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Spring 2021 Newsletter

Fall 2021 Newsletter | Summer 2021 Newsletter | Spring 2021 Newsletter
Winter 2021 Newsletter | Fall 2020 Newsletter | Summer 2020 Newsletter


Hello families and friends of Devereux,

Well, it has been quite a year. Sending this newsletter almost 14 months after COVID-19 began, who would have thought it would have lasted so long. We are incredibly grateful to our families who supported Devereux California in establishing and maintaining the safest practices during the pandemic. We know, at times, this was challenging for us all as we worked to protect our loved ones, family members and staff while, at the same time, we supported their emotional well-being.

As we enter spring, our planning activities involve other matters. We are beginning to review the state budget proposal and work on our own budget for next year. Our lobbying efforts will be focused on two major areas of legislation:

Cancel the scheduled rate cut: Reject the proposal to kick the suspension of supplemental rate increases further down the road by removing the suspension date entirely. After decades of underfunding, and now, while trying to recover from a global health crisis, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) deserve this commitment to fund their services. Any future rate cut will result in decreased direct support professional (DSP) wages or layoffs, further destabilizing the workforce and reducing access to necessary services. The supplemental rate increases were an emergency down payment on filling a $1.8 billion funding gap found by the state’s own rate study.

Modernize DSP wage increases: Replace the current rate adjustment model with a flat rate increase of 3.33 percent for every $1 increase in the state minimum. To achieve the highest quality services possible for Californians with IDD, the state must acknowledge the skilled, hard-working direct support workforce by developing the career field. COVID-19 has highlighted the dedication of California DSPs. Their compensation should not be tethered around a minimum wage-based rate. DSPs have the most impact on the lives of people with IDD and their families, delivering services and supports every day. DSPs are mostly women and people of color – individuals collectively hit harder by the pandemic.

We may be reaching out to you soon for your support in these legislative activities.

Welcome to spring – and let us hope the tides have turned and we will continue to move forward on a healthy path.


Last summer, we began working on our Home and Community-Based Services Person-Centered Planning Project that is expected to run through December 2021, and we hope to continue this project into 2022 with even better person-centered services!

This project’s goal focuses on ensuring all of our individuals are taken care of in a personally meaningful way. This means our staff are undergoing training and certification in person-centered techniques and communication approaches to ensure personal preferences are adhered to, and followed up on, as we move into the future.

Our leads on the project are Clare Penny, assistant director of clinical services, with oversight and guidance provided by Noelle Escovedo, director of clinical services, both working at our California center. These leaders are establishing training protocols, developing questions for our adults, and then Clare will assign and lead a group of HCBS Champions from among her trainees. The work also incorporates cultural differences among our individuals, age and other personal preferences, and by the summertime, we will see data tools and assessments regarding the ongoing effectiveness of the project.

Our readers can look forward to more information about HCBS at Devereux California in our next edition to be published in August 2021!


We are pleased to announce the following new staff members at Devereux California, as well as more recent staff transfers and promotions:

Albert Covarrubias joined the California center as our new Maintenance and Facilities Specialist. Welcome, Albert!

Cecilia Laurel joined the California center as the new Assistant Supervisor for Tularosa home. Welcome, Cecilia!

Crenshaw Heinsohn joined the California center as the new Assistant Supervisor for Somerset home. Welcome, Crenshaw!

Karen Dacomb moved from Casa Feliz home to the Weisman facility to assume the role of Program Administrator for our respite division. Good luck, Karen!

Leticia Villarreal joined the California center as the new Quality Management Manager. Welcome, Leticia!

Meagan Kruger joined the California center as a new Behavioral Analyst for Tularosa home. Welcome, Meagan!

Susan Gonzalez joined the California center as the new Assistant Supervisor for Foothill home. Welcome, Susan!

Yesenia Ruiz joined the California center as a new Program Administrator for Foothill home. Welcome, Yesenia!

Preston Frye was promoted from his assistant supervisory and administrative role at Somerset home to assume the role of Assistant Program Director for licensed programs. Good luck, Preston!


