California’s protection & advocacy system
For legal assistance call 800-776-5746. For all other purposes call 916-504-5800 in Northern CA
or 213-213-8000 in Southern CA. TTY 800-719-5798.
Suit seeks to restore funds for treatment of homeless mentally ill. Plaintiffs are seeking the restoration of money, cut by Schwarzenegger, for a program that targeted the homeless.
Mental health shift sparks suit. Advocates seek to halt using Prop. 63 money to fund homeless program.
Schwarzenegger sued over veto of funds for mentally ill homeless. "The voters thought those services would be protected," said attorney Kimberly Lewis. "The state has to maintain the same level of funding and services that existed before Prop. 63 passed. They can't pull money out and use Prop. 63 funds to supplant it."
Settlement may lead to more housing for disabled. A settlement reached this week in a civil-rights lawsuit between a group of disabled San Franciscans and The City could change the way patients are rehabilitated back into the community.
S.F. to subsidize 500 housing units for people leaving Laguna Honda. Advocates for elders and people with disabilities are applauding San Francisco officials for settling a civil rights class-action suit by agreeing to subsidize 500 housing units for patients discharged from Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center.
Hearing explores Lake County IHSS proposal - In a hearing about In-Home Supportive Services in Lake County, PAI policy advocate Deborah Doctor questions whether new proposals benefit clients or the county budget.
Turmoil replaces treatment at Coalinga hospital - Sean Rashkis confirms that Protection & Advocacy Inc. is investigating patients' concerns about complex problems at Coalinga hospital.
Controversy in Sacramento - Is popular community sports facility closing because of accessibility lawsuit or other problems? PAI attorney responds on civil rights issues ... read Eric Gelber's letter to the editor here, and Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Breton's response here, and the Bee article here.
Patton remembers forgotten dead - More than 2,000 former patients remain buried on Patton's grounds, and another 42,000 people are buried on hospital grounds statewide, said Garnet Magnus of Protection and Advocacy, Inc., an advocate group for the disabled who has been pivotal in the push for more legislation.
Andrew Mudryk provides examples of how the organization monitors abuse and neglect, and works to reduce discrimination against Californians with disabilities.
Sticker shock at Laguna Honda - business press cites astronomical costs of Laguna Honda Hospital rebuild. PAI recommends substitution of small community-based options. Read the SF Business Times article here ...
Lives may founder, but yacht sales will flourish. From Los Angeles to Sacramento, people have been calling and e-mailing me the last couple of days with tributes to William H. Compton Jr., whose battle with schizophrenia helped inspire the program Schwarzenegger axed.
Evolution of city's oldest nursing home continues - San Francisco.should increase its investment in home and community-based living arrangements with supports for seniors and people with disabilities," paper quotes from PAI's feasibility report on Laguna Honda Hospital rebuild.
Elizabeth Zirker of PAI finds it an isolated place to live ... listen to the KCBS newscast here ...
Wall Street Journal addresses use of student restraints. As public schools come under pressure to teach more children with behavioral disabilities, the use of restraint and seclusion has become a contentious issue. Read PAI's press release here and download PAI's complete, illustrated report on restraints here.
More than a decade after PAI's lawsuit, a consent decree, and huge expenditures, an independent monitor has reported that 17 older and 4 new schools in the district remain seriously out of compliance with federal and state accessibility standards. Noting that with inaccessible bathrooms and lunchrooms, it was not surprising that little progress had been made in including students with disabilities, PAI Executive Director Catherine Blakemore added, "If you were looking for a way to do everything wrong, this is the recipe." Read the Los Angeles Daily Journal story here, and read the Los Angeles Times story here ...
Patient death following restraint in psychiatric hospital prompts probe. PAI investigations attorney Leslie Morrison and attorney Robert Buccola question staffing patterns at Sierra Vista Hospital in this Sacramento Bee story about the death of 51 year old Ramona Knapp.
