Outreach Newsletter: March 2012

See the pdf version here.


A Disability Rights California training on “Your Ideal Career and Employment Services” was presented to consumers on October 8, 2011. Twenty-two people attended our training hosted by Supported Life Institute in Sacramento. Supported Life offers educational training opportunities to individuals with disabilities through its annual conference.

During the training, individuals with developmental disabilities were encouraged to ask questions about employment. Defining career goals, owning your own business, volunteering, and learning about employment law were important issues to those in attendance.

Consumers watched a video, “Entrepreneurship Self Employment and Disability,” showcasing individuals with disabilities who owned their own business and the support they received in order to be successful.

During the conference, presentations on supported employment, ticket to work and services from the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) were also provided to attendees. Sacramento Regional Staff Attorney Jonathan Elson, Advocacy Director Margaret Johnson, and Developmental Disability Peer/Self Advocacy Coordinators Daniel Meadows and Scott Barron led the training.

Bay Area


The Youth Empowerment Summit (YES) took place in San Francisco at Buena Vista Horace Mann Community School on December 10, 2011. This event brought together many social services agencies that provide assistance to youth who identify as part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community. In addition to dozens of workshops the halls were filled with resource tables. Youth are often dis­criminated against not only for identifying as gay, but for having a disability. Disability Rights California joined this event as an opportunity to strive for a barrier free, inclusive world that values diversity and culture.
Approximately 500 youths attended the Summit. Disability Rights California work­shop covered basic education rights for high school and college students. We also emphasized how important it is for consumers to know that youth with disabilities have allies and that they can count on Disability Rights California.

At the event, youth were able to attend workshops on legal rights, gender and sexual­ity, how to improve HIV/AIDS education, and other issues that affect LGBTI youth. The resource fair that took place throughout the day had information about these and other topics. Oakland-based staff Joey Gallardo and Yesenia Roman organized the Disability Rights California workshop and resource table.

Native American


A training “Advocacy skills and transition planning in Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)” was conducted on December 14, 2011 for three youths, four parents, and four program staff from the tribal communities of rural Feather Falls in Oroville. Youths attending the training were from Ipakanni Charter School in Feather Falls. They were interactive and excited about the new information they can put to use.

Connecting Circles of Care (CCoC) hosted the training. One of the programs’ targeted communities is the Native American youth and families residing in the Butte County area. This training was provided as part of Disability Rights California’s goal of support­ing local nonprofit agencies to increase awareness of benefits and services for Native Americans with disabilities. CCoC is a prevention program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Sacramento Regional Office Senior Attorney Barbara Ransom and Native American Affairs Advocate Phyllis Preston provided the training followed by a one-on-one intake for a family. Disability Rights California was extended an invitation to conduct a similar workshop on site at their charter school in January 2012.



Resources for Independence Central Valley (RICV) sponsored the Second Annual Youth Transition Conference for youth and young adults with disabilities, “Beyond the Looking Glass: What’s Out There for ME?” RICV advocates for independence and Ileana Perez, Bridges Counselor/SOAR Liaison, headed this event for the second year. RICV organizes the event to offer youth and young adults with disabilities an opportunity to learn more about their rights and support services available in the community.

Lisa Navarro, Disability Rights California Multicultural Affairs Advocate, presented a well-received training on “Voters’ Rights” to young adults with disabilities. This was first time we participated in this event.

Throughout the event, community agencies presented information about their services. Approximately 230 individuals attended workshops and picked up information from the various community agencies. The agencies participating were Madera Mental Health, Central Valley Regional Center, Way Finders, Fresno State University, Exceptional Families Unlimited, Fresno Diagnostic Center, City of Fresno’s ADA Coordinators, Area Board 8 and Department of Housing Commission.

Our collaboration with RICV to provide legal assistance to consumers is an invaluable partnership that will continue.

San Diego


“Life After High School” was the topic presented by Griselda Delgadillo, Multicultural Affairs Advocate, on December 6, 2011 to Spanish-speaking parents from Exceptional Families Resource Center. The parents were gratified to learn about options as they were unaware of local resources for their young adult children with disabilities.

Those who attended the training had questions and concerns about individualized transition plans. Many were unaware of the process and its purpose. One mother stated, “My daughter has been asking for assistance from the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) for several years and has been unsuccessful.”

Griselda responded in-depth and provided information about DOR services. Parents were also informed of the various agencies that would be able to provide support and services to their adult children with disabilities.

