FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2022
Contact: Heather Jones
SACRAMENTO — California’s program to compensate the victims of state-sponsored sterilization is nearing its halfway point, with only one year left for survivors to apply and share the $4.5 million in reparation payments available.
The California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) launched the state’s Forced or Involuntary Sterilization Compensation Program on Jan. 1, 2022, as directed by Assembly Bill 137. The program ends on Dec. 31, 2023.
“If you are a survivor of forced sterilization that happened when you were in a state-run hospital, home or institution or when you were in the custody of a state correctional facility, you may be eligible for compensation and you should apply,” CalVCB Executive Officer Lynda Gledhill said.
As of Dec. 20, the program has received 309 applications. Of those, 45 have been approved, 102 have been denied, three have been closed as incomplete and 159 are being processed. Each approved applicant will receive $15,000 immediately and share in whatever money is left at the end of the program.
The program is aimed at compensating victims of eugenics laws that allowed state hospitals and other state-run facilities to perform medical procedures on people in their care that prevented them from physically being able to have children. The program also compensates state prisoners who underwent a sterilization procedure without their consent while in custody after 1979, when eugenics laws were repealed.
To reach eligible survivors, CalVCB has sent posters and fact sheets to 1,000 skilled nursing facilities and 500 libraries statewide, distributed more than 900 posters to the state’s 35 correctional institutions to post in common areas and housing units, and launched an advertising campaign. Social media ads began appearing in October, and radio and TV ads will start airing in January.
CalVCB also created a web page, located at victims.ca.gov/fiscp, with information on the program, forms to apply and outreach materials.
“We are doing everything we can to get the word out,” Gledhill said. “Because many sterilization survivors are elderly or in prison, we know this is a difficult population to reach. In addition, many may not even know they were victimized. We encourage anyone who thinks they may qualify to apply.”
When the legislation was introduced, experts estimated that approximately 600 survivors of state-sponsored sterilization were still living. Under the program, $4.5 million is available to split evenly among all eligible claimants who apply.
In addition to the compensation amount, the Legislature provided $2 million for program administration and outreach and $1 million to establish markers or plaques at designated sites acknowledging the victims of state-sponsored sterilization.
To help promote the program, CalVCB has created a social media toolkit that can be found at: victims.ca.gov/media-center/fiscp-social-media-campaign/
The California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) provides reimbursement for crime-related expenses to victims who suffer physical injury or the threat of physical injury as a result of violent crime. CalVCB helps crime victims and their families cover unforeseen expenses such as medical bills, mental health treatment, funeral and burial expenses, income loss and more. CalVCB also administers the Forced or Involuntary Sterilization Compensation Program, which financially compensates survivors of state-sponsored sterilization. To learn more about CalVCB, visit victims.ca.gov.