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.
7/30/14 - Disability Rights California urges state to move developmental center residents into community, after notice to cease federal funding due to ongoing conditions at Sonoma Developmental Center
1/18/12 - January 18 Press Advisory: January 19 Federal Court Hearing to determine if 20% cuts of In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) will go forward—press opportunities for interviews immediately following hearing
6/9/10 - Advocates Ask Judge to Stop Sacramento County from Closing Mental Health Clinics - Disability Rights California, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, and Cooley LLP filed a motion on June 9 asking the court for a preliminary injunction to stop the County’s plan to terminate its community-based mental health outpatient services.
5/3/10 - Report finds abuse by nursing home staff not treated as crimes - This new report by Disability Rights California's Investigations Unit examines 12 cases of abuse in California nursing homes and finds an alarming pattern of under-reporting of these crimes to law enforcement.
10/1/09 - Federal lawsuit filed to stop cuts in homecare to 130,000 Californians - Seniors, people with disabilities who rely on IHSS Services face a humanitarian disaster, say advocates (pdf), and (htm)
9/17/09 - Please Join us in a Ceremony of Remembrance on September 21, 2009 - At 1:55 pm there will be a statewide moment of silence to honor those who died unrecognized at State Hospitals and Developmental Centers. By giving respect to people with developmental and mental disabilities who died anonymously, we are honoring the humanity of all of us. All are welcome. The 9 ceremonies will be different, but each will feature memories of deceased residents by friends or family members, poems or songs, news about the California Memorial Project and light refreshments.
9/11/09 - Judge Halts Cuts to Adult Day Health Care (ADHC): Victory for 8000 elderly Californians with disabilities - “I am so happy and grateful to Judge [Saundra Brown] Armstrong… this means the world to my aunt and me,” cried Chauncey McLorin, when she heard on Thursday afternoon that her aunt, Lillie Brantley, 84, can continue to attend her Adult Day Health Care program Mondays through Fridays. The September 10 order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted an injunction bringing to a halt the ADHC funding cuts slated to take effect this week.
9/2/09 - Loss of services endangers fragile, elderly people wit disabilities; Court to hear challenge to cuts - Medicaid cuts affecting 8000 Californians with disabilities go into effect September 7, 2009 - Linda Gaspard-Berry, a full-time hospital worker, and her brother, balance between them the round-the-clock care needed by their mother, 79 year-old Allie Jo Woodard. Lillie Brantley, 84, and her grand-niece, Chauncey McLorin, a full-time MUNI driver, share McLorin’s home because Brantley cannot safely be left alone. The key to keeping both these fragile women with serious disabilities out of nursing homes has been their 5-day-a-week participation in the Bayview Hunter’s Point Adult Day Health Care center. Here, Monday to Friday they are welcomed by medical and therapy staff who work with them individually to maintain the faculties they have and prevent hospitalization through close attention to their conditions.
8/18/09 - Older people with disabilities sue to halt Adult Day Health Care cuts - On August 18, 2009 several elderly plaintiffs with disabilities filed a class action lawsuit, Brantley, et al. v. Maxwell-Jolly, Director of California Department of Health Care Services, to stop devastating cuts in Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) services. ADHC provides daytime health and nursing care, therapies and other services to low-income seniors and people with disabilities. The cuts, if implemented, would place as many as 8,000 recipients at immediate risk of institutionalization, hospitalization, injury or death. Among those affected is Plaintiff Lillie Brantley, who is typical of other people who receive ADHC services. Mrs. Brantley’s grand-niece, Chauncey McLorin, says she would have to put her aunt in a nursing home if her ADHC services are cut to only three days a week. “My Aunt Lillie has Alzheimer's disease. She lives with me and cannot be left alone because she is not safe. I work full-time and can’t afford to quit my job to care for her. I love her very much but I would be forced to place her in a nursing home if she can’t go to ADHC five days a week and that would be devastating for our family.”
