News Releases and Statements
May 24, 2018 – Two children with significant disabilities filed a federal class action lawsuit today against the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), claiming that the state has failed to fulfill its commitment to provide them with sufficient Medi-Cal in-home nursing services to keep them safely at home.
(San Diego, CA – April 25, 2018) An investigation by Disability Rights California (DRC) finds that since 2010, more than 30 people have died by suicide while held in San Diego County jails. This number far outpaces other county jail systems in the state.
Today, Disability Rights California (“DRC”) and Disability Rights Advocates (“DRA”) released a 50-page report on their 6-month investigation of the treatment of youth with disabilities at the County Juvenile Hall and other county correctional facilities. The investigation uncovered what the groups describe as “abuse and neglect” of youth with mental and behavioral disabilities in county facilities. According to the report, in 2017, youth with disabilities were disproportionately subjected to pepper spray, restraints and solitary confinement.
(Sacramento, CA – January 10, 2018) We are pleased the governor proposed a budget that does not retreat from the progress made in restoring benefits for programs that serve persons with disabilities, and recognizes the pressing need for community-based forensic mental health programs. The conspicuous exception is continued stagnation in SSI grants since cuts in 2011. We look forward to working with the governor and the Legislature as part of the budget discussions...
(Santa Barbara, CA – December 6, 2017) Five prisoners in the Santa Barbara County Jail filed a federal class action lawsuit today, claiming conditions at the jail do not meet minimum standards under the U.S. Constitution and federal law. According to prisoners, the jail fails to provide basic mental health and medical care, overuses and misuses solitary confinement, discriminates against people with disabilities, and provides inhumane, unsanitary, and unsafe living conditions.
(San Diego, CA – November 16, 2017) A group of homeless people, many with disabilities, sued the City of San Diego today over unfair ticketing of their vehicles. They are represented by Fish & Richardson, Disability Rights California, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, Dreher Law Firm, and Bonnett Fairbourn & Balint. The class-action lawsuit challenges enforcement of ordinances banning nighttime RV parking and vehicle habitation that unfairly target homeless people.
(Oakland, CA – November 6, 2017) The Alameda Superior Court ruled the California Department of Education (CDE) must do more to correct longstanding problems with the Oakland Unified School District’s special education program.
(Los Angeles, CA – October 17, 2017) Last year, West Los Angeles College (WLAC) abruptly stopped providing a shuttle service that students with mobility disabilities depended on to get to class on the hillside campus.
(Sacramento, CA – September 1, 2017) The Fremont School District (FUSD) has agreed to provide and promote more inclusion opportunities for medically fragile students with similarly aged peers. Students in these programs require intensive specialized instruction, medical and therapeutic services. Disability Rights California (DRC) received reports that the district did not allow students between the ages of 12 and 22 to attend school with peers their own age who do not have a disability.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA (August 28, 2017): Today, the National Federation of the Blind and two blind individuals who receive Social Security benefits filed a federal lawsuit against the Social Security Administration (SSA) for its failure to make its Visitor Intake Processing touchscreen kiosks accessible to its blind visitors. As a result, blind patrons are unable to check in independently at their local SSA field offices, and are forced to divulge private information, such as their social security numbers, to SSA staff or other sighted third parties to assist them.
(Sacramento, CA – July 31, 2017) Congress could not find a majority to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or cut Medicaid. The proposals in Congress would have impacted health care for up 32 million people and cut more than $800 billion from Medicaid. This victory is a testament to the tireless efforts of disability rights groups and countless individuals. This is what happens when we unite to educate lawmakers.
July 6, 2017 – The State of California has failed to implement a federal law that requires Medi-Cal to implement eligibility rules intended to prevent one spouse from going broke while paying for at-home care for a spouse with a disability, according to a class action lawsuit filed today. Kelley v. Kent (LA. Super. Ct.).
(Sacramento, CA – June 22, 2017) Senate Republicans today unveiled an outline of their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Lawmakers drafted the bill without any public hearings. Senate leadership is pushing for a vote before the July 4 holiday recess. The bill contains many of the same harmful cuts that are included in the House bill passed in May. They will be catastrophic for people with disabilities, seniors, and children.
(Sacramento, CA – May 25, 2017) Disability Rights California opposes the president’s 2018 budget and is concerned that if enacted it would be devastating to people with disabilities. It imposes massive cuts, including:
(Sacramento, CA – May 18, 2017) Forty-five-year old Charles McCarron, who has a developmental disability, dreamed of working in the food service industry. However, after high school he could not get a job in the community. Instead, he worked in a sheltered workshop, earning below minimum wage. Years later, with help from state agencies he got a job in an ice cream parlor. See video profiling Charles here. Today Charles works as a dishwasher in a restaurant.
(Sacramento, CA – May 15, 2017) Virginia Knowlton Marcus has joined Disability Rights California (DRC) as Director of the Legal Advocacy Unit. Knowlton returns to DRC after 11 years as the Executive Director of our sister organization, Disability Rights Maryland. Virginia has been advocating for people with disabilities on a broad array of issues at the state, federal and international levels for 25 years.
