Mental Hospital from 1891

I became a photojournalist for many reasons, but one reason in particular has been to photograph people in situations that would have occurred regardless of my presence.

Over the Summer I spent time with four families committed to staying connected to their loved ones living with severe mental and physical disabilities. All of them are cared for daily at the Sonoma Development Center in Eldridge, California which is in the process of being shut down by a governor’s budget plan. The images and story appear in the Fall issue of Sonoma Magazine.

Susan Farrell, 61, at a McDonald's in Sonoma, California where Brien Farrell and his wife Kathy Farrell help her eat a cheeseburger and french fries. June 23, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Susan Farrell, 61, at a McDonald’s in Sonoma, California where her brother Brien Farrell and his wife Kathy Farrell often take her to lunch and help her eat a cheeseburger and french fries. June 23, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Susan Farrell, 61, having lunch with her brother Brien Farrell at a McDonald's in Sonoma, California. Brien often helps his sister eat by handing her small bites of french fries or a piece of a cheese burger. June 23, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Susan Farrell, 61, having lunch with her brother Brien Farrell at a McDonald’s in Sonoma, California. Brien often helps his sister eat by handing her small bites of french fries or a small piece of a cheeseburger. June 23, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, during a visit with his nephew's wife Julie Ferrario and her children Domenico Ferrario, 5, (right rear) and Teresa Ferrario, 3, in the center's Nelson Unit in Aldridge, California. June 18, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, during a visit with his nephew’s wife Julie Ferrario and her children Domenico Ferrario, 5, (right rear) and Teresa Ferrario, 3, in the center’s Nelson Unit in Eldridge, California. June 18, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, in his room at the center's Nelson Unit with his nephew's 3-year-old daughter Teresa Ferrario. Aldridge, California June 18, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, in his room at the center’s Nelson Unit with his nephew’s 3-year-old daughter Teresa Ferrario. Eldridge, California June 18, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, during a visit with his nephew Paul Ferrario, Frank's sister Mary Ferrario (right) and Paul's 3-year-old daughter Teresa Ferrario in the center's Nelson Unit in Aldridge, California. June 18, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, during a visit with his nephew Paul Ferrario, his sister Mary Ferrario (right) and Paul’s 3-year-old daughter Teresa Ferrario in the center’s Nelson Unit in Eldridge, California. June 18, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Kathleen Miller with her son Danny Smith, 48, at a farm near the housing units of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, California. June 7, 2015. June 7, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Kathleen Miller with her son Danny Smith, 48, at a farm near the housing units of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, California. June 7, 2015. June 7, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

About once a week Kathleen Miller takes her son Danny Smith, 48, (left) out for lunch at a McDonald's in Sonoma. On this occasion Miller's grandchildren Sydney Dillon, 13, (foreground) and Casey Dillon, 16, join her. June 7, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

About once a week Kathleen Miller takes her son Danny Smith, 48, (left) out for lunch at a McDonald’s in Sonoma. On this occasion Miller’s grandchildren Sydney Dillon, 13, (foreground) and Casey Dillon, 16, join her. June 7, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Molly Dillon with her younger brother Danny Smith, 48, at a farm near the housing units of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, California. June 7, 2015. June 7, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Molly Dillon with her younger brother Danny Smith, 48, at a farm near the housing units of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, California. June 7, 2015. 
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Patricia Walter during a doctor's office visit with her daughter Andrea Walter, 34 in Sonoma. Andrea had been transported by ambulance from the Sonoma Development Center to make this appointment to see the progress made from a recent hip injury. June 12, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Patricia Walter during a doctor’s office visit with her daughter Andrea Walter, 34, in Sonoma. Andrea had been transported by ambulance from the Sonoma Development Center to make this appointment to see the progress made from a recent hip injury. June 12, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Patricia Walter during a doctor's office visit with her daughter Andrea Walter, 34 in Sonoma. Andrea had been transported by ambulance from the Sonoma Development Center to make this appointment to see the progress made from a recent hip injury. June 12, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Patricia Walter during a doctor’s office visit with her daughter Andrea Walter, 34 in Sonoma. Andrea had been transported by ambulance from the Sonoma Development Center to make this appointment to see the progress made from a recent hip injury. June 12, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

An old metal sign at the entrance to the Sonoma Development Center, once known as the Sonoma State Hospital, with the Roman numeral date 1891; the year the mental hospital first opened its doors in the town of Eldridge, California. June 29, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

An old metal sign at the entrance to the Sonoma Development Center, once known as the Sonoma State Hospital, with the Roman numeral 1891; the year the mental hospital first opened its doors in the town of Eldridge, California. June 29, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

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