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1864 - Actor William S. Hart born in Newburgh, New York [Hart Index]
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LARC Ranch Executive Director Kathy Sturkey has been a leader of the facility that helps the developmentally disabled in the Santa Clarita community for 24 years. The facility was recently threatened with rule changes that could shutdown the ranch.

LARC Ranch, located just outside Santa Clarita city limits, is fighting a federal mandate that would essentially shut down the facility for the developmentally disabled in 2022.

The changes threaten dozens of individuals, some of who have enjoyed being part of the Santa Clarita community since the ranch opened in 1959, said LARC Ranch Executive Director Kathy Sturkey.

Sturkey expressed concern to KHTS News and in a recent SCVTV “Newsmaker” interview  about what might happen to some of the ranch’s residents who don’t have the means and support systems in place to thrive under the new rules.

“It’s very disconcerting and we’re going to be fighting, that’s what’s going to be happening,” said Sturkey, who’s worked at the Bouquet Canyon area ranch for 24 years.

“I think it hit all of us at the same time — at first, it was sort of like a tailspin,” she said, describing her initial reaction to news about the rule changes last spring. “I mean, ‘What’re we going to do? This is crazy.’”

Now, Sturkey, who says since receiving that news, officials have moved the deadline for compliance from 2018 to 2022, is looking to galvanize the community of care providers, advocates and others hurt by the new rules, in hopes of a more reasonable set of guidelines.

The rule changes would force her to house no more than four people to a home in homes that currently house eight. Building new facilities and hiring new staff are not feasible options based on the cost. The residents would also have to be relocated to within city limits in order for the ranch to continue its funding from the Regional Center, which supports operations.

One of the concerns was that the move was made without any outreach to operations like LARC Ranch, which doesn’t operate as “an institution,” as many other do.

“Basically, we’re fighting to keep LARC Ranch the way it is,” said Chris Bratzel, executive officer for LARC Ranch, who oversees four of the ranch’s 14 homes on the property and two of its day programs. “The bottom line is, the point of the whole HCBS ruling is to make sure people are fully integrated into the community, and we are.”

The logic behind the ruling is that in a smaller environment, i.e. allowing say a maximum four people per each home in the ranch, as opposed to the eight whom are currently permitted, and at a location inside city limits, the clients would be more integrated.

However, as Bratzel noted, the ranch’s clients come and go as they please, have regular access to the city of Santa Clarita through a transit bus that drives up to the property, and the ranch’s staff and minivans that also provide access for residents.

Another challenge is the Regional Center officials, who have always been a source of assistance for LARC Ranch, is in favor of the changes, Sturkey noted, adding that the changes to HCBS provide more federal funding directly to the centers.

While the changes might work in theory, not all of LARC Ranch’s clients would thrive even if the facility did abide by the new rules, which is a huge concern for officials. But it would be impossible regardless because the rule changes would deny the facility about half of its operating budget, based on the current funding formula.

“It’s a huge obstacle to overcome and basically, I think we’re going to be asking people to reach out to the Legislature and try to get the government more educated about LARC Ranch,” Bratzel said. “I think that’s the biggest thing, is getting the message out and making sure that everyone knows that LARC Ranch is a part of Santa Clarita community and that our residents are active in Santa Clarita.”

 

 

LARC Newsmaker

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2 Comments

  1. Elaine Bingham says:

    Why can’t they just leave things alone LARC Ranch is a great location for those of us who need them. Chances are the people that mandated the change have no loved ones that need, and want to be there.

  2. Paul Conserve says:

    Quote: residents come and go as they please….excuse me why they need my money to keep the housing, if they have housing of their own

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SCV NewsBreak
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