The adults we care for are awesome! To recognize the unique and special lifelong bond between our adults and their siblings, our center recently participated in Devereux’s National Sibling Day photo campaign!

National Sibling Day was April 10, 2021, and Devereux California put out a call to all siblings of our families across the country to participate in this campaign.

We thank everyone who shared photos and told us why Devereux California siblings ROCK!

Here is a sampling of the photos and comments we received:

"My big brother, Richie, is one of the funniest, kindest, most fun guys I know. He always makes me laugh, and he always looks out for me. Even though we don’t live near each other, I know he’s there for me. I like to visit him during his birthday week. I help set up decorations and get everything ready for his big day. His favorite part is receiving presents. All in all, Richie is the best big bro I could have ever asked for."

- Angie - Devereux California sibling
  Pictured above (front row center) with Devereux-supported sibling,
  Richie (back row left), mother, Carol (back row center),
  and fiancé, Zach (back row right)


- Jim - Devereux California sibling
  Pictured above with sibling, Terry (center), and wife, Monica (right),
  on a cruise to Mexico before COVID-19


"Rebecca “Becky” was born in 1952 as the third of four children to Gerry and Darlene “Pete.” Our parents made the decision to move our family from a small town in California's central valley to Santa Barbara in 1961. This move allowed Becky to attend the Devereux school, which provided her with the education and peer support best suited to her needs. Becky is the glue that binds the four of us siblings together since the passing of our parents. She has taught us much about patience, humor, simple pleasures and unconditional love."

- Gerry - Devereux California sibling
  Picture from left: Siblings Gerry, Merry, Becky, Terry and nephew, Andy


In our last edition of Devereux California’s e-newsletter, we discussed setting up the option for a Special Needs Trust (SNT) via a pooled trust. Using income from different people and placing them into a combined investment fund, while also bearing in mind that all participants must have a disability that meets Social Security Administration criteria, is the crux of establishing a pooled SNT.

Although the funds and the interest income generated remain in a pooled trust fund together, each participant (aka beneficiary) has their own account. The flexibility inherent in this account is the ability of the owner to create a tailored, person-centered distribution plan for themselves. Funds of a pooled trust are generally used to supplement a beneficiary’s Social Security and used for person-centered purchasing. The biggest benefit of participation in a pooled SNT is that after assets are spent down to a level acceptable to government benefit restrictions on personal liquid assets, the individual can transfer remaining funds into a pooled trust account.

Most states, including California, require that funds kept in a pooled SNT are used for reimbursement to the government for any medical care while the beneficiary is alive. Once the beneficiary passes, if there is any income remaining of their share of the SNT, via a will, they can transfer it to a nonprofit such as Devereux to support our mission and purpose.

In sum, a pooled SNT is convenient, accessible to anyone with a disability, has relatively low maintenance costs, and eventually, can be used to help the organization who cared for the beneficiary during their lifetime.


Devereux California would like to thank the following people for their continued generosity:

Major Donors

  • Anonymous 
  • Maureen and Rick Bihn
  • Christine Frykman
  • Mohammed Ghouse
  • Kareena Hamilton
  • Jennica Harris
  • Paul and Virginia Hernadi

We also thank the following Corporate and Foundation contributors for their outstanding support:

  • Denbury
  • LifeToGo/Accelerate 360
  • Medtronic Foundation
  • Santa Barbara Foundation, Senior Programs


Person-centered programs and services place the needs and interests of individuals with disabilities first. Service providers listen carefully to individuals and their families, and learn about the individuals and what each person would like. Staff then work together to set goals, create personal plans and a means to implement them.

Person-centered care also requires that we always treat individuals with disabilities with respect and dignity.

We would like to once again express our gratitude to the following Person-Centered Planning funders from 2020: Williams-Corbett Foundation, The Ann Jackson Family Foundation and the California Department of Developmental Disabilities, Home and Community-Based Services.

Fall 2021 Newsletter | Summer 2021 Newsletter | Spring 2021 Newsletter
Winter 2021 Newsletter | Fall 2020 Newsletter | Summer 2020 Newsletter