On Dec. 12, 2012, the state Department of Public Health announced that the Sonoma Developmental Center, California's largest board-and-care facility for the severely disabled, would lose its primary license to operate, depriving the center of millions of dollars in federal support. This severe sanction came after an investigation by California Watch had revealed the center's management and police force had failed to adequately investigate significant evidence of patient abuse.
Patients at the center are among the state's most vulnerable, suffering from cerebral palsy, severe autism and other mental, intellectual and physical disabilities. Additionally, the center employs more than a thousand people, many of them Sonoma residents.What does this new development mean for the region, the city, the developmental center, and the people who live in surrounding communities?
Highlighting the work of California Watch reporter Ryan Gabrielson, we will also feature a panel discussion with community members and thought leaders moderated by Phil Bronstein, executive chairman of the Center for Investigative Reporting.