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Advocacy Director’s Report
December 7, 2013 Report

This report represents a summary of the work Disability Rights California (DRC) advocacy programs and projects reported through September 30, 2013; 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.




Highlights of DRC Coverage in Mainstream Press

May — a Los Angeles Times story (May 26) of how new federal home care rules could severely restrict homecare quoted legislative advocate Deborah Doctor. She clarified that DRC opposes the rules because required overtime pay for homecare workers would put care in the home out of reach for many people with disabilities;

— A new widely-reported government website about the Supreme Court Olmstead decision and related cases ( ) showcases DRC work, including three recent class action cases (Darling, Oster & Napper);

July — we worked with the National Disability Rights Network to outline positions for the press against the subminimum wages now permitted by many sheltered workshops and certain organizations to be paid to workers with disabilities and Disability Scoop (July 30) reported this campaign;

—Leslie Morrison was interviewed by public radio Pacifica's evening news (July 19), about abuse at state developmental centers. She noted it is critical to handle complaints about sexual and other abuse quickly and professionally so that evidence can support filing of criminal cases;

August — in early August the Modesto Bee reported that a DRC supported bill (AB 420) to reduce suspensions of students with disabilities was now a two year bill; another DRC supported bill, allowing voters with disabilities to use signature stamps for online registration, was signed by the Governor (Napa Valley Register);

September — for the first time, the Spanish language press covered Remembrance Day in depth, with a feature story in La Opinion (September 18) about the ceremony at Metropolitan State Hospital. Advocate Senobia Pichardo was quoted about DRC work, and also tied the past to today, noting how important it is to help youth undergoing mental health crises;

October — three of our sponsored bills (two improving choices and cultural competency for people with developmental disabilities, and one protecting residents of state institutions from sex crimes) signed by the Governor, were reported in Press Enterprise and SCV News. This success also resulted in an interview of senior legislative advocate Evelyn Abouhassan by the popular NPR Morning Report;

— "Killed over a movie ticket" was a lead story (October 6) in the online cultural magazine, Salon, about the fatal police beating of a movie aficionado who happened to have Down’s syndrome. Leslie Morrison was quoted concerning ways that training of first responders can include more disability awareness.

Communications Goal(s): Goal 2
DRC Staff: Deborah Doctor, Leslie Morrison, Senobia Pichardo, Evelyn Abouhassan, Barbara Duncan
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access, Trust Fund


Press Releases

We issued four press releases, one on May 24, announcing the settlement of our case to ensure that 21 year old Pablo Carranza and others could continue to receive skilled nursing care from Medicaid at home; and three on October 10, celebrating that our sponsored bills (noted above) had been signed into law.

Communications Goal(s): Goal 2
DRC Staff: Maria Iriarte, Melinda Bird, Evelyn Abouhassan, Barbara Duncan
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access, Trust Fund


Website, Social Media and Publications

Website: In April 2012, we averaged about 600 website visitors a day; between by September 2013 we averaged 1,100 visits per day. The top five pages visited during the report period were: homepage (131,788); about us and contact us (22,057); services (13,076); publications (12,529) and jobs (7,789).

Work on converting all our webpages to the format and improved navigation of the homepage will be completed by approximately April 2014.

Facebook: The traffic driven by our Facebook page to our website has also increased, by around 45%. It is still too early to analyze traffic data from Twitter. (Traffic is the flow of visitors on virtual highways to a website — examples of a virtual highway are our Facebook page or search engines such as Google or Yahoo.)

We post to Facebook three or four times a day and are still learning what combination of topic, text and graphic draw attention. For example, we posted information on our Facebook page about our three bills as they progressed through the legislature to the Governor’s signature. We had between 588-625 visits during the time we reported on the bills.

Other postings during the report period drawing above 500 visits included: government shutdown's impact on people with disabilities — 518; our publication announcements — 550+; Remembrance Day moment of silence — 620; 27 things you'll only know if you use a wheelchair - 801; and teen model with Down syndrome hired — 909.

