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Inventory of the Department of Aging Records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Agency History
  • Scope and Content
  • Accruals
  • Subjects
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Department of Aging Records
    Dates: 1950-1993
    Collection number: R101
    Creator: California Department of Aging
    Extent: 24.5 cubic feet
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: The records of the Department of Aging and its predecessors document California's efforts to protect and care for its ever-growing elderly population. This record group contains 25 cubic feet of text records covering the period 1950-1993 and includes administrative files, program files, correspondence, reports, speeches, research files, history files, and subject files from several prominent divisions within the department.
    Physical location: California State Archives
    Language: English

    Administrative Information


    While the majority of the records are open for research, any access restrictions are noted in the record series descriptions.

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Department of Aging Records, R101.[series number], [box and folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The California State Archives acquired the records of the Department of Aging per state law.

    Agency History

    The initial activities of the state in aging programs can be traced to Governor Earl Warren's administration and the "Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee on Aging." This body, first appointed in 1948, served an advisory function and did not administer any gerontological program funding.
    After the first Governor's Conference on Aging in 1955, the Coordinating Committee was renamed the Citizens' Advisory Committee on Aging (AB1682, Chapter 1784). The committee consisted of eight citizen members, appointed by the Governor and approved by the State Senate; and two members each of the Senate and the Assembly, chosen by their respective Houses. The Citizens' Advisory Committee on Aging focused on four major tasks: studying the problems of aging and recommending necessary action to the Governor; giving the communities of the State technical guidance and consultation to help them develop needed programs for their senior citizens; acting as a clearinghouse for information on all aspects of aging; and giving consultation to and cooperating with State departments in developing requires programs for the elderly.
    Passed by Congress in 1965, the Older Americans Act established the Administration on Aging within the United State Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The basic aims of the Older Americans Act's Title III grants were to help provide coordinated, communitywide programs for older people and training in work with the elderly. The Federal grants would pay for a certain percentage of an approved program's costs.
    Following the passage of the Older Americans Act on July 14 1965, the Citizens' Advisory Committee on Aging was designated the State's administrative agency for Title III Community Grants. Assembly Bill 166 of 1965 (Chapter 122) changed the committee's name to the California Commission on Aging and attached the new Commission to the Department of Human Resources Development within the Health and Welfare Agency. The Older Americans Act, the State plan for programs on aging under Title III of this act, and section 18300-18356 of the Welfare and Institutions Code provided the statutory and administrative guidelines within which the Commission on Aging functioned. The responsibilities of the Commission on Aging were to advise the executive branch of state government as to the status of aging Californians and to recommend action, provide technical assistance and consultation to municipalities, counties, senior organizations, agencies, local committees, commission, councils, business, industry, and labor. Additionally, the Commission performed as a clearinghouse for information on the subject of aging and defined and coordinated the efforts of state government in the field of aging, thereby, permitting effective and efficient use of