California Advocates for Residential Choice Speak on Draft Developmental Center Task Force Report
California Association of Psychiatric Technicians (December 20, 2013) - A Lanterman Developmental Center (LDC) Psych Tech serving on the state Task Force on the Future of Developmental Centers strongly cautions that much more needs to be done prior to taking any action of any kind regarding California developmental-center services. In a letter to task-force leader and California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley regarding the group's draft report to the Legislature, Brad Whitehead noted that, while the draft document isn’t a closure mandate and offers hope for continuing and reimagining state developmental services, in-depth data- and choice-driven work remains. "I maintain the heartfelt hope that our task force has not been a mere formality, but that it actually marks the start of what must be a much more involved statewide and national conversation on the need for quality, professional services for all Americans with developmental disabilities."
Kathleen Miller, President of the Parent Hospital Association, who served on the Task Force, also sent a letter to Secretary Dooley stating that information on outcomes associated with prior transitions from developmental center care to smaller settings was critical before making any determination about the future of California's developmental centers. "Until death data confirming that these services, and the transitions to them, do not cause the decline and unintended deaths of medically fragile developmental center clients, they should not be forced into other living options. Currently we do not have access to this data. . . Before we eliminate the safety net of the Developmental Centers for those with enduring and complex medical needs, we request that there be data collected on death rates. In the event that there is an increase in the rate of deaths during closures; we feel that needs to be addressed prior to any plan to move the remaining medically fragile individuals out. It is only reasonable that the DDS and anyone concerned about the safety and well being of these individuals would do this."