Twitter: We have tweeted news and announcements approximately 800 times since we intensified use of our Twitter account in May 2013, resulting in 2047 followers as of September 30, 2013. Our Facebook friends (those who "like" us) now number 1873, having slowly increased since June 2012 when they numbered 1200. This trend reflects global patterns, with Twitter use outpacing Facebook growth and certain groups, such as youth, beginning to abandon their FB pages.

YouTube: We have selected "Integrated Competitive Employment" as the topic for a YouTube video. The goal is to explain a complicated concept well enough so viewers will get information that they need to make decisions about seeking integrated competitive employment.

Publications: The top five downloaded publications were: Special Education (SERR) manual, Rights Under the Lanterman Act (RULA), the IHSS Nuts & Bolts Manual, Confidentiality of Mental Health Records/Information and Restraint & Seclusion in California Schools — a failing grade.

Communications Goal(s): Goal 3, Objectives A, B, C, and D
DRC Staff: Diana Duffy, Adam Borovkoff, Barbara Duncan
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access, Trust Fund



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: and


Sponsored Bills

SB 468 (Emmerson, Beall): The Governor signed into law SB 468. The bill creates a voluntary statewide Self-Determination Program which provides participants and their families with an individual budget, greater control over decisions, resources and needed services and supports to implement their Individualized Program Plan (IPP). The program will allow consumers and families the creativity and flexibility to work with an independent facilitator and financial manager to determine what services or supports will work best. The program will be phased in over three years, initially serving up to 2,500 consumers. After the three years the program will be available on a voluntary basis to all eligible regional center consumers. The bill requires the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to access federal dollars by transferring existing self determination pilot participants into the program. This generates between $2.5 and $3 million in additional federal revenue and the funds will be used to offset DDS’s and regional center administrative costs, including criminal background checks for the program and parent and consumer training.

We drafted language, developed fact sheets, met with stakeholders, legislative staff, and the administration as the measure progressed. DRC staff also testified in committee and drafted letters in support.

SB 555 (Correa). The Governor signed into law SB 555. The bill reinforces existing law to make it clear that regional centers, as recipients of state and federal dollars, must comply with the language access requirements of Part C of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 USC. Sec.1400 et seq.) and California Government Code sections 11135-11139.7 and their implementing regulations.

SB 555 provides that: 1) regional centers must communicate and give written materials in the family’s native language during the assessment, evaluation, and planning process for the Individualized Family Service Plan; and 2) regional centers must communicate in the individual’s native language during intake, assessment, and planning process for the IPP and provide a copy of the IPP in the native language. We worked with legislative staff, drafted amendments, and met with stakeholders including members of the administration as the bill moved through the legislative process. We testified at committee hearings and informed the public about the measure to encourage passage.

SB 651 (Pavley): The Governor signed into law SB 651. The bill requires that state hospitals and developmental centers provide a resident who is a victim or suspected victim of sexual assault with a medical evidentiary examination at an off-site facility, or on-site by an independent forensic examiner. Currently, when there is a suspected sexual assault in a state hospital or developmental center, the investigations are handled internally by those who work for the facility. Few incidents are ever referred to an outside sexual assault response team, who have the specialized training and equipment needed to properly investigate such incidents. The bill also makes it a violation and creates penalties for a developmental center’s failure to report incidents of abuse or neglect. We advocated for this bill through talks with stakeholders, meetings with legislative and department staff, letters to legislators, and testimony at hearings.

AB 961 (Levine): AB 961 would have authorized the Department of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Social Services to publish unredacted citations involving facilities larger than 15 beds, without reporting client specific information. The minimum size limitation was to further ensure the confidentiality of the individual(s) involved in the citation. It required the DPH to issue survey findings and citations within an established timeframe, with more critical incidents (those involving death or serious injury) receiving priority. It required DPH to publish a report or report to the Legislature on annual compliance with the timeframes. This bill would have improved the timeliness of investigations and better inform the public of incidents of abuse and neglect. AB 961 bill passed through the Assembly Health and Judiciary Committees but, due to cost concerns, it failed to pass out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SB 550 (Jackson): SB 550 would increase the supply of affordable accessible housing for people with disabilities including seniors. It directs the California Building Standards Commission to adopt standards requiring public housing – housing built with specified sources of public money – to include at least 10% and no less than 1 unit that are fully accessible for people with mobility disabilities and 4% and no less than 1 unit that are fully accessible by people with vision or hearing disabilities. Federal law requires that priority for accessible housing be given to people who need the access features in federally funded housing. SB 550 would confirm this priority for housing built with state funds.

