by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 26, 2001
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion
Daily Express Email News Service.
SACRAMENTO, CA-- Like many other states, California has been moving
from an institution-based service system for people with developmental
disabilities to a community-based service system. Over the last three
decades, the population of the state's institutions, called "developmental
centers", has dropped 72 percent.
The resistance from pro-institution groups is as strong as ever. And there
are still 4,000 people living in those developmental centers.
But last week, Assemblywoman Dion Aroner from Berkeley introduced a bill
that would transfer resources from the state's five remaining institutions
and use it to develop homes in the community and to improve pay for direct
support staff working in the community. If it is approved as introduced, AB
896 would develop a unified, community-based service system out of the
current dual system.
Even though community advocates see de-institutionalization as a human
rights issue, it will likely be money that will make the difference.
California's community-based service system serves about 170,000 people at
an average cost of $11,700 a year per person. The state also houses 3,800
Californians in five developmental centers, at an average of $166,753 a year
per person. In other words, the state spends about 25 percent of its
developmental disabilities budget on 2 percent of the people it serves.
At the same time, the aging institution facilities themselves may help to
bring about de-institutionalization. Two of the institutions are over 100
years old. The buildings themselves are decaying and the cost to renovate
them and to bring them up to code is estimated at over a billion dollars.
These and other arguments are presented well in Aroner's brief bill. You can
access it, along with links to other related stories and resources at this
Inclusion Daily Express web page:
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