California Association of Psychiatric Technicians Opposes Closure of Lanterman Developmental Center
Feb 24, 2010 --- Editor's note: This statement on behalf of CAPT was delivered at the February 24, 2010 public hearing by Tony Myers, CAPT state president and a Lanterman SPT.
As the professional organization representing 511 members employed at the Lanterman Developmental Center (LDC) and as pledged advocates for the 398 people who call LDC home, CAPTs Board of Directors has taken the position that we are strongly opposed to Department of Developmental Services (DDS) proposal to close Lanterman Developmental Center.
We believe the decision by the DDS to move forward on a closure plan motivated by money is not in the best interest of the individuals living and receiving licensed, professional care at LDC. We are also concerned with the very limited time available to develop such a plan and that this entire process will be done in haste, regardless of the individual needs and wishes of individuals and their families and legal conservators. We believe a facility closure at the very least would be a highly disruptive experience causing clients great emotional and physical stress, and at the very worst would lead to dangerously inadequate care in inferior, little-regulated community homes.
CAPT has long said that, for many individuals, the current community care system fails to provide services that are equal to or better than care in developmental centers. Vital services are often substandard or nonexistent in the community. To close Lanterman would cause services to be lost for good. Highly qualified and licensed professional staff and important continuity of care would be scattered to the winds in the name of fiscal savings.
And any savings themselves are questionable. A recent study found that large savings are not possible within the field of developmental disabilities by shifting from developmental center to community settings, as the funding follows the clients.
We understand how the courts and federal government are pressuring the state to close developmental centers and move clients to smaller residences. However, CAPT believes individuals with developmental disabilities should be able to choose where they live from the full continuum of options -- whether in their own homes, in supported living, in group homes or in developmental centers -- and that all options should include professional, trained, regulated staff.
With DDS intent to move forward on closure of LDC, we believe the department has set the bar with the closure plan of Agnews Developmental Center. However, the time and funding available for the Agnews closure is at the department's own admittance not available for Lanterman. We believe that any closure planor any plan at all involving clients -- should be individual-based, not money-motivated. The residents of LDC deserve no less.
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