We documented the need for more accessible housing through data on the income levels of people with disabilities overall, specific data on the income of California households which include people who use mobility devices, and an estimate of the number of people with visual or hearing impairments in California. We negotiated with the non-profit housing developers, who came to support the bill, and with the private housing construction industry and apartment owners, in hopes that they would support the measure. SB 550 enjoyed support from disability groups but did not move from Senate Appropriations because of a modest associated cost. We hope to move it in January 2014.

Public Policy Advocacy Goal(s): Goal 1
DRC Staff: Leslie Morrison, Brandon Tartaglia, Evelyn Abouhassan, Catherine Blakemore, ThoVinh Banh, Deborah Doctor, Dara Schur
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access, Trust Fund


Bills the Board Legislative Committee Approved Positions On

SB 585 (Steinberg): SB 585 (Steinberg) clarified that services provided under the assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) law may be provided pursuant to the procedures specified in the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) as well as all other statutes providing dedicated mental health funds to counties. The bill provides that AOT services can be provided with MHSA funds only if the county’s MHSA plan provides for it. The bill clarifies that decisions to fund AOT with MHSA funds can occur during the county budget process as long as all other provisions of the MHSA are followed. DRC had a neutral position on the bill. The bill was signed into law by the Governor.

SB 260 (Hancock): This bill required the Board of Parole Hearings to: 1) conduct a youth opportunity review hearing to consider release of offenders who committed specified crimes prior to being 18 years of age and who were sentenced to state prison and; 2) give great weight to specified mitigating factors, including fundamental differences between juveniles and adults, and a juvenile’s diminished culpability as compared to that of an adult. One of the mitigating factors for the Board of Parole Hearings to consider includes the juvenile’s physical and mental development at the time of the offense and the impact of physical or mental impairments in combination with youthfulness. Disability Rights California supported this bill and it was signed into law by the Governor.

SB 755 (Wolk): This bill would have prohibited a person court ordered to receive assisted outpatient treatment from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Current law limits the right of individuals under certain forensic commitments and Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS) conservatorships from the possession, custody, or control of a firearm. For individuals placed under an LPS conservatorship, the court must make a specific finding that possession of a firearm would present a danger to the safety of the person or to others. See WIC §8103(e)(1). The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution confers an individual right to keep and bear arms subject to certain limitations. Since an individual ordered to an outpatient commitment would have automatically lost the right to possess a firearm, this bill would have provided individuals under an outpatient commitment with no due process related to possession of a firearm. Disability Rights California opposed the bill unless amended. The bill was vetoed by the Governor.

SB 364 (Steinberg): This bill made changes to the Lanterman Petris Short (LPS) Act so that people are treated and released quickly rather than remaining in hospital emergency departments. It encourages counties to serve people on a voluntary basis, even after being placed on a custodial hold. It encourages counties to develop training programs for designated staff about the LPS Act to help ensure people with mental health disabilities are treated appropriately and in least restrictive environments. It updates and strengthens advisements given to clients; including ensuring property is safeguarded when a person is taken into a custodial hold. Disability Rights California supported the bill and it was signed into law by the Governor.

Public Policy Goal(s): Goal 1
DRC Staff: Evelyn Abouhassan, Brandon Tartaglia, Deborah Doctor, Margaret Johnson, Dan Brzovic
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access, Trust Fund


Update on Other Advocacy


Special Education: Behavioral Intervention Plans

In the January 2013-14 state budget, the Governor proposed to eliminate the state’s behavioral intervention plan “mandate” for special education students and align state law with federal law. Behavioral intervention plans (BIP) are plans that are based on a functional assessment and promote positive interventions for a student when behavior, because of disability, impedes learning or the learning of other students. The Governor’s plan eliminated the state law on behavior intervention planning and its implementing regulations and replaced them with narrower requirements.

