About Family Advocates United/PHA

PHA family photo 1

Service and Support

The Family Advocates United/Parent Hospital Association (PHA) was established in the 1950s by parents, family members and friends of developmentally disabled people living at Sonoma Developnmental Center, formerly called Sonoma State Hospital. Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) has been in existence and has served this unique population since 1891. SDC has been a major contributor to the Sonoma Valley economy throughout the past 100 years as generations of Sonoma Valley families have been, and continue to be employed there.

From its inception to the present, PHA has led the way in helping establish quality assurance standards to protect and embrace rights and privileges for developmentally disabled people, especially those who live at Sonoma Developmental Center. PHA funded the Butler Swimming Pool, the Carousel, and the tram that transports individuals around the Sonoma Developmental Center campus. PHA initially funded the Mobility Engineering Department, which provides persons with severe disabilities access to specialized wheel chairs, custom shoes, special walkers, and all manner of devices enabling them to function more fully. This invaluable program continues to this day thanks to the creative workers at Sonoma Developmental Center.


The original goal of the FAU/PHA was to improve conditions and advocate on behalf of all people with mental retardation and/or multiple disabilities. As a result of this advocacy, the Lanterman Act was enacted guaranteeing services to the most vulnerable. Families with loved ones living at SDC are grateful for the compassion and specialized care afforded them and share California’s pride in the great achievements benefiting this special population. The developmental centers will always be needed for those who are so severely disabled and have multiple disabilities, such as blindness and deafness, severe seizures and severe behavior disorders. We want these centers to be accessible to any and all who need this specialized care. Developmentally disabled people who live at home or in other settings, who can benefit from this care by the developmental center’s professional staff, should also have access to these services.

Family Advocates United/PHA Fundraising

Until recently a large portion of the money FAU/PHA uses to fund its work was raised at our annual gala event. We no longer organize our ‘Heroes with Heart’ fundraiser but still rely on donations from our many generous members and friends. Your continued support is invaluable at this critical time for the developmentally disabled residents of Northern California.

The funds we raise from our generous donors enable us to allow FAU/PHA to continue to engage experts to represent our agenda in Sacramento and beyond.

To make a contribution, you can mail a check to:

Parent Hospital Association

100 E Street, Suite 212

Santa Rosa, 95402

See the How You Can Help page of this web site for more information.


Family Advocates United/Parent Hospital Association Officers 


  • Brien Farrell
    email: brienfarrell@yahoo.com

Vice President

  • Karen Moen
    email: moen_karen@yahoo.com

Past Presidents

  • Kathleen Miller
  • Mary O’Riordan
  • Steve Doherty