Volunteer Advocacy Services (VAS)


Since 1997, several Area Boards have had an Interagency Agreement with the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) “for the purpose of providing advocacy resources to individuals residing at state developmental centers who have no involved families or legal conservators.” The Volunteer Advocacy Services Project is located at all the Developmental Centers (Sonoma, Porterville, Lanterman and Fairview) and Canyon Springs Community Facility.

What is the role of the Coordinator?

  • Provide advocacy assistance to clients.  This includes attending IPPs and advocating for services and supports.
  • Recruit, train, and supervise volunteer advocates to assist the clients.
  • Evaluate proposed community placements for appropriateness.

What is the role of the Volunteer Advocate?

  • Develop familiarity with the client by visiting at least three hours monthly, reviewing the clinical record, interacting with staff and through additional means as appropriate.
  • Represent the interests and wishes of the person they are matched with, to the extent that the person is unable to act for him or herself. Attend annual/semi-annual Individual Program Plan (IPPs).
  • Attend special IPPs when possible.
  • Applicants are expected to visit at least three hours a month with the individual and commit to the program a minimum of six months.

How can I apply to be a Volunteer Advocate?

Applicants will be screened for appropriateness and have background checks, including fingerprints, conducted prior to participation. A stipend of $50 per month per resident served will be provided. If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Advocate, please contact the Coordinator (below) located in the area you wish to volunteer.

Volunteer Advocacy Services Coordinators

Developmental Center ASC Telephone Email
Canyon Springs
69-696 Ramon Road
Cathedral City, CA 92234
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Julie Hillstead (760) 770-6238 julie.hillstead@cs.dds.ca.gov
2501 Harbor Blvd. Bldg 19
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
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Laurie St. Pierre (714) 957-5690 laurie.st.pierre@fdc.dds.ca.gov
P.O. Box 2000
26501 Avenue 140
Porterville, CA 93258
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Judi Muirhead (559) 782-2431 judi.muirhead@pds.dds.ca.gov
Sonoma amd Northern STAR Homes
Ross Long (707) 227-0250 ross.long@scdd.dds.ca.gov
Headquarters SCDD
1507 21st St. Suite 210
Sacramento, CA 95814
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Holly Bins CRA/VAS Project Manager (408) 834-2458 holly.bins@scdd.ca.gov