The final budget modified the BIP mandate to align it more closely with federal law while maintaining important protections for students with disabilities. It requires that assessments and positive behavioral interventions and supports be developed and implemented in a manner informed by federal guidance and technical assistance provided by the Office of Special Education Programs. The budget also provides $230,000 in one-time federal funds to the Department of Education to develop technical assistance advisories for schools that reflect federal laws and regulations, research and best practice. The Department of Education is required to establish a stakeholder group to guide these activities; Disability Rights California is a member. Leading up to these changes, we worked with stakeholders and legislative budget staff to keep many of the state protections and testified on the issue.

Public Policy Advocacy Goal(s): Goal 1
DRC Staff: Brandon Tartaglia, Catherine Blakemore, Evelyn Abouhassan, Maggie Roberts, Leslie Morrison
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access, Trust Fund


Disability Capitol Action Day (DCAD)

This year was the 10th anniversary of Disability Capitol Action Day. It was held on May 22, 2013, and 2,500 participants attended from all over the state. We worked with several other disability organizations to create a unified disability policy platform for the event, including The Arc, Californians for Disability Rights, and the California Association of Public Authorities. The platform was distributed at the event to inform the public and the legislature about major bill and budget issues affecting people with disabilities. It was used to train attendees so they could be better informed when making legislative visits on the day of the event. Some of the items on the platform included, restoration of IHSS cuts, the Coordinated Care Initiative, mental health parity, affordable housing, and disabled student program services funding.

Public Policy Goal(s): Goal 2
DRC Staff: Brandon Tartaglia, Deborah Doctor
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access


Coordinated Care Initiative

The 2012 budget authorized the Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI), by which persons eligible for both Medicare and Medi-Cal (dual eligibles) will receive medical, behavioral, long-term supports and services including home- and community-based services, through a managed care health plan in eight demonstration counties (Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, and Santa Clara).

CCI contains three key components: 1) Cal MediConnect – individuals who receive Medi-Cal and Medicare (dual eligible) and who elect to receive both Medi-Cal and Medicare through a managed care plan, 2) mandatory enrollment of dual eligibles (including those who opt out of Medi-Connect for their Medicare services) into Medi-Cal managed care for their Medi-Cal services including long term services and supports, and 3) movement of long-term supports and services into managed care for duals and for seniors and persons with disabilities (who are already in managed care for their Medi-Cal). The original statute named certain conditions, which if not met would kill the CCI and links these components together so that each component could not go forward exclusive of the other. In 2013, the legislature amended the CCI statute to allow any component to go forward without the others, and pushed the start date to no earlier than April 1, 2014.

DRC staff, in joint advocacy with other organizations before and during the budget process, pushed to improve the possible outcomes for individuals with disabilities in the following areas: 1) the role of independent ombudsman; 2) increasing transparency; 3) ensuring appropriate Long Term Care Services and Supports and; 4) improving state plan readiness, scope, and speed of the roll-out.

Public Policy Goal(s): Goals 1 and 2
DRC Staff: Deborah Doctor, Dan Brzovic, Elissa Gershon
Grant/Funding Source(s): Equal Access




H.M. Gets Help with “Speaking Up”

H.M. requested peer advocacy services to develop her self-advocacy skills and become confident in making her wishes known. Due to her disability, H.M. is very shy about talking to others. This means, often, she cannot tell others what her hopes, dreams, wishes and choices are. We worked with H.M. to help her find other ways to express herself, such as typing or speaking through her communication device. H.M. is now more comfortable communicating using alternate formats. When needed we provide self advocacy support when she needs to make important phone calls to her case manager. For the first time, she is planning to chair her IPP meeting with our support and peer advocacy coaching where she will request an increase in her independent living skills services. We anticipate that in the future, H.M. will become even more effective using her “voice” regardless of the format of the words with people in her life such as her case manager, roommate and family.