After the training, clinics were held to assist those who needed additional legal assistance. Response was enthusiastic and the San Diego Regional Office was invited to provide future trainings for this group.

Office of Clients' Rights Advocacy


Advocates energized the disability rights voting community in Stockton! Developmental Disability Peer/Self Advocacy Coordinator Daniel Meadows, Office of Clients’ Rights Advocate Leinani Walter, Assistant Clients’ Rights Advocate Christine Hager and Supervising Clients’ Rights Advocate Gail Gresham teamed up to provide two voting rights trainings for consumers at Central Valley Training Center and the Allan Short Center in Stockton on December 12, 2011.

The training team presented information about voting rules, equal access to polling places, how to get support to vote, different ways to cast your vote and good reasons to vote during an election. They distributed voter registration cards and resource material for both Disability Rights California Peer/Self Advocacy Unit and the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy. Eighty-two participants cheered about their rights to vote and enjoyed the dynamic team training.


On November 17, 2011, the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA)-Harbor Regional Center hosted an open house for consumers, family members and providers. Supervising Clients’ Rights Advocate (CRA) Katie Hornberger and Assistant CRA Abbey Perez were on hand to introduce visitors to the new office space and to the new Clients’ Rights Advocate Eva Casas-Sarmiento.

Katie Hornberger, the previous CRA for Harbor, enjoyed seeing many of her previous clients, who took time to thank her for the wonderful help she had provided in the past.

The open house event was a fun outreach activity that got the word out about OCRA services to hundreds of people. It was a good way to meet and greet the community. Family members, consumers, Area Board representative, a Harbor Regional Center administrator, several service coordinators, consumers from the local day programs, and Department of Rehabilitation counselors attended the event. A steady stream of visitors stopped by throughout the day and learned about the services that OCRA offers. Over 50 guests enjoyed treats and drinks and took part in a raffle.

Los Angeles


The Los Angeles Regional Office has done extensive outreach in the Inland Empire, as part of the ongoing outreach and collaboration. Disability Rights California’s Multicultural Affairs Advocate Mary Rios is on the advisory committee and works in collaboration with Maria Elena Hernandez, Fiesta Educativa’s Coordinator in San Bernardino.

Last year’s conference in San Bernardino was the largest conference that Fiesta had put together. The conference offered a series of workshops to Latino families on special education, regional center services, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), Behavior, and many others. The workshops were informative and materials were offered in English and Spanish.

In addition to the workshops and vendor displays, entertainment was also provided. Parents were informed of the services that are available to them and given the opportunity to network among other parents and service agencies. Disability Rights California looks forward to continuing to work with this vital organization, Fiesta Educativa, in the Inland Empire.



On November 4, 2011, the Tri-County Independent Living Center (ILC) in Eureka, CA, hosted an afternoon of training on tenants’ rights. Most of the training was spent discussing Fair Housing rights for individuals with disabilities. Disability Rights California Staff Attorney Sean Rashkis provided the training to 35 community residents and advocates.

The Tri-County ILC, established in 1978, has a long history of supporting people with disabilities in the community. Its mission is to promote the philosophy of independent living, connect individuals to services and create an accessible community, so that people with disabilities can have control over their lives and full access to their communities.

The training focused on the definition of “disability” under the Fair Housing Act, what kinds of questions a landlord can ask a tenant about his or her disability on a rental application, what an accommodation is and how to request one, what a modification is and how to request one, use of a service or companion animal, and the use of medical marijuana as an accommodation.
Disability Rights California co-presented with Jan Turner, attorney with Legal Services of Northern California’s Eureka office. Ms. Turner provided information on tenants’ rights.

The Tri-County ILC expressed interest in future trainings from Disability Rights California on other topics.


On December 9, Disability Rights California held an open house to welcome the disability advocacy community to its new Sacramento office on K Street. The new office space is more efficient, letting us bring under one roof for the first time in decades all of our Sacramento-based staff.

The main event of the evening was the celebration of the settlement of our case to assure continuance of Adult Day Health Care (ADHC). Board President Allison Brightman (top photo) was on hand to help us recognize the many individuals, advocates, service providers, pro bono contributions by attorneys and other strong community support that resulted in what Judge Armstrong called a “fair and reasonable” settlement. In the photo at lower left, named plaintiff in the case, Esther Darling, thanks DRC for “saving ADHC.” Other photos show the ADHC legal team.