Disability Rights California cheered the March 23 U.S. House leadership move to pull the American Health Care Act (AHCA) from the floor without a vote. The action was in response to overwhelming pressure by advocates and the public as well as opposition from Democrats and some Republicans. They understood the devastating effect this legislation would have on millions of Americans.
(Sacramento, CA – March 22, 2017) Disability Rights California (DRC) and the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) today called on the California congressional delegation to preserve access to Medicaid services (Medi-Cal in CA). The plea comes on the eve of the House’s March 23 vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
(Sacramento, CA – March 9, 2017) This statement is from Catherine Blakemore, Executive Director of Disability Rights California, on the American Health Care Act:
(Sacramento, CA – February 3, 2017) Blind and visually impaired Californians who are enrolled in the Medi-Cal In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program can now read their IHSS communications and submit timesheets privately and independently.
(Sacramento, CA – January 13, 2017) In releasing his 2017-2018 state budget, the governor said this year’s spending plan is the most difficult California has faced since 2012 due to possible federal policy and funding changes. While he projects a deficit, we are pleased the proposal continues funding existing health and human service programs.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Pat McConahay, Communications Director
Disability Rights California
Disability Rights California investigation finds state not holding nursing homes fully accountable for resident deaths
(Sacramento, CA – January 9, 2017) Disability Rights California (DRC) found the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which licenses nursing homes, does not consistently impose adequate penalties when a resident’s death is caused by staff misconduct. As a result, nursing home residents remain in harm’s way. The finding is contained in a report (http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/pubs/703101.pdf) DRC released today following an investigation into the deaths of nursing home residents.
(Sacramento, CA – September 20, 2016) Army veteran Charles Guerra has trouble getting to and from his college classes and other places on campus due to his mobility disability. He relied on a campus shuttle service until the school and district terminated it earlier this year. Officials refused to provide an alternative.
“Without the shuttle, I fell and injured myself trying to get to class,” Guerra said. “This has made it difficult for me to pursue my education, which means so much to me.”
(Los Angeles, CA – September 1, 2016) The Los Angeles City Council agreed to settle litigation brought by three nonprofit disability and fair housing advocacy groups that claimed the city’s housing programs were inaccessible to people with disabilities.
Oakland, CA – August 2, 2016) The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) found that the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) discriminated against a student by subjecting him to inappropriate and excessive restraint and seclusion. Restraint and seclusion are emergency interventions allowed only to prevent a child from imminent serious physical harm.
(Sacramento, CA – May 27, 2016) Disability Rights California (DRC) today urged the state to step up efforts to develop community services for residents of the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC). This follows a decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to terminate federal funding for 7 of the SDC’s 11 intermediate care facilities. Beginning July 1, it will cost the state an additional $26 million to provide 24-hour care and rehabilitation to adults with developmental disabilities.
(Sacramento, CA – May 16, 2016) Disability Rights California (DRC) today released a report (DRC Report and Sonoma County Response) accusing the Sonoma County Jail of neglecting prisoners with disabilities. According to the findings, there are two types of neglect; improper and inadequate mental health treatment for prisoners with mental health disabilities and excessive isolation.
Sacramento, February 25, 2016 - Disability Rights California (DRC) today released two reports ( Report on San Francisco Youth Guidance Center and Report on Inspection of the San Diego Juvenile Detention Facilities ) on conditions in juvenile halls in San Diego and San Francisco.
Sacramento, February 23, 2016 - Disability Rights California (DRC) today released a report criticizing the Santa Barbara County Jail for its treatment of prisoners with disabilities. According to the report ( Report on Inspection of the Santa Barbara County Jail ), prisoners are denied basic mental health care, held in solitary confinement and housed in conditions that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Sacramento, February 17, 2016 - Students with mental health needs are denied an equal education as a result of their placement in a segregated school operated by the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), according to a class action lawsuit filed last week in Los Angeles federal court. Read the class action complaint .
Sacramento, October 29, 2015 – Disability Rights California (DRC) released a report criticizing the Sacramento County Jail for its treatment of prisoners with disabilities. According to the report ( Report on Inspection of the Sacramento County Jail ), prisoners with mental health needs are subjected to excessive isolation and solitary confinement, and are denied basic mental health care.
Fresno, CA—Under a proposed settlement with Fresno County officials, prisoners in the Fresno County Jail will no longer be denied adequate health care. The agreement, filed today in federal court in Fresno, would settle a class action lawsuit on behalf of all present and future prisoners in the county jail.
Sacramento, January 26, 2015 ‑‑ The California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), Department of Developmental Services (DDS), and Department of Education (CDE), in collaboration with Disability Rights California (DRC), recently took an historic step as one of a handful of states to transform its provision of employment services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Currently, under certain circumstances, employers can pay people with disabilities less than minimum wage based on their productivity. This practice is most often applied to people with intellectual and d