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

Training and Outreach


Summary of Training and Outreach

During the report period DDPSA staff provided 50 trainings, presentations, and outreaches on a variety of topics such as: abuse prevention, appeal rights, California Memorial Project, civic participation and voting rights, Disability Rights California services, disaster preparedness, effective communication and speaking up for your rights, individual program planning, leadership, living options, managed care, reducing stigma and discrimination, relationship rights, self-esteem and bullying, supported employment and Social Security benefits, and transportation.

By providing these services we increased individuals’ understanding of their rights and service options. We trained approximately 1,621 people who receive disability related services at groups, programs and facilities such as: Canyon Springs Developmental Center, Westside Center for Independent Living, Sonoma Developmental Center, the Statewide Self-Advocacy Conference in Sacramento, the San Diego People First Conference, Marysville People First, Mt. Diablo People First, Placerville People First, On My Own in Sacramento, Peer Advocacy Connection Regional Meeting, Bakersfield Arc, Downey Independent Living Center, People First of California Statewide Conference in San Jose, Disability Resource Center of Long Beach, Thumbs Up, Alhambra Independent Living Center, West Covina Independent Living Center, Stockton Rural Cemetery, Parkview Cemetery Manteca, and Tri County Self-Advocacy Conference.


Getting the Vote Out During Youth Leadership Week

The Downey Independent Living Center (ILC) in Southeast Los Angeles promotes disability pride and passion. Downey ILC provides job development and other services. Downey ILC staff support individuals with disabilities to transform their lives through choice for how they live, work and participate in the community. During the Summer Youth Leadership Week program we provided Voting Rights and Civic Participation trainings at several ILCs in the greater Los Angeles area. We encouraged participating youth to become more involved in voting and civic engagement in their communities. One of the locations for our training was the Downey ILC. Thirteen young adults participated. We covered basic voting rights including eligibility to vote, how to register, where to pick up voter registration cards, accessibility and the different ways to cast a ballot. Presenters spoke about how voting is a right. We also discussed that people who receive support to vote due to a disability have the right to chose who to vote for and remain free from influence by the people providing assistance. We also spoke about job and volunteer opportunities that civic engagement can lead to such as becoming a poll worker. After the presentation, we accompanied the group to the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder equipment warehouse where participants learned about the different types of voting equipment.

Abuse Prevention Training at Sonoma Developmental Center

Over the past several years, much information has come to light regarding abuse and rights violations against people who live at Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC). In order to help prevent this sort of abuse, we modified an Abuse Prevention Training module to make it more user friendly for people who live in a developmental center. We provided training to people in SDC in their day programs and residential units. We successfully established an ongoing presence at SDC as a result of our training. We expect to continue this training effort next year.

Developmental Disabilities Peer Self-Advocacy Goal(s): Goal 1, Objective B
DRC Staff: Marinda Reed, Daniel Meadows, Scott Barron, Alicia Mendoza, Jenny Olson
Grant/Funding Source(s): PADD, PAVA, PAMI

Stigma and Discrimination Reduction in Employment

We worked to challenge the stigma and discrimination people with developmental and mental health disabilities face when seeking employment or at the workplace. We outreached to people with both developmental and mental health labels about their employment rights and options as well as services available to them to seek or reenter the workforce.

Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Goal(s): Goal 1, Objective A
DRC Staff: Daniel Meadows, David Solis
Grant/Funding Source(s): CalMHSA

Systemic Advocacy: Employment

We worked in collaboration with others at Disability Rights California to develop a fact sheet on supported employment as a first step towards increasing access to integrated work options for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We began developing an employment rights PowerPoint on the same subject.

Developmental Disabilities Peer Self-Advocacy Goal(s): Goal 2, Objective A
DRC Staff: Daniel Meadows
Grant/Funding Source: PADD
Systemic Advocacy: Community Integration

We worked with other Disability Rights California staff on development of a survey to gather information about consumer and family member satisfaction with regional center services and factors that discourage people served by the regional center system from pursuing due process appeals with regional centers and provider agencies. We expect the survey will help us develop training, materials and other strategies to address the impediments to pursing due process rights.

