Fairview Transitions Take Time and Careful Planning
In the day to day work we all do toward improving the lives of those we serve, it is often hard to see the amazing progress we are making. It is so important to step back and look at where we have come from. Back in June of 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark Olmstead decision, which required that people with disabilities be served in the least restrictive setting appropriate for them. Since then, we in California have gradually transitioned thousands of individuals from the state’s developmental centers into more home-like settings in the community. From a peak of 2,700 residents in 1967, Orange County’s own Fairview Developmental Center housed just 159 residents at the end of August – that’s 80 fewer than in the spring of 2016.
Many of the Fairview residents who are still awaiting homes in the community have very significant challenges, including complex medical needs. They may require specialized housing that provides a high staff to resident ratio, and access to a range of highly-trained experts, from licensed vocational nurses (LVN) to physical therapists, occupational therapists, and more.
RCOC is currently working with several very dedicated service providers to develop specialized homes in Orange County, some of them specifically to accommodate Fairview residents who will be transitioning into the community. In addition, our Fairview Resource Group brings together RCOC’s own experts in psychology, behavior analysis and nursing to support the planning teams evaluating each individual’s options. And, of course, there’s no substitute for the insights of devoted family members on planning teams.
As we close in on the 2019 Fairview closure deadline agreed to by the Department of Developmental Services and the federal government, all of us involved with the process want families to know how much we appreciate their active involvement in the transition process and that we’re committed to ensuring that process is thoughtful, comprehensive, and very carefully managed.