8/11/09 - Government stops unlawful Social Security suspensions; agrees to repay more than half a billion in back benefits - More than 200,000 people would be eligible again through court settlement - The Social Security Administration has agreed to repay more than $500 million in benefits that were unlawfully withheld from 80,000 people whose benefits have been suspended or denied since January 1, 2007. ... plaintiffs in the case are represented by the National Senior Citizens Law Center, pro bono counsel from the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson, the Urban Justice Center Mental Health Project, Disability Rights California, and the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County.
8/5/09 - Advocacy scholarships available for Californians with disabilities - The Alternatives 2009 Conference will be held in Omaha, Nebraska, from October 28 to November 1. Disability Rights California is providing up to 3 scholarships for mental health clients interested in attending the conference and sharing the information with others. Applications are due August 31, 2009.
6/9/09 - California Memorial Project presents Remembrance Day 2009 - September 21, 2009 - Events will be held at various sites around California to remember the people who died while in state institutions. Scheduled participating sites include Agnews Cemetery, Porterville Developmental Center, Sonoma Developmental Center, Stockton Rural Cemetery, Napa State Hospital, Patton State Hospital, Ukiah Valley Cemetery, Parkview Cemetery in Manteca and Metropolitan State Hospital.
7/6/09 - Smoothing the Way for Students with Disabilities at North Monterey County High School - By 2011, students who use wheelchairs or scooters or other devices for mobility will find it easier to get to classes and sporting events at the North Monterey County High School. ... “We are reducing the bumps in the road facing students with disabilities,” said attorney Fred Nisen, “so they can concentrate more on graduating than getting to class.” ... Nisen and Stephen Rosenbaum, attorneys for Disability Rights California, represented Hayes in the negotiations.
7/6/09 - People's Day of Reckoning: "The State Budget is Killing Me!" - State Capitol Tuesday, July 7, 2009 - WHO: Coalition of organizations representing health and social service recipients, providers and supporters from all over the state of California - WHERE: Under the Rotunda inside the State Capitol, Sacramento - WHAT: Direct action to demand a budget that combines targeted cuts with new revenue. Group will visit elected officials - WHEN: Tuesday, July 7, 2009; 11:45 AM
6/3/09 - Governor burns California’s safety net: Californians with disabilities to lose in-home help; medical, therapy, education and transportation services; and income to cover rent and food - In the May revise, Governor Schwarzenegger’s latest round of proposed cuts to state programs and services are so severe that they would effectively incinerate California’s safety net to ensure survival of people with disabilities, including seniors. ... “When we look closely at a typical day of a low-income Californian with significant disability, we can see why these cuts—taken together—could easily destroy the fabric of countless individual lives, and the larger social safety-net,” stressed Catherine Blakemore.
5/26/09 - Join the largest disability advocacy event of the year: Caapitol Action Day in Sacramento: May 27 - Approximately 2000 people with disabilities and their allies will be at the Capitol for the 6th Annual Disability Capitol Action Day from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This year's event marks the 10th anniversary of the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead decision, which affirmed the right of people with disabilities to the services and supports needed to live in the community ...
5/21/09 - Federal investigations of restraint and seclusion of children in schools confirm abuse levels that are prompting new California bill - On May 19, Congressman George Miller (D-California), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, held a hearing to examine abusive and deadly uses of seclusion and restraint of children in U.S. schools. His opening statement summarized reports on these dangerous practices: "Recent news reports document appalling stories of teachers tying children to chairs, taping their mouths shut, using handcuffs, denying them food, fracturing bones, locking them in small, dark places and sitting on them until they turn blue ..." AB 1538, proposed by Disability Rights California, carefully balances the need for special education staff to use appropriate behavioral interventions with disabled students while limiting the use of those interventions likely to cause serious harm or death.
5/7/09 - Disability Rights California hosting Election Day Voter Hotline - By Fred Nisen and Hilary Sklar - Oakland, CA – Californians with disabilities who are voting in the special statewide election on May 19 have an ally in assuring full and equal access to the process. With funding from the Help America Vote Act, Disability Rights California, (formerly Protection and Advocacy, Inc.), is operating a toll-free hotline for voters with disabilities who have difficulty accessing polling places, casting ballots or have questions about voting.
