We gave her information about her IPP rights and tips to use at IPP meetings. Due to the strength of her self-advocacy skills and the brief assistance from Disability Rights California staff, C.G. was successful in obtaining supported employment services as an IPP goal.

Developmental Disabilities Peer/Self Advocacy Goals: Goal 1, Objective A
Disability Rights California Staff: Daniel Meadows
Grant/Funding Source(s): PADD

Getting out the disability vote in the Southland


We trained monolingual and bilingual Latino groups in Imperial Valley and San Diego County on voting rights and the power of self-advocacy.

Sixty three people attended a session on voting rights in Chula Vista.  Participants were provided information about their voting rights, the importance of voting and civic participation, and the registration and voting process. People were shown how to research candidates’ records and ballot initiatives and told what to do if they encountered barriers during the voting process. The voting rights trainings were well received and some participants elected to register right away. Many other participants were interested to learn about the voting rights of people with disabilities as they had not previously had the opportunity to learn about these important civic rights.  

Developmental Disabilities Peer/Self Advocacy Goals:
Goal 1, Objective B
Disability Rights California Staff: Scott Barron
Grant/Funding Source(s): PAVA

Preventing abuse


Abuse prevention and rights training was given at Sonoma Developmental Center to 13 people. This training was the beginning of an ongoing effort to bring additional peer advocacy services such as rights in facilities and abuse prevention training to the people who live at the developmental center and staff. The training is designed to be particularly user friendly and easily understood by people with developmental disabilities and covers: what abuse is, how to recognize abuse, and how to get help if someone has been abused or sees abuse.

Developmental Disabilities Peer Self-Advocacy Goals: Goal 1, Objective B
Disability Rights California Staff: Marinda Reed, Daniel Meadows, OCRA staff
Grant/Funding Source: PADD

Let’s all get out and about (AKA the wheels on the bus…)

A new training module on public transportation rights and transportation services was launched at the People First of California Conference held in Bakersfield. This training topic is important for people with developmental disabilities as we often encounter difficulties with accessing transportation which create barriers to accessing the community. The training provides participants with information regarding transportation options, the rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities when riding public transportation, how to get assistance with transportation issues during the Individualized Program Planning process and tips on how to successfully navigate public transportation.

Developmental Disabilities Peer Self-Advocacy Goals:
Goal1, Objective B and C
Disability Rights California Staff: Marinda Reed, Daniel Meadows, Scott Barron
Grant/Funding Source: PADD

Continuing the important work with our community partners


DDPSAU staff networked during the review period with a number of self-advocacy groups and other community partners on mutual goals of advancing the rights of people with developmental disabilities, including the Self Advocacy Board of Los Angeles County, the Self Advocacy Coordination Project, The Consumer Advocate Network, Capitol People First, People First of California, The Statewide Self Advocacy Network and several regional center consumer advocacy committees and community organizations.

Developmental Disabilities Peer Self-Advocacy Goals:
Goal 2, Objective A
Disability Rights California Staff: Marinda Reed, Daniel Meadows and Scott Barron
Grant/Funding Source: PADD/PAVA/PABSS

Self Advocacy Board of Los Angeles contemplates a spring conference

We are liaisons to the Self Advocacy Board of Los Angeles County monthly. This group promotes self-advocacy and works on projects to help regional center consumers. Recently the group changed their bylaws to include people who have both a developmental disability and mental health disability. The group wants to be more inclusive and inviting to people with multiple disabilities. The group discussed hosting a self-advocacy conference during spring of 2013.

Developmental Disabilities Peer Self-Advocacy Goals:
Goal 2, Objective A
Disability Rights California Staff: Scott Barron
Grant/Funding Source: PADD/PAMI

PEER SELF-ADVOCACY

Training to public defenders

In response to PSA self-advocacy group members’ complaints about the difficulties they have working with public defenders in preparation for court hearings, we presented workshops to over 100 public defenders, private attorneys and county counsel in both Napa County and Los Angeles County to help them better understand clients’ needs and more effectively represent their expressed wishes in court. The training provided information about mental health conservatorship under the LPS Act, including clients’ rights to live in the “least restrictive” setting and to be informed about the array of voluntary services in their community prior to an involuntary commitment proceeding. There was also discussion about understanding the needs of clients with different disabilities to help improve attorney-client communication, emphasizing ways to reduce stigma and discrimination. We gave a resident’s-eye view of their experiences living in a state hospital. In addition, participants asked about the professional standards governing the role of counsel in commitment proceedings. We also provided information on services available to people served by the regional center system.

