Q & A on the Sonoma Developmental Center

January 29, 2015:

Q: How long has the Sonoma Developmental Center been established in Eldridge, California?

A: Opening at its current location on November 24, 1891, the center has been established for 123 years now. The center has also existed at previous locations in Vallejo and Santa Clara since 1884.

Q: How many people live at the Sonoma Developmental Center?

A: As of December 31, 2014, four-hundred and seventeen individuals live at the Sonoma Developmental Center.

Q: What is at risk if the Sonoma Developmental Center were to close?

A: The loss of the SDC facilities and open space to development would have consequences affecting hundreds of patients and their families, over 1,000 employees, support services in the local community, critical habitat for fish and wildlife, and the potential for recreation and public access. 

Q: Are there plans for the Sonoma Developmental Center to close?

A: There has not been a stated plan to close the Sonoma Developmental Center, but there is no perfect solution for the future of the center as change is inevitable and understandably, the scope of the degree of change is very difficult for those directly affected. According to the California’s Department of Developmental Services website on the History of the Sonoma Developmental Center, ” (it) has always been and will always be committed to continuous improvement of its comprehensive array of therapeutic service.” Although the California Department of Health announced its notice to terminate federal funding for the center, DHCS along with DDS emphasized that patient care will not change as a result of the termination notice. 

Q: Are people allowed to access the property for recreational uses?

A: Individuals have frequented the property for decades now, whether it be for hiking, birding, or horse back riding. It is encouraged that one stays to the out skirts of the property though away from the buildings as the residents of SDC do reside and use the facilities.

Q: What are some special status species that reside on or near the Sonoma Developmental Center?

A: A few special status species that reside on or near the Sonoma Developmental Center are the Northern Spotted Owl, the Red-Legged Frog, the California Tiger Salamander, and the Western Pond Turtle. Pictures of most of these special status species are available to view in the Photos box of this blog.

Q: Where do I go to report a siting of a special status species on or near SDC, or report a safety hazard present on the property?

A: To report a siting of a special status species on or near SDC, go to the California Natural Diversity Database and fill out the form titled Submitting Data to CNDDB. With reporting a safety hazard present on the property, one can email the Department of Developmental Services Chief Deputy Director John Doyle at john.doyle@dds.ca.gov.

Q: When and where is the next public meeting for the ‘Transform SDC’ Project?

A: The next public meeting, the Parent Hospital Association Legislative Meeting, will be held on March 25th from 10am to 12pm at SDC in the Wagner Building. 

Q:Where can I go to retrieve more information on the efforts being put forth for the project?

A: The ‘Transform SDC’ Blog is made to be a one stop shop for all the information you may need to stay up to date on the efforts of the project. Other websites that may provide additional information and are part of the SDC Coalition are the Parent Hospital Association, the Sonoma Ecology Center, and the County of Sonoma website with connection to Supervisor Susan Gorin.

Q: How can I help with the ‘Transform SDC’ Project?

A: We will be establishing a Tags Committee where those who would like to be involved in the process can come and express their interests and ideas. There will also be public workshops held soon as part of the planning process for the project.

Spread the word and encourage people to follow our ‘Transform SDC’ blog to receive the latest information and be a part of this amazing project!

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