Assemblymember Addis’ bill spotlights failing disability system

March 1, 2023

Dawn Addis


I want to thank Assemblymember Dawn Addis for introducing AB 1147 to address the “failing” developmental disability system in California. The bill calls for reforming the $13-billion system, and for providing increased accountability and transparency in the vast network of nonprofits that inhabit this space.

The need for reform was evident at the Sam Luis Obispo County Courthouse last week when Deborah Findley once again petitioned on behalf of her 22-year-old disabled dependent adult-child Andrew, who is being held in conservatorship by this failing system. It was shocking to learn from the judge that Andrew’s family has been waiting for over four years to be heard in a court of law.

Four years without even an evidentiary hearing to resolve a “temporary” conservatorship. Four years of denials and continuances.

While four years of attorney’s fees has wiped out Andrew’s parents’ savings, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and their contractor, Tri Counties Regional Center (TCRC), were represented in court by five people in suits, working on the government dime with seemingly unlimited resources.

Never once in these four years has Andrew ever appeared before the court, who takes DDS and TCRC at their word that he is doing fine.

His family, on the other hand, claims that Andrew is being medically neglected and chemically restrained, and that his physical and mental health have seriously deteriorated. Their request for an independent medical assessment has been denied. And that’s just scratching the surface on alleged abuses.

Assemblymember Addis’ bill will put a spotlight on these practices, and hopefully, will help fix this broken system that is actually harming those it is meant to serve.

Nicole Dorfman ia a member of the Central Coast Health Coalition Leadership Team.

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Curious who runs these programs, or founded them, and how do they lean politically.

Yes, it’s important. Knowing the mindset of the board that conceived and operates any foundation or organization that receives tax money to operate, can tell you much about how that money is applied and spent.

Obviously, these programs are not working very well, yet the typical solution from a certain political and societal thought, is to throw more taxes at the failing solution.

I too have a disabled family member and we have found the disability programs to be extremely inefficient. The majority of employees I have encountered over the years and been uninterested in helping the disabled. They perform their jobs to the minimum and could care less about the needy.

The corruption in the disability system in California is off the charts… I doubt another accountability bill will do anything to fix it…