Terri Delgadillo, who as director of the Department of Developmental Services led the agency through the State’s worst on-going budget crisis, announced that she will retire from state service after 35 years, due to undisclosed personal health issues.
Delgadillo, in a surprise announcement sent out to several advocates via email, said she could stay on as director until the end of the year to help with transition, health permitting.
Delgadillo, widely respected by legislators from both parties and by many advocates across the State, wrote that she would be leaving “…with a heavy heart knowing there are still significant challenges ahead…” for the department she has headed for the past 7 years under two different Administrations, but that “…continuing health issues have prompted me to make the difficult decision to retire.”
The Department of Developmental Services is responsible for community-based services for about 250,000 eligible children and adults with developmental disabilities funded through 21 non-profit regional centers, and four state owned and operated facilities known as developmental centers, plus one smaller health facility, where just over 1,400 persons reside. One of the four remaining developmental centers – Lanterman located in Pomona – is currently undergoing closure, which is expected to be completed sometime in late 2014.
The department also is the lead state agency for the State’s federally funded early intervention program called “Early Start” for families whose infants or toddlers (birth through 36 months) have developmental delay or disabilities, or are at risk for developmental delay or disabilities.
The total department budget is about $4.5 billion, with over 6,000 employees.
DELGADILLO SENT ANNOUNCEMENT VIA EMAIL
In an email sent to several advocates, Delgadillo wrote:
After 35 years of public service at the federal, state and county levels, I have notified Governor Brown and Secretary Dooley of my intent to retire.
It’s been a privilege to serve for over 7 years as Director of DDS with such dedicated and compassionate staff, consumers, families, advocates, regional center representatives and stakeholders.
I’m very proud of what we have accomplished. Working together we have retained the nation’s only non-income tested entitlement program, increased community living opportunities, significantly increased federal funding for consumer services, expanded employment options and weathered the worst fiscal crisis to face our system.
I leave with a heavy heart knowing there are still significant challenges ahead for the Department. However, continuing health issues have prompted me to make the difficult decision to retire.
I greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve in this Administration and have offered to stay on until the end of the year, health permitting, to assist with the transition.
Thank you for your support and collaboration during my tenure at DDS.