4/27/09 - Major lawsuit settled, helping 7,000 people with developmental disabilities live in the community instead of institutions - The lawsuit was brought in Alameda County Superior Court by sixteen individual plaintiffs who resided in, or were at risk of placement in, developmental centers or other institutions; three organizational plaintiffs (Capitol People First, California Alliance for Inclusive Communities, and Arc California); and two taxpayer plaintiffs who asserted that the State is spending tax dollars unlawfully by continuing to institutionalize individuals who could live successfully in community homes. The case was litigated by Disability Rights California, with Bingham McCutchen LLP and DLA Piper US LLP as pro bono counsel.
4/24/09 - Each Year, the Sandra Jensen Award is given to recognize the controbution of a self-advocate in California - The award honors Sandra Jensen because we want to remember her courage as a self-advocate and as a fighter for people with disabilities. ... People First of California, Inc., Disability Rights California, the ARC of California and the California State Council on Developmenta Disabilities will consider the nominations and choose the recipient.
4/13/09 - Social Security settles lawsuit; in most cases, will no longer deny benefits solely because of outstanding warrants - Social Security law and regulations say that to deny or stop benefits because of an outstanding felony warrant, there has to be a determination that the person is “fleeing” with the specific intent to avoid prosecution or confinement. Disability Rights California joined the National Senior Citizens Law Center, Munger, Tolles & Olson and other organizations in Martinez v. Astrue, a nationwide class action that challenged Social Security’s policy of denying or stopping benefits based solely on the existence of a warrant without considering whether or not the person was also “fleeing.”
4/9/09 - SSI benefits are being cut - On May 1, 2009, the benefit for an individual senior (age 65 or older) or person with a disability will be cut from $907 per month to $870 per month. The benefit for a married couple will be cut from $1,579 per month to $1,524 per month. By Dan Brzovic.
3/27/09 - Congratulatory message from Catherine Blakemore, executive director of Disability Rights California - "We congratulate the staffs of the Department of Developmental Services and the Bay Area regional centers who have worked together with disability advocates on a successful transition into community living for the remaining Agnews residents. For decades we have helped Californians with developmental disabilities implement their right to live in the community, and the closure of the Agnews Developmental Center is signifcant progress towards this outcome."
3/17/09 - Disability Rights California joins advocacy groups objecting to proposed settlement banning Segways from Walt Disney park - We have joined other disability rights groups in objecting to a proposed settlement between Disney and several individuals that would ban the use of Segways, a new mobility device, in all Walt Disney parks and require those who need the devices to rent a similar device provided by Disney.
2/11/09 - People demand economic justice for all Californians - A message to Sacramento and Washington: "It's time for the people's bailout" - signed by 21 disability orgnanizations, including Disability Rights California.
2/6/09 - Proposed state budget cuts to the SSP, CAPI and CFAP programs - by Dan Brzovic
12/16/08 - Disability Rights California’s update on proposed mental health cuts, plans to raise levies to close budget gap - In a hearing held by the Senate Budget subcommittee on health, human services and labor, Margaret Jakobson-Johnson of Disability Rights California, Rusty Selix of Mental Health Associates and Pat Ryan of California Mental Health Directors Association testified against redirecting the Proposition 63 funds for mental health services.
12/10/08 - Join Disability Rights California’s Open House in Los Angeles and win exciting door prizes while helping us celebrate achievements - An open house to celebrate 30 years of working to improve life for Californians with disabilities will be held Friday, December 12, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles office of Disability Rights California. We welcome all involved in the disability rights field or those who would like to learn more about our work.
10/30/08 - Disability advocacy groups outraged by challenge to right to vote of Californians with developmental disabilities
“It is an outrage that in 2008, as all Americans proceed to the polls for this critical election, some groups are still challenging the right of people with developmental disabilities to vote,” stated Marinda Reed, coordinator of the developmental disability peer training unit of Disability Rights California. Watch the News 10 video, "State Republicans launch disabled voting probe" ...
10/27/08 - Disability Rights California Hosting Election Day Voter Hotline for People with Disabilities
Californians with disabilities who are voting on November 4 have an ally in assuring full and equal access to the process. With funding from the Help America Vote Act, Disability Rights California, (formerly Protection and Advocacy, Inc.), is operating a toll-free hotline for voters with disabilities who have difficulty accessing polling places, casting ballots or have questions about voting.
