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Deadline Today for Sonoma Developmental Center Compliance

The state's largest residential facility for intellectually disabled people must show evidence of "immediate improvement" in its care of 290 of its clients.

Sonoma Developmental Center faces a deadline today by which it has to show immediate improvements in the care of 290 of its intellectually disabled residents or risk losing federal funding, according to a report by Sonoma Index-Tribune .

In December, the state Department of Health threatened to revoke the primary license of the facility, after allegations of abuse of 12 patients there in 2011. Reports included rape that allegedly led to a pregnancy, reported use of a taser gun on residents and inadequate or non-existent investigation of abuse cases by the on-site police agency at the facility.

The Sonoma center, in the community of Eldridge near Glen Ellen, has the opportunity to appeal the license revocation. The deadline for filing the appeal is today, according to news reports.

Terri Delgadillo, director of the state Department of Developmental Services, told reporters in December, "We have removed the Executive Director and the Clinical Director (of the Sonoma Developmental Center) and taken disciplinary action against several employees, including job terminations.

"We will work with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and CDPH to ensure the Sonoma Developmental Center's care meets state and federal standards," Delgadillo said.

"We are contacting our residents' families to assure them of our continued commitment to making improvements. We are moving quickly to fix this center and protect our residents," she said.

Delgadillo said the Department of Developmental Services will file an appeal of the CDPH's action and develop a performance improvement plan to keep the Sonoma Developmental Center in operation.

The Sonoma center is the largest of five residential facilities operated by the state for people with developmental disabilities. In September, it was housing about 520 people.

On Monday night, the president of the Parents Hospital Association at Sonoma Developmental Center will speak to Sonoma City Council. The group is comprised of parents of patients at the center.

Update: PHA president, Kathleen Miller responded to Patch on Friday about her upcoming presentation to the council:

"At this time I have not yet written my presentation to the council. However I was moved to do so to update them on the following issues:

1- The role of PHA-an organization that represents the families and friends of Sonoma Developmental Center(SDC) residents
2-Brief explanation of what is happening with licensing and SDC
3-How most families are reacting to recent events
4- Review of some of the issues related to licensing concerns and SDC
SDC has been a real part of the Sonoma community for decades and I felt it was important for the City Council to have an update on these issues."

The group's website is at parenthospitalassociation.org

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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