Developmental Disabilities Peer Self-Advocacy Goals: Goal 2, Objective A
Peer-Self-Advocacy: Goal 2, Objective B (Systems Advocacy)
Disability Rights California Staff: Debi Davis, Garnet Magnus, Michael Stortz, Sean Rashkis, Kevin Bailey, Scott Barron (DDPSA)
Grant/Funding Source(s): PADD, PAIMI, CalMHSA

Presenting the voices and experiences of clients

In collaboration with Humboldt County Health and Human Services Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Program, we organized and hosted a performance of the documentary film called “Voices that Heal”. This film, which was produced by Alex Goldenberg, tells the story of six individual’s unique journey toward recovery. After the film, a speaker’s panel of mental health clients discussed their own recovery experiences. Approximately 150 people attended from the community. This is just one of the ways that PSA staff helps present the needs and experiences of people with mental health disabilities to educate and inform the general public.

Peer-Self-Advocacy: Goal 1, Objective B (Workshops)
Disability Rights California Staff: Rob Chittenden
Grant/Funding Source(s): PAIMI

Self-advocacy group members experience growth and independence

As self-advocacy group members at Crestwood – Redding and El Progresso in Los Angeles learn about a variety of topics, such as: patients’ rights, Lanterman Petris Short conservatorship, court hearings, the Americans with Disabilities Act and housing options, they report personal growth through their participation in the PSA self-advocacy group. Several clients reported that they feel confident when they attend the self-advocacy group and they are participating more in group discussions. They say the group’s support gives them the strength and confidence to advocate for themselves and helps improve their feelings of self-worth. Since learning about ways to get off conservatorship and out of facilities and about available housing options, many group members now live independently in the community. This is an example of how learning and participating in PSA self-advocacy groups helps clients grow and gain their freedom and independence.

Peer-Self-Advocacy: Goal 1, Objective A (Self-Advocacy Groups)
Disability Rights California Staff: Mark Olberg, Senobia Pichardo
Grant/Funding Source(s): PAIMI

Learning about the voting process

We presented a series of workshops on voting rights for residents at Caring Village in Orange County. Approximately 16 residents participated in a joint project to learn more about voter registration and the voting process for the upcoming November election. As part of the project, participants verified their voting status with their conservators and informed the county election official of their current address and registration status. We found that many did not receive confirmation of their voter registration, either because it went directly to their conservator or because it was sent to the wrong mailing address. As a result, some workshop participants had to re-register to vote. In addition to learning about and experiencing challenges in the voter registration process, participants discussed the different initiatives and candidates that will be on the November ballot. On Election Day, facility staff will transport residents to the polling place, and we will be available to assist and answer any questions related to the voting process.  Additional voter trainings were provided to self-advocacy group members in Sonoma County, where PSA staff presented two voting workshops, after which approximately seven people registered to vote.

Peer-Self-Advocacy: Goal 1, Objective B (Workshops)
Disability Rights California Staff: Garnet Magnus, Leo Alfaro
Grant/Funding Source(s): PAVA, Sonoma County

Preparing for discharge from the facility

Residents who participate in the “Hour of Power” self-advocacy group at View Heights IMD in Los Angeles are learning how to prepare for case conferences and treatment team meetings to be successfully discharged from the facility. We work with group members on their personal wellness and hygiene and encourage them to ask questions about their medications and treatment plan. Having learned about their right to live in the “least restrictive” setting when they get discharged, some residents have visited different community living options, such as board and care homes and assisted living facilities. With the support of the self-advocacy group, members are getting ready for life “on the outside.”

Peer-Self-Advocacy: Goal 1, Objective A (Self-Advocacy Groups)
Disability Rights California Staff: Rosy Tellez
Grant/Funding Source(s): PAIMI

California Memorial project

The 10th anniversary of CMP Remembrance Day Ceremonies held throughout the state

This was the 10th year of our annual CMP Remembrance Ceremonies, which were held at institutions and burial sites across the state to honor people with psychiatric and developmental disabilities who lived and died at state hospitals and developmental centers. Approximately 435 people attended the ceremonies at the following nine sites: Agnews Developmental Center, Sonoma Developmental Center, Parkview Cemetery in Manteca, East Lawn Cemetery in Ukiah, Stockton Rural Cemetery in Stockton, two at Napa State Hospital (one for residents and one for the community), Patton State Hospital and Metropolitan State Hospital. Clients and members from the community and some residents who currently live in the institutions shared their personal experiences through stories, songs and poems. For the first time at Napa State Hospital, staff read the names of residents who had died in the past year and invited people to talk about them and others they had known. At Agnews Developmental Center, the CMP museum was open during the ceremony. Flowers were laid at the sites of memorial monuments that the CMP has placed throughout the state, including ones in Stockton, Ukiah and at Patton State Hospital.

Developmental Disabilities Peer Self-Advocacy Goals: Goal 2, Objective A
Peer-Self-Advocacy: Goal 2, Objective A (Systems Advocacy)
Disability Rights California Staff: Alicia Mendoza, Jenny Olson, Martha Cook, Yvonne Mcgough, Brenda Calderon, Sheryl Bradford, Rob Chittenden, Mark Olberg, Debi Davis, Leo Alfaro, Senobia Pichardo, Rosy Tellez, Garnet Magnus, Robyn Gantsweg, Marinda Reed, Daniel Meadows, Scott Barron
Grant/Funding Source(s): PAIMI, PADD