10/17/08 - Innocent woman caught in Social Security Administration dragnet, loses disability benefits
Rosa Martinez couldn't believe what she was reading. The 52- year-old woman from Redwood City, CA had received a notice from the Social Security Administration informing her that she was losing her only source of income - $870 per month of disability benefits - because of a 1980 arrest warrant for a drug offense in Miami, Florida. Never mind that Ms. Martinez had never been to Miami, never been arrested and never used illegal drugs.
10/16/08 - Hayward school district, students reach agreement on disability access to all schools, special education program review
The Hayward Unified School District has entered into a comprehensive agreement with nonprofit law firms Disability Rights Advocates, Disability Rights California and several parents to expand its voter approved district-wide modernization and new building efforts into making all its schools accessible to students with disabilities. The agreement was negotiated collaboratively without any lawsuit being filed.
10/14/08 - Come celebrate Disability Awaremess Month at the new Fresno Satellite Office of Disability Rights California, October 17 - If you are involved or interested in rights and advocacy services for Californians with disabilities in the San Juaquin valley, please come and introduce yourselves, said Agnes Williams, associate managing attorney. The newly created Fresno Satellite Office ... is having a community open house this Friday, 3-5 p.m. and will welcome disability rights leaders, advocates and allies from throughout the region.
10/1/08 - Disability Rights California hosting election day hotline for voters with disabilities (pdf) or (htm)
Californians with disabilities who plan to vote in the election on November 4 have an ally in assuring full and equal access to the voting process. With funding from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), Disability Rights California, formerly Protection and Advocacy, Inc. (PAI), is sponsoring a toll-free hotline for voters with disabilities who have difficulty accessing polling places, casting ballots or general questions about the voting process.
9/18/08 - Groundbreaking settlement agreement with San Francisco: New housing and community services created for seniors and adults with disabilities
Today in federal district court, Judge William H. Alsup granted final approval of the settlement agreement in the civil rights class action filed to prevent unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities at Laguna Honda Hospital, Chambers et al. v. City and County of San Francisco. The settlement will greatly increase community-based housing and service options in San Francisco as well as improve coordination of care.
9/12/08 - September 15 – a day to honor people who died in California’s state institutions and were buried anonymously
At 10 sites across the state, family, friends, advocates, community members and state institution survivors will gather September 15, 2008 at cemeteries to honor those who died while in State Institutions for the 6th Annual Remembrance Day.
8/19/08 - Publicly-funded nursing home profits protected from budget cuts, while vital services are cut for seniors and people with disabilities
A coalition of advocates for Californians with disabilities and nursing home industry watchdogs has determined that a 2004 bill (AB 1629) enacted at the last minute with minimal review by the legislature and less public scrutiny has resulted in:
7/30/08 - Protection & Advocacy, Inc., soon to be Disability Rights California, announces winners of logo contest
The Board of Protection & Advocacy Inc. has selected a new logo to embody the organization’s name change to Disability Rights California. Over 120 logos were submitted by artists from around the country in response to a contest launched in February 2008.
7/8/08 - Lawsuit filed for accessibility in senior housing
Lillian Hyatt, an 83-year-old resident of The Sequoias-San Francisco, a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), is suing The Sequoias because it does not allow people with disabilities to use walkers at the buffet tables in the dining room. “I am perfectly capable of getting my own food with the use of my walker. I want the autonomy to come and go to the dining room when I please, and to select my own food, just like everybody else,” says Mrs. Hyatt.
6/25/08 - Advocates & Allies Invited to San Diego Office of PAI for Celebration
On June 27 the San Diego office of Protection & Advocacy, Inc. is holding an Open House to celebrate 30 years of Advocacy & Cases to benefit Californians with disabilities.
6/3/08 - Settlement reached in case alleging disability discrimination at senior housing complex
Redwood Retirement Residence and Greater Napa Fair Housing Center announced that they have reached an agreement resolving a housing discrimination lawsuit filed against the Redwood Retirement Residence, a senior housing community in Napa, California. (See attachment for complete release)
5/19/08 - PAI to host its fourth Election Day voter hotline. On June 3, Californians with disabilities have an ally in assuring full and equal access to the voting process. ... Our aim is to fix Election Day problems that disenfranchise people with disabilities.
