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Developmental Centers Home Page

Developmental Centers The Department of Developmental Services (Department) currently operates two State developmental centers (DCs) which are licensed and certified as General Acute Care hospitals with Skilled Nursing and Intermediate Care Facility/Intellectual Disability (ICF/ID) services.Additionally, the Department operates one smaller, state-operated community facility (CF) licensed as an ICF/ID facility.

Developmental Center Closure/Transformation

The 2015 May Revision to the Governor's Budget proposed the closures of the three remaining DCs--Sonoma, Fairview and the General Treatment Area (GTA) of Porterville. The Department submitted a closure plan for SDC to the Legislature on October 1, 2015 with the goal of closing SDC by the end of 2018. A closure plan for FDC and the PDC GTA was submitted to the Legislature on April 1, 2016 with the goal of closing both facilities by 2021. See links below for more information on the closure planning for each facility.

Residential Capacity and Consumer Transitions
Monthly reports about the development of residential capacity for consumers transitioning into the community from Developmental Centers subject to closure and the number of consumers who have transitioned into the community.

Mission--The primary mission of the DC/CF facilities is to provide 24-hour habilitation and treatment services for residents with developmental disabilities designed to increase levels of independence, functioning skills, and opportunities for making choices that affect a person's life including the identification of services and supports and options for transition into the local community.

Services--A person-centered planning approach is utilized, involving the resident and the parents or other appropriate family members or legal representatives, developmental center and regional center staff, to identify and meet service and treatment needs of the residents. Services are designed to include activities that involve all aspects of daily living including residential services through skill training, specialized medical and dental health-care, physical/occupational/speech therapies and language development, to leisure and recreational opportunities. In addition, residents under age 22 attend school either in the community or in DC/CF classes. Adults participate in a wide variety of vocational and skill-development programs both at the DC and/or in the local community.

Admission and Transition--The DC system provides intensive services to individuals who require a level of service and support that is not available in other settings. All new admissions are restricted to Porterville's Secure Treatment Program and the acute crisis centers at Sonoma and Fairview, require a court order, and are based on a formal determination that the DC/CF is the only residential setting available to insure the individual's health and safety. Referrals for admission are made through the 21 regional centers located throughout the State of California. Regional Resource Development Projects (RRDP) at each DC also play an important role in assisting in activities related to admissions, transition planning, deflection, and resource development.

DC Task Force Recommendations--Responding to legal, fiscal, and legislative inquiries, and the recognized need to define a path for the future of the DCs, the "Task Force on the Future of Developmental Centers" was established by the California Health and Human Services Agency. Consumers, family members, regional centers, consumer advocates, community service providers, organized labor, legislators and the Department were represented on the Task Force and charged with advising the Administration on the development of a master plan for the future of the DCs. The resulting plan and recommendations of the DC Task Force can be found at Plan for the future of Developmental Centers in California. The DC Task Force was subsequently renamed Developmental Services (DS) Task Force to focus efforts on strengthening the community system while continuing to address the following topics related to the DCs. The DS Task Force continues to meet and summaries of the meetings are posted on the DS Task Force webpage.

The Developmental Centers Division is actively working to address those topics identified by the DC Task Force that impact the DC system through policy changes and initiatives identified below.

Developmental Centers Initiatives--The Department's highest priority is the health and safety of all DC residents and the protection and quality of care including ongoing efforts to assess, improve and enhance the provision of supports and services. In order to ensure these individuals are protected, the Department has a number of systems in place as safeguards and standards. These expectations extend beyond those required by regulation and legislation in order to ensure appropriate levels of supervision and support are provided at all times to meet the intensive service needs of the DC population.

The Department is committed to the continuous improvement of DC services. Through a constant review of input received, lessons learned from past experiences, and changes in the consumer population the DC system is always responding and improving practices and policies to ensure the highest standard of quality care.

The DCs regularly participate in a number of planned and unplanned reviews of clinical practices and systems, such as the licensing surveys by the Department of Public Health (DPH), mock surveys by DDS headquarters teams, and contracted consultation with subject-matter experts who have nationwide experience. In addition, a variety of investigative processes are in place for closer examination of specific incidents when they occur. These resources and the feedback received generate important information about current services and are essential to the identification of areas for improvement.

The past few years have realized a changing population within each of the DCs as residents continue to transition into community settings and fewer consumers are admitted into state-operated facilities. This change in population requires adjustments in both service delivery needs and staff support needs. In response to changing needs and input received from both internal and external reviews including the DC Task Force, Department of Public Health (CDPH), and DC quality improvement information, the Department has implemented a series of initiatives to improve and expand on the delivery of services while continually assessing the needs of the population. These initiatives cover several service delivery areas directly related to consumer care and treatment and/or indirectly impacting consumer services. These initiatives include:

Last Updated: 6/14/2019