Nonprofit center investigated for lapses in care

The Associated Press
Monday October 02, 2000

OAKLAND — State officials confirmed they have begun investigating health and safety issues involving facilities caring for the developmentally disabled which contract through a nonprofit agency. 

The Department of Developmental Services is investigating several facilities which contract with the Regional Center for the East Bay, one of 21 nonprofit agencies in the state which provide placement services for the developmentally disabled. 

Paul Verke, a spokesman for the investigating agency, would not discuss specific allegations, only saying they involved safety issues and that the Regional Center’s procedure’s and records would be under scrutiny. The alleged shortcomings in care stems from a shortage of board and care homes, relegating developmentally disabled clients in group homes. 

As boarding homes closed, Regional Center was strapped for funds in 1997 and 1998 and could not build new ones, said Regional Center’s director Claudia DeMarco.  

DeMarco confirmed that the state’s investigation involves health and safety concerns and said the booming Bay Area economy and cost of living was driving many service providers out of the business – further depleting the Regional Center’s resources. 

“The issue has to do with what’s happening in the Bay Area and rates of pay for the providers,” DeMarco said. “A booming economy is great for a lot of folks, but it tightens the market.”