Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health California

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Winter 2021 Newsletter

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


In December, Devereux California team members and the individuals we serve gathered together (keeping COVID-19 safety protocols in mind) to celebrate the holiday season! Santa and Mrs. Claus paid a special visit and showered everyone with good cheer and holiday gift bags. All those in attendance were treated to a car and truck parade of lights which circled the homes on the Goleta Slough. Residents also enjoyed holiday sweets and cups of hot chocolate!



After 44 years of teaching, managing direct service to our individuals, and organizational team leadership, Mory Alvarez, our quality management manager, made the decision to retire from her full-time position with Devereux California.

Mory began as a therapist and direct support professional in the children’s division of Devereux California in the mid-1970’s, and in the decades since, she held roles of increasing responsibility, including program director, treatment specialist and, most recently, quality management leader.

According to Devereux California Executive Director Amy Evans, “Mory dedicated her life to Devereux and its purpose. In her four-plus decades at Devereux, she held a wide variety of roles with the common thread of improvement and enhancements for the benefit of each individual and his/her family or guardian.”

For the past decade, Mory’s work as our center’s senior investigator and safety officer led her to create the Devereux Emergency Response Team (DERT), which is responsible for coordinating with public officials, regulatory agencies and community emergency response officials to ensure our individuals are safely evacuated and housed during a fire, earthquake or other natural disaster. Under Mory’s expertise, DERT established a sophisticated communications channel to quickly get information to loved ones, provider agencies and local public health and safety units. The many “hats” Mory had worn operating DERT over the years, include incident command officer, staff logistics chief, as well as regulatory, police, fire, and emergency room liaison during times of natural disaster in Santa Barbara County. Having grown up in Santa Barbara, Mory has accumulated a thorough knowledge of the transportation network and evacuation routes, along with what resources are available for our individuals.

In 2020, Mory once again took the lead by immediately forming a 20-member COVID-19 pandemic response team as soon as public agencies announced shelter-in-place orders for California. With Mory’s exceptional leadership, the team kept abreast daily, or even hourly, of Devereux national directives, CDC recommendations, the re-education of direct care staff and administrators regarding new COVID-19 protocols to maintain health and safety, while also managing the shifting flow of information on safety procedures and recommendations from the state of California.

Upon retirement in February 2021, Mory will assume a new advisory role on a part-time basis with Devereux California program services. She plans to develop more teaching materials and guide direct care professionals and program administrators in providing the best possible care and support for our individuals.


Have you ever wondered about the ins and outs of a Special Needs Trust (SNT), also known as a Supplemental Needs Trust? Any SNT is an arrangement in which a person or an institution manages assets for an individual with a disability. The individual with a disability benefits from the arrangement because assets are placed into a trust, and are distributed, as needed, to cover expenses that might not be paid for through other sources of income. Any type of “liquid” asset can be placed into a trust, such as cash, stocks, bonds and tangible assets.

If an individual receives public benefits, such as Social Security income, Medicaid, in-home support or other housing assistance, the SNT arrangement could be written so that the trustee who manages the assets can decide when and how trust funds will be used for the benefit of the individual, who is known as the beneficiary.

The main goal of setting up an SNT is to have additional support beyond what is given to the individual from public sector sources. Also, it is an important safeguard since the SNT prevents the individual from giving away their rights to assets placed in the trust to anyone other than themselves for any reason.

Public sector funding provides income, healthcare, physical assistance and housing to cover basic needs, such as food, shelter, medical care and paratransit. The SNT is an invaluable financial tool that exists to provide extra support and can substantially improve an individual’s quality of care, inner fulfillment and depth of participation in life. For instance, SSI pays for food and shelter, and the SNT could pay for leisure activities, learning and education, as well as additional items to enhance an individual’s household and free time.

SNT should not reduce an individual’s Social Security if executed within existing laws. Payouts from the SNT should be spent on supports to enhance an individual’s life and well-being, if there is to be no reduction in their monthly Social Security payments.