Developmental Disabilities Peer Self-Advocacy Goal(s): Goal 2, Objective B
DRC Staff: Marinda Reed
Grant/Funding Source: PADD



Peer Self Advocacy Group Successes


Redding Peer Self Advocacy Groups Learn Self Advocacy Skills

The peer self advocacy group at a wellness center Second Home, is a popular group with many homeless people who attend. Recently the group learned about housing options and budgeting. The group is currently studying self advocacy skills. As a result of the group sessions, many group members have applied for Social Security benefits and housing.

Another group is at Crestwood Redding Wellness Center, which is a locked facility in Redding. Group members are primarily focused on learning how to get out of the facility and off conservatorship. Preparing for a court hearing is a popular group topic. The group has also focused on self advocacy skills, discharge planning and patients’ rights.


Napa State Hospital Workshop

For the first time in over four years, we are offering a several week workshop on Lanterman Petris Short (LPS) Act conservatorship rights to residents in Program 4, an LPS Unit at Napa State Hospital. Residents who came to the workshop stated they want to learn how to get off conservatorship. The workshop will continue once a week until November 8, 2013.
Since most of our Napa State Hospital peer self advocacy work is with forensic residents at the self-help office, this workshop provides us an opportunity to work with LPS residents.

San Diego Ready for Change

At the Corner Clubhouse self-advocacy group, three group members made plans to talk to their doctors about medication changes because of medication side effects. We helped them gain self advocacy skills and practice talking to their doctors. As a result two successfully got their medication changed. One of the individuals reported feeling better and more confident as a result of talking to the doctor. His success helped the others in the group feel more hopeful and confident in speaking to their doctors.

Other group members are working to obtain a place of their own and have developed action plans to do so. They have started saving for the security deposit and check apartment ads several times a week. In the past they felt discriminated against because of their disability, but as a result of being in the peer self advocacy group they are aware of their housing rights. They also understand housing resources such as Section 8 and low income housing.

People in the group report they feel more confident about advocating for themselves in general. One person said he now understood he had a right to ask questions about things he had not questioned before. He also reported that he realized that self advocacy sometimes includes asking for help from people and that there was “nothing wrong with that.”


Telling Stories in Humboldt County to Reduce Stigma and Discrimination

Members of the Hope Center’s self advocacy group, a consumer run center in Eureka, have joined “Seeds of Understanding,” the county’s speakers collective. The collective goes into the community telling stories of recovery and wellness. Members have found being a part of the collective helps them at the same time that it educates the community and helps change minds. The collective’s goal is to help reduce stigma and discrimination throughout the county.


Individual Successes in Sonoma County

An individual from the Russian River Empowerment Center was having problems with Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The stairs to her second- level apartment were in disrepair and a safety hazard, but her landlord asked her to pay to have them fixed. Since recently her rent had increased because HUD lowered what they covered for her rent, she did not have the money to pay for the repairs. At first, the group member feared that there was no solution to the problem and she might have to move out, even though she was happy living there. However, in the self-advocacy group, she learned how to search the Disability Rights California website for useful information and publications about her housing rights and resources to help her. She hadn’t realized she had options to resolve this issue, which included requesting that the fire department inspect the property for safety hazards, which would mean the landlord would have to repair the steps.

Another group member can regularly attend and actively participate in the Wellness and Advocacy Center group because she is now able to use public transportation. Previously, the member was very uncomfortable in public. With encouragement from group members, she began participating in the meetings and sharing eye contact with her peers instead of sitting in the corner. With increased self-confidence, she takes the Wellness Center shuttle to attend group rather than depend on her family to take her. She now consistently attends group and participates in her community rather than staying at home. For additional support, she joined an LGBTQI group at a different location that focuses on transgender issues. Not only has this group member learned self-advocacy skills to achieve her goal, but other group members, her peers, used their own self-advocacy skills to help her reach her goal.

