Parents Group Takes on State Over Disabled

A parents group has gone to court to force the state to temporarily take over operation of a San Gabriel Valley center for handicapped children. It also asked the court to bar the state from passing management of the center to an agency outside the valley.

The petition filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court specifically names the state Department for Developmentally Disabled, which on June 30 put a San Bernardino agency in charge of the San Gabriel Valley Regional Center for the Developmentally Disabled in Pomona after deciding that the local board had failed to meet requirements for financial accounting and patient care.

No date has been set for the hearing.

Parents say they are concerned that the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, which now oversees services for the neurologically handicapped in the El Monte, Pomona and Monrovia health districts, cannot adequately provide for their needs in the San Gabriel Valley.

The San Gabriel Valley Parent Coalition for 120 Days wants the court to order the state to organize a new local governing board for a San Gabriel Valley center.

The coalition contends that state law requires that a new board be appointed to take over within 120 days when an existing center's contract is not renewed.

The group's attorney, Valerie Vanaman, contends that the Department of Developmental Services' action was illegal. At a coalition meeting last week, she urged its members to seek legislation that would assure reinstatement of a center for the San Gabriel Valley.

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