Bay Area newspaper finds ex-residents of Agnews Center happy to be "Living on the Outside," in charge of their own lives. Reporter quotes PAI peer advocate Maria Marquez and attorney Ellen Goldblatt among those supporting the process of recreating lives in the community.
AI attorney and parent Steve Rosenbaum appears on "Issues Forum" to discuss the impact of a Supreme Court decision allowing parents to represent themselves in special education cases. Connect here to hear the 60 minute exchange about the decision and main issues confronting parents of children with disabilities in California schools.
Article documents the struggle of a woman with developmental disability to obtain her dream job. Unfortunately, the otherwise excellent article labeled the young woman as having the mind of a child. Read PAI attorney Eric Gelber's response here.
The Bee reports on California’s practice of billing families for involuntary placements in state mental hospitals. PAI Attorney Eric Gelber’s letter to the editor calls for the Legislature to “end this archaic and inequitable system.” Read the article here and Gelber's 5/11 letter to the editor here …
San Francisco’s controversial commitment to rebuilding a 19th century hospital into a 20th century nursing home was explored in depth on May 7 by Lucette Lagnado, the Journal’s investigative reporter on health care issues. In an associated Q&A, disability rights lawyer Elissa Gershon of PAI responded that she has spent years on the lawsuit because she has “seen the difference in quality of life that people have when they can live with more … dignity … independence, privacy and choice.” See the Q&A online commentary here. Learn more about the Laguna Honda case here ...
A new state bill proposes loans to help owners of small care homes install fire sprinklers. Opponents fear that the added financial burden could exacerbate the current housing shortage. As Eric Gelber, a managing attorney with PAI, stated: “We are opposed unless all single family homes are required to install sprinklers or if financing, rather than a loan program, is made available to owners of small group homes.”
Shift alarms parents: When San Jose developmental center closes in 2008, they worry their children won't get care they need. Responding to parents' concerns about closing Agnews Developmental Center, PAI attorney Ellen Goldblatt points to the experiences of people like Stacy Cole, 42, of Auburn, who lived in institutions and group homes from the time she was 3, and moved into her own apartment three years ago.
A settlement approved Tuesday by the City Council will allow no more than 1,000 condo conversions annually. Between 1/1/04 and 12/3106, at least 18,500 San Diego apartments became condos. Attorney Cory Briggs had help with the case from Ann Menasche of PAI.
A NIMBY neighbor in Norco who has led a 2-year battle against a small group home for young women with disabilities may be investigated to determine if her actions constitute discrimination under the Fair Housing laws. The LA Times and AP quoted PAI attorney Michelle Uzeta, who explained that the women are not a danger to the community. Read more in the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times and the Press-Enterprise.
Advocacy group sues over delays - Thousands of people have been waiting for months beyond the 90 days within which the law says the state has to make its decision, and have been going without adequate medical and mental health care as a result. PAI is suing the state of California for its significant delays in making Medi-Cal eligibility decisions for people with disabilities.
In a report on the Laguna Honda Hospital lawsuit, PAI attorney Elizabeth Zirker detailed how "People with disabilities prefer home and community based services over nursing facilities, and it's also the law that people have the right to live in the most integrated settings." Listen to the in-depth story here ...; and read more about the Laguna Honda case here ...
"One study found that only 5 percent of serious crimes against people with disabilities were prosecuted compared to 70 percent for similar crimes in the general population," said Leslie Morrison, a PAI attorney who investigates cases involving abuse of people with disabilities. Three-and-a-half years ago, Leslie Morrison co-authored a report titled "Abuse and Neglect of Adults with Developmental Disabilities: A Public Health Priority for the State of California."
"People die in the community and in the developmental centers," says PAI attorney Ellen Goldblatt. The article points out that PAI feels community care is far superior to that offered in institutions.
PAI attorney Stephen Rosenbaum said on the Paula Zahn Show and in a Larry King Live interview that "It's about dignity, quality of life, with whatever supports or accommodations are needed ... We have to look at all people, regardless of the severity of disability, and give them the opportunity to develop the best that they can."
A flashpoint that shouldn't be - PAI attorney Eric Gelber and others weigh in on "Conflict is boiling over care" ...
Ellen Goldblatt, an attorney with PAI, is quoted in an article about the death of a man with developmental disabilities after he moved from an institution into the community. Read more in "Conflict is boiling over care" ...
Journal features progress report on PAI lawsuit to force State of California to provide mental health services for foster children and youths. NCYL’s co-counsel in the Katie A. litigation are Western Center on Law & Poverty, Protection & Advocacy, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the ACLU of Southern California, and Heller Ehrman LLP.
No dogs allowed - PAI attorney Sean Rashkis clarifies that businesses may not reject customers just because they have service animals.
Rehab homes rile residents - Responding to responds to community opposition to proliferation of supported or transitional housing in Newport Beach, PAI says the legislation could result in limited rehabilitation opportunities because of "local opposition that may be based on unwarranted fears, derogatory stereotypes, or the belief that such facilities simply do not belong."
Caught on tape: Caretakers abuse people with mental disabilities - "We believe this is a public health priority," said Pamila Lew, an attorney in PAI's Investigations Unit. Read the transcript of a video that showed shocking abuse of a woman with disabilities by her caretaker.
"People are getting older and more people are going to be needing this service, " said Deborah Doctor, a lobbyist for Protection and Advocacy, ... Read more about rising costs of In-Home Supportive Services ...
Advocates fight for a stamp of approval - Allowing signature stamps "seems like a reasonable modification to accommodate somebody with a disability," according to PAI staff attorney Diana Honig.
Easy voting for people with disabilities - Secretary of State participates in Salinas event organized by PAI's Voting Rights Project.
Patients sue Laguna Honda Hospital - In an exclusive story about the lawsuit against San Francisco regarding segregation of people at, and its plans to rebuild, the 1000-bed Laguna Honda Hospital, PAI's Elissa Gershon, lead attorney, stated, "It's not about the rebuild, it's about making sure people aren't confined."
Western Center on Law and Poverty leads legal action to enjoin delayed determinations on disability-based Medi-Cal applications - Michelle Uzeta, a staff attorney with PAI, said the extent of the state's non-compliance with the 90-day timeframe was "staggering."
New housing should be 100 percent inclusive - The concept of "universal design" would incorporate additional features — as basic as levered door knobs — that, without affecting the usability by everyone, enable people with disabilities to increase their independence and afford them more living options, says Eric Gelber, managing attorney in PAI's Sacramento office.
Remembrance ceremonies held throughout the state - "We're trying to give respect and dignity back to the people who were buried ... without their names," says Alicia Mendoza, PAI's project coordinator for the California Memorial Project.
Restraint death spurs advocates' questions - In response to the death of a 52 year old woman following an illegal restraint procedure, PAI Attorney Leslie Morrison called this "a textbook example" of why the practice had been outlawed.
Health evaluations gain priority: Court orders county to ramp up assessment of in-home needs - Attorney Frederick Nisen said the long wait for services and lack of proper assessments are problems in several counties, but the problem is particularly bad here in Alameda County.
'I teach people how to advocate for themselves' - Rob Chittenden, a manager in PAI's Peer/Self-Advocacy Program says that "In order for society to change and for stereotypes to be broken, people like me need to let society know who we are."
With respect - or confrontation - Rob Chittenden said he's had several experiences dealing with police while he was suffering symptoms of mental illness. One, he said, stands out as an exception ...
Struggling for services: Special ed often a world of parent-school tension - Dale Mentink, senior attorney with PAI believes parents who don't immerse themselves will get lost. "Information has always been a problem," he said.
Fatal restraining orders: A case is made against psychiatric hospitals - "We want to challenge doctors and psychiatric facilities to think about restraints in a new way," says Leslie Morrison, the former psychiatric nurse who joined PAI while attending Golden Gate University School of Law.