Anyone can set up and place assets into a Third Party SNT, except the individual with a disability who is named as the beneficiary of the trust. On the other hand, a First Party SNT is good for accumulated assets, inheritances and court settlements, and the same overall restrictions apply regarding spending down this type of SNT. In addition, a First Party SNT can be established by the person with a disability if they are under 65 years of age, or it can be set up by a relative or guardian. Finally, the last way to set up an SNT is to create a pooled trust from different people and place the combined assets into a large fund that invests the income. As with a First party and a Third Party SNT, all beneficiaries of a Pooled SNT must have a disability that meets Social Security Administration criteria.

We will look further at the Pooled SNT in our next edition of the California center e-Newsletter scheduled for spring 2021.


Devereux California will soon be announcing the formal opening of our newest group home, Tularosa House, located in Lompoc, Calif. This beautiful home, with a wonderful view and very spacious interior, will serve adults transitioning from state institutions and developmental centers into the community. We hope this Enhanced Behavioral Supports home will help our three residents who are coming to live there, as far as being active, happy and curious about their new surroundings. Each resident will have a plan created just for them to meet their unique needs, aspirations and preferences, reflecting Devereux’s on-going commitment to person-centered planning and implementation across our organization.


We would like to thank the following for their outstanding Tribute Gifts:

  • George Cuttrell 
  • Kareena Hamilton 
  • Susan Hermance 
  • Merry Henry

Our other regular corporate donors are as follows:

  • Denbury Corporation

Annual foundation donors:

  • Clark H. Edwards Fund/California Community Foundation


Devereux California would like to acknowledge the following people for their generous contributions to our 2020 campaign for operating funds:

Major Donors

  • Anonymous 
  • Karen and Byron Blanco 
  • Janet and Ed Chen 
  • Jesselyn Cyr 
  • Joy Hecht 
  • Paul and Virginia Hernadi 
  • Maureen Keane 
  • Pierre Nicolas Trust and Susan James 
  • Peggy Reichard 
  • Julie Schwartz

Annual Donors

  • Hana Anderson 
  • Gail and Fred Buchanan 
  • Amy Evans 
  • Adrian and Auty Hayne 
  • Richard Johnston 
  • La Shon Kelley 
  • Darlena Kellogg 
  • Linda Kendall 
  • Karla Keese-Taylor 
  • Joanne Peterson 
  • Bruce Schaefer 
  • Samantha Sennett 
  • Dan Terry 
  • Sherman Vincent 
  • Goleta Lions Charities

We are very grateful for this support and recognition of our staff and corporate efforts to provide the best possible programs and services for all those adults in our care!


We are pleased to announce the following changes to our administrative and programs staff:

Rebecca Popke moved to a new position at Devereux California - Director of Operations where she will be responsible for all licensed programs and services, as well as admissions and service provider logistics and planning. Congratulations, Rebecca!

Jennifer Farley moved into the Program Director position with the vacancy in this post. Congratulations, Jennifer!

Clare Penny moved into an Assistant Director of Clinical Services position where she will be responsible for the medical-related administration of our program division. Congratulations, Clare!

Lani Fox is our new Nurse Manager, working at the Wiesman respite and therapeutic facility. Welcome aboard, Lani!

Charae Eakins is our new People Operations Generalist who is working from Lompoc and is the California center’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) specialist. Welcome aboard, Charae!

Dominic Chavez is our new People Operations Specialist and trainer who is working at our Goleta administrative building. Welcome aboard, Dominic!

Erika De Leon is our new Admissions/Marketing Assistant and Adult Day Program Case Manager. Welcome aboard, Erika!

Jessica Queen is our new Foothill home Assistant Supervisor. Welcome aboard, Jessica!

Lizbeth Rangel is our new Finance Clerk for accounts due in our Finance and Facilities office. Welcome aboard, Lizbeth!

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