Recently, news items have been printed about the mentally retarded clients at the Machado Family Home in Cypress. I am a concerned parent of an autistic son who has been and is getting excellent care at the Machados' for the past seven years.
The funding agency is the Orange County Developmental Disabilities Center. Much has been reported about the center's unilateral stand. Little has been reported about the legal rights of the parents/private conservators under the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Act.
Simply put, the law states that a client (mentally retarded person) or representative must be given an opportunity to challenge the unilateral regional center decision and be provided services already agreed to until parents/private conservators have an opportunity to be heard. This is the essence of due process of law (Welfare & Institutions Code, Sec. 4710).
The center may argue that termination of funding was necessary for the health and safety of the client. The vital question is: How is terminating of funding justified, when most parents believe that it is in our best interest for our children to stay at the Machado Family Homes, that the Machado homes' license is still valid, and that parents' "on-the-spot" investigations of their children and Machado homes show adequate care to protect and service our children's health and safety?
The center, to this date, has made unsubstantiated claims against the Machado Family Homes without thorough investigation and positive proof.
There are many other care-provider homes undergoing such unilateral decision making for their many mentally retarded clients. A loud clarion call should be sounded now for our state legislators to consider an independent investigation of the operations of the Orange County Developmental Disabilities Center, regular accountability and public audit of its annual budget and the transfer of more supervision and authority to Area Board XI.
CHARLES E. WOLFF