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1600 9th Street
P. O. Box 944202
Sacramento, CA 94244-2020

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TTY: (916) 654-2054

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Developmental Center Closures

History--In 1853, a California system of large, public hospitals for the "mentally disadvantaged" began with the establishment of the Insane Asylum of California at Stockton (which later became Stockton DC) to provide in-patient care and treatment. Since the 1960s, with the passage of the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act (Lanterman Act), the role of the State-operated Developmental Centers (DC) has been changing.

The resident population has declined from a high in 1968 of 13,400, with thousands on a waiting list for admission, to 1,077 residents as of July 1, 2015 between the three remaining DCs and one Community Facility (CF).

Additionally, 2012 Budget Trailer Bill language (AB 1472) imposed a moratorium on admissions to DCs - except for individuals involved in the criminal justice system and consumers in an acute crisis needing short-term stabilization. The aging DC infrastructure, the moratorium on admissions and gradual decline in DC population, associated costs of operation, and the recent development of new community-based residential and service models capable of meeting the service needs of people with significant health and behavioral needs have all reduced the reliance on State-operated DCs.

Closure Planning--Based on the above factors, since 1996, three large DCs and one state-operated community facility have undergone closure processes. In 2014, a statewide task force released their Plan for the Future of Developmental Centers in California making recommendations for the future of DC residents and DC land use. The plan's recommendations include the continuation of efforts to expand available services and supports in the community, allowing DC residents to transition into community living options that best meet their needs.

The 2015 Budget Trailer Bill (SB 82) enacts several provisions affecting the DCs, including the requirement for the Department of Developmental Services (Department) to submit to the Legislature, on or before October 1, 2015, a plan or plans to close one or more DCs. Efforts are underway to prepare and submit a plan to the Legislature on October 1, 2015 to close Sonoma DC by 2018 and subsequent plans will be developed to close Fairview DC and the Porterville DC General Treatment Area. Implementation of closure plans are contingent upon legislative approval, and following that approval, require the Department to provide quarterly briefings to legislative staff on progress related to the plan. More information about efforts to transform services at Sonoma can be found at Transforming Sonoma Developmental Center - News and Updates webpage.

Section 4474.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code spells out the specific steps required whenever the closure of a DC is proposed. The Department solicits input from a broad range of stakeholders, including the residents of the DC planned for closure. In addition, at least one public hearing in the community in which the DC is located is held to provide an additional opportunity for public input. All public input will be summarized in a closure plan submitted to the Legislature.

DC Staff--In addition to including input from the above stakeholders in the closure plan, the Department will work with the county in which the DC is located, the regional centers served by the DC, and other state departments using similar classifications, to develop a program for the placement of staff of the DC planned for closure in other DCs, as positions become vacant, or in similar positions in programs operated by or through contract with the county, regional centers, or other state departments, including, but not limited to:

Resident Transition--Planning for where DC residents will move is a very careful and thoughtful process that is individualized to each person. Through the Individual Program Plan (IPP) process, the consumer and their Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) will decide where that person should live. You can find more information on the Transition process.

Previously Closed Facilities--A number of the Department's facilities are now closed but their history and the many men and women who have lived and worked there remain a valuable part of the Department's history. You can find details about some of those facilities below:

Last Updated: 3/2/2018