Are You a Parent or Guardian of Someone Living at Sonoma Developmental Center?

We'd like to hear from you regarding reports of sexual abuse and other assaults at the center. We want to know the 'other side of the story' too.

This year, we've published reports of physical and sexual abuse, even a pregnancy, at Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, which houses people who are unable to live with their families because of conditions such as cerebral palsy.

The most recent story reported 36 cases of sexual abuse that went uninvestigated at facilities such as this one throughout the state, most of them reported at the Sonoma center. Many of the articles have been generated by an investigative project called California Watch. The group obtained confidential records from a variety of sources.

Sonoma Developmental Center is one of five facilities operated by the state in five counties.

In August, Patch contacted a group of parents who have loved ones within the center. Executive director of Parent Hospital Association, Kathleen Miller, made this video statement on the group's website. She said the majority of staff at the Sonoma Center are there "for the right reasons." She said staff were the ones to report abuse and that the Sonoma center constantly is being observed by the loved ones who visit clients there. She also said that staff are being overworked due to budget constraints.

Patch would like to hear directly from family members and guardians who have loved ones in Sonoma Developmental Center, so we can hear both sides of the story.

Please feel free to leave a comment below this story, or email Sonoma Valley Patch editor at julie.pendray@patch.com

Dee Baucher December 02, 2012 at 05:49 PM
"The other side of the story"?!!! This is not the type of issue that needs to be "white washed". Abuse and negligence regarding the disabled should be exposed. We are all aware of the important role that SDC and other similar facilities play in providing needed services for those with severe disabilities. That being said, there are obviously many wonderful and caring employees at SDC. But there is an obvious flaw in the system that would allow this type of heinous crime to occur repeatedly. The OPS is clearly not providing the oversight and security that should be expected. That entity needs to be reformed, which is the clear intent of the investigative journalism exposure.
Julie Pendray December 03, 2012 at 07:15 AM
Thank you for the comment. We are simply welcoming parents and guardians to weigh in so that all sides are heard.
Elizabeth Clary December 04, 2012 at 05:09 AM
Covering these issues begs an understanding of the ENTIRE system in California that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Over 250,000 people with disabilities are served via this system, most in their communities. Fewer than 1% of Californians with IDD are served in state institutions like SDC. People aren't institutionalized for having cerebral palsy; that's illegal. People with disabilities have the same rights as all other citizens. Please contact me at info@oadsinc.org if you would like some background on the continuum of support that exists statewide. Understanding this - and the rights of people with disabilities - is essential to balanced and informed coverage of issues at state institutions.
Julie Pendray December 05, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Thank you Elizabeth. I'll be in touch.


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