Sam Moves from a Developmental Center to a Community Home
Sam lived in locked institutional settings for much of his life. On his own, Sam filed a writ of habeas corpus, seeking his release from a developmental center. Although he was successful in his petition and won his release, his first community placement failed in part because the location and services were not a good match for his needs. Sam was again placed in a developmental center. OCRA and DRC’s regional office staff represented Sam at IPP meetings and advocated for an appropriate community placement and community-based services. A new enhanced behavioral home was developed in Sam’s home community, so he had the opportunity to be the first person to move in. OCRA and DRC advocated for extensive transition planning, including opportunities for Sam to visit his new home and for the group home staff to visit Sam in the developmental center before completing the move in order to build trust and rapport. The team working with Sam engaged in cross-training with the staff at his new home to share his strengths, preferences, and strategies to help him communicate effectively and manage his behaviors. Sam moved into his new home, where he is happy and thriving. He makes coffee for himself in the morning, earns money at his day program, listens to his favorite music, and appreciates having the freedom to make choices about how and with whom he spends his days.
When Sam moved into the community, the civil commitment under which he was being held at the developmental center expired. Even though Sam was doing well at his community placement, his regional center filed a petition to have a new civil commitment put in place that would give the regional center additional control over his living arrangement. OCRA and DRC regional office staff asked the regional center to withdraw the petition in order to preserve Sam’s autonomy, due process rights, and ability to access crisis services in the future if necessary. OCRA appeared on Sam’s behalf at a hearing regarding the commitment and asked the court to continue the matter so the parties could meet and confer, and to allow Sam to demonstrate success in the community to show that he did not meet the legal standard necessary to support a civil commitment. The court continued the hearing as requested, and by the time of the next hearing, with Sam thriving in the community, the regional center asked the court to dismiss the petition.