Agnews Closure Delayed Another Year
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 7, 2006
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA--Some residents of Agnews Developmental Center will remain at the facility for at least another year while the state works to develop new homes for them in the community.
On Monday, a Senate subcommittee voted to push back the closure date to June 2008, according to the ANG Newspapers service.
Agnews executive director Harold Pitchford said it would take six to eight months to find land for "special needs housing" and another year to build homes for 170 of the remaining 285 residents.
Pitchford also said the facility has been given permission to start providing outpatient medical and dental services for local residents with disabilities who are not receiving those services in the community.
In January 2002, 12 people housed in Agnews and other California's institutions filed a class-action lawsuit against the state and its 21 regional centers, demanding to be allowed to live in the community. Protection and Advocacy, Inc. filed the suit also on behalf of Capitol People First, Arc California, and California Alliance for Inclusive Communities. Two California taxpayers, who were also disability rights advocates, joined the suit, claiming that the state had spent tax dollars in violation of federal law by failing to provide community supports for people with developmental disabilities.
The following January, California Governor Gray Davis submitted a budget plan that called for closing Agnews by July 2005 and moving its residents into homes in the community.
California lawmakers approved a measure the next year to provide $100 million to purchase up to 100 homes in the Bay Area specifically for the 300 or so Agnews residents.
In January of 2005, the administration of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that the state would need to hold off on closing Agnews until June 2007 when community-based supports are expected to be in place for those residents.
Other California facilities have closed in the past, but most of the residents were simply transferred to other institutions.
"Agnews center shutdown postponed another year" (Oroville Mercury-Register)
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