A fence too far: Much at stake as state moves to close Sonoma Developmental Center

While it’s been in operation since 1891, the state may close Glen Ellen’s Sonoma Development Center, a state facility for behaviorally and developmentally disabled adults.

wildlife corridor
An essential Wildlife Corridor: the Sonoma Developmental Center has 1000 acres of undeveloped open space (Source: Sonoma Ecology Center.)

If the state gets its way, Kathleen Miller’s disabled adult son and some 400 other patients will be forced to leave the care of Glen Ellen’s Sonoma Development Center for a destination unknown.”[State officials] say they want to collaborate with us, but this is a fast-track for closure,” Miller says. “They want to close it very quickly, and almost dangerously.”
Miller is the head of the Parent Hospital Association at the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC), which the state has scheduled to close in 2018. Last week she was one of several local advocates for the center who teed off on the proposed closure plan offered by the state Department of Developmental Services.State Sens. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, and Bill Dodd, D-Napa, share her concerns and took issue with a plan that they said doesn’t address the fate of the developmentally and behaviorally disabled people now living at the facility.
“We are incredibly disappointed with the draft plan that was put forward last week,” the lawmakers asserted in a Sept. 21 press release. “The report is inadequate and lacks the specific details that we as a community expected, and quite frankly, were led to believe would be delivered.”
The question hanging in the air is what happens if efforts at community placement of residents fail by the time the facility closes? Closing the SDC means closing a facility of last resort for some residents who might otherwise find themselves getting their mental-health services in locked-down hospital psychiatric wards or, worse, in jail.
Read more at: A Fence Too Far | News | North Bay Bohemian