Peer-Self-Advocacy Goal(s): Goal 1, Objective A (Self-Advocacy Groups) and B (Workshops)
DRC Staff: Rob Chittenden, Leonard Alfaro, Lisa Hurley, Debi Davis
Grant/Funding Source(s): PAIMI, Sonoma Contract


CalMHSA Activities

Peer self advocacy staff participated in eight CalMHSA outreach activities. For example, we participated in San Diego Stand Down. Stand downs are part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ effort to provide services to homeless veterans many of who have psychiatric disabilities. In addition to speaking with the homeless veterans, we spoke with many of the other service providers who attended. Participants and other providers seemed most interested in housing rights, service and emotional support animals, and employment discrimination materials.

We participated in four trainings. For example, we provided training on stigma and discrimination reduction for service providers at San Diego State University. We provided information on the recovery model versus the medical model as well as local resources to develop Wellness Recovery Action Plans. The audience consisted of current students in the process of getting a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and alumni, many of whom work for the Department of Rehabilitation or other service agencies.

Peer-Self-Advocacy Goal(s): Goal 1, Objective B (Workshops)
DRC Staff: David Solis, Lisa Hurley, Rob Chittenden, Robyn Gantsweg, Leonard Alfaro
Grant/Funding Source(s): CalMHSA



Remembrance Ceremonies

The California Memorial Project (CMP) held its 11th annual Remembrance Day ceremonies across the state on September 16, 2013. Over 500 people attended 11 ceremonies at 10 different sites, including: Agnews Historical Cemetery, California State University Channel Islands, Metropolitan State Hospitals, Napa State Hospital, Parkview Cemetery in Manteca, Porterville Cemetery, Ukiah Rural Cemetery, Sonoma Developmental Center, Stockton Rural Cemetery, and Patton State Hospital.

We worked with community members, peers, advocates, family members, consumers, and organizations including: People First of California, San Joaquin Behavior Health, Area Board VI, Self-Advocacy Council VI, Manteca CAPS, Person Centered Services Day Program, residents from Housing Choices, residents from Silicon Valley Independent Living Center, representatives from the Board of Supervisors 2nd District, staff from Redwood Coast Regional Center, Manzanita Services, and representatives from State Hospitals and Developmental Centers.

This year, in addition to Disability Rights California staff participating in Remembrance Day ceremonies throughout the state, we worked with community based peer/self advocacy groups to transition the leadership and overall responsibility for the goals and objectives of the CMP to consumer run community based groups.

For example as a result of our encouragement and support, the Manteca CMP ceremony is now planned by the Manteca and Modesto CAPS programs for people with developmental disabilities: ( They created the ceremony program including original art and poems to put on the agenda and display at the ceremony. They use part of their day program time to talk about the CMP and encourage people to create art, poems or prepare their CMP speeches and performances. They coordinate the activities at the ceremonies and identify self-advocates to MC the event.

Another example, in Stockton, the San Joaquin County Behavioral Health assisted us with planning the Stockton ceremony and promoted the event to their members and the mental health community. We had over 20 people from the mental health community attend thanks to their efforts and those of Kerrie Melton, Coordinator at Behavioral Health, who gave a lovely speech as well. This demonstrates how staff are working to shift CMP work to the local communities.

Media was present at Patton State Hospital, Metropolitan State Hospital and Ukiah Rural Cemetery. An article was written in the Highland Community Newspaper regarding the Patton State Hospital ceremony, and a reporter from La Opinion, a Spanish newspaper out of Los Angeles, wrote an article about the Metropolitan State Hospital ceremony.

Senator Noreen Evan’s office attended the Ukiah Ceremony and Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada’s office attended the Napa State Hospital and the Sonoma Developmental Center ceremonies.


Outreach Table and Session at People First Conference

In June the California Memorial Project distributed information at the People First Conference to raise awareness and encourage People First members and attendees to get involved with the project. We also held a session at the conference on the California Memorial Project, history and progress.


Status of Napa Cemetery Restoration

At the August task force meeting, the Department of State Hospitals reported that workload and personnel shifts are being made to allow for completion of the architectural work on the Napa State Hospital monument.
Peer Self Advocacy California Memorial Project Goal(s): Goal 3, Objective A
DRC Staff: Staff throughout California
Grant/Funding Source: PADD; PAIMI