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Publication #1047.01 - Adopted 5/24/2017
Since the 1960s, California has substantially reduced its reliance on state-operated developmental centers. Once housing nearly 13,400 residents, the non-forensic portions of the developmental centers will be closing. As a result most consumers will move to community living arrangements. These closures are occurring because of changing societal attitudes about people with disabilities and state and federal laws favoring community integration over institutional care. In Association for Retarded Citizens v. Department of Developmental Services, the California Supreme Court held that the Lanterman Act created an entitlement to services that enable Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities to avoid unnecessary institutionalization and live independent and productive lives in the community. In Olmstead v. L.C., the United States Supreme Court also concluded that under the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA’s) integration mandate, unnecessary institutionalization is a form of disability-based discrimination. Read together, the Lanterman Act and ADA recognize that all people have the right to individualized planning and to live in appropriate, quality, community-integrated homes.
As California moves away from providing services in state-operated developmental centers, the community system is and will be the safety net for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In addition, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities of all ages who live in the community may also need crisis services.
The following principles guide Disability Rights California staff when they participate in state policy-making and legislative activities regarding California’s safety net regional center consumers, both during the closure of state-operated developmental centers and beyond.
A range of preventative supports is necessary for an effective safety-net system.
Crisis and residential services have a fundamental safety-net role
1. Residential services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities should meet the following standards:
- Be individually designed through the person-centered program planning process;
- Provide high-quality services and supports, which promote choice and dignity, ensure health and safety, and involve people in meaningful activities that promote independence, community inclusion, and productivity;
- Give people the ability to live near family and friends;
- Allow access to medical, dental, and mental health care;
- Be in typical homes, which are integrated into regular neighborhoods; and
- Employ staff who are well trained and fairly compensated to meet the needs of each individual.
2. Individuals should have the option to live in a home of their own, with support available as often and for as long as it is needed, when that option is the preferred objective in their Individual Program Plan. No one should be denied supported living services based on the nature or severity of their disabilities.
3. Crisis supports, including mobile crisis services, wrap-around services, or enhanced rates, or enhanced staffing, should be explored before an out-of-home crisis placement. If an out-of-home crisis placement is necessary, the state should ensure that adequate capacity exists so individuals are not traveling long distances during a crisis.
4. Individuals must be able to access residential-based crisis services without fear of losing their current placement when they are ready to return home. Mechanisms should be developed to ensure that former placements are held unless or until there is a determination through the individualized program planning process that the person is unable to return.
The State should maintain a role in providing services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
- provide residents with opportunities to live, work, and receive services in the greater community, like individuals without disabilities;
- offer access to community activities and opportunities at times, frequencies, and with persons of an individual’s choosing;
- afford individuals choice in their daily life activities; and
- create fully integrated communities where people with disablities live, recreate, and work alongside people without disabilities and provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to interact with people without disabilities.
Community institutions should not replace state-operated developmental centers or be considered part of the state’s safety net
Rates should not stand in the way of helping individuals move from institutions to the community, or helping individuals avoid institutionalization
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