Excerpt from Inland Empire Weekly: (click for entire article)
Experts estimate that 500,000 young adults with autism will reach adulthood in the next decade, according to media reports. This alarming figure hits close to home for the Inland Regional Center (IRC) located in San Bernardino, one of 21 nonprofit organizations set up throughout the state to provide services such as counseling, legal help and educational services to children and adults with developmental disabilities. The IRC is the largest of its kind in California, and serves an estimated 27,000 disabled individuals throughout San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The IRC’s website states that part of its mission statement is “to normalize the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families by working to include them in the everyday routines and life rhythms of the community and by facilitating needed supports for them.”
But—according to at least one IRC employee—nothing could be further from the truth. Liliana Ibarra, a San Bernardino mother of three who has been working as an IRC social worker for the past nine years, claims she disciplined for requesting services for her three-year-old autistic, developmentally disabled son. She also alleges IRC used intimidation, threats and the fear of retaliation against her and other workers for speaking out and complaining to supervisors.