3/24/08 - Responding to PAI's reports about practices in six California schools, Senator Sheila Kuehl introduced a bill (SB 1515) that would prohibit the use of seclusion and restraint in schools except in clearly defined emergency situations, and only with adequate safeguards.
11/27/07 - Preliminary settlement of Laguna Honda Hospital lawsuit reached, increasing housing and other services for San Franciscans with disabilities. Read the press release about the new service program here and a summary of the preliminary settlement here. Click here for background information and fact sheets on the Laguna Honda case.
10/29/07 - Assistance available for people with disabilities in Southern California with fire-related problems. PAI offers assistance and referrals to those who are having difficulty accessing shelters or services due to the fires.
10/9/07 - Advocates demand that Governor restore funding for homeless, mentally ill or face lawsuit. Several state and national advocacy groups today demanded that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger restore a highly effective program for homeless, mentally ill adults. The Governor eliminated the funds through a line-item veto ... read the press release here and read the demand letter here.
9/25/07 - The Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District handed a significant victory to people with developmental disabilities who are institutionalized throughout California. The court held that the Alameda County Superior Court case—Capitol People First (CPF) v. Department of Developmental Services (DDS)—may proceed as a class action on behalf of more than 7,000 individuals who receive services from regional centers and are either living in state or private institutions, or are at risk of institutionalization.
8/31/07 - PAI files lawsuit against the City of Buena Park on behalf of group home residents. Ann Menasche is the lead attorney. Read the press release here.
6/28/07 - PAI joined a number of disability rights organizations today in supporting a Department of Transportation complaint filed by two Aero Port Services (APS) employees with the assistance of the Service Employees International Union, Local 1877. The complaint is based on the failure of APS to provide its employees with training in the provision of air travel to individuals with disabilities, including the proper and safe operation of wheelchairs. Read the full press release (htm) or (pdf).
6/11/07 - PAI issues first investigation of restraint and seclusion of children with disabilities in California schools. A 10-year old boy with significant disabilities was bound to his wheelchair and left in the school van on two separate days. One school built a locked seclusion room where an 8-year old boy with psychiatric and developmental disabilities was routinely locked away. Other children were dragged by their teachers into seclusion areas and then barricaded from leaving. Read the complete press release here (htm) or (pdf) ... and read the investigation report here (htm) or (pdf).
6/8/07 - Governor’s Budget Threatens Adoption of Children with Severe Disabilities in Pursuit of Dubious Cost-Savings. Relying on contradictory and questionable data, Governor Schwarzenegger’s Budget (May Revise) calls for drastic cuts to the state funding program for foster children with the most severe developmental disabilities, on the unsubstantiated assertion that major cost-savings would result - Read the press release here ...
5/8/07 - Washington Protection & Advocacy System investigation finds “Ashley Treatment” violated rights and state law: Ashley’s constitutional rights and Washington state law were violated by the sterilization performed on her in Seattle Children’s Hospital, nationally known as the “Ashley Treatment,” according to a report released on May 8 (read the WPAS press release here, and the final report on "Ashley Treatment" here). PAI’s Executive Director Catherine Blakemore congratulated WPAS for its outstanding report covering personal autonomy issues of children and youth with disabilities. Commenting on the societal implications, Blakemore said, “One web comment in particular about the Ashley treatment summed it up for me: ‘A child is not a bonsai tree,’ referring to the Asian art of keeping any tree or shrub small through confinement and pruning. At the very least, we owe our children their bodily integrity.”
10/11/06 - PAI leads case to provide Laguna Honda Hospital residents with opportunity to live in the community - Read more about Chambers v. City and County of San Francisco ...
7/27/06 - Federal appeals court denies stay in children's mental health case - Read more about how PAI and other advocacy groups assure mental health care for vulnerable foster children ...
7/25/06 - PAI adds support to medical marijuana employment case - Read more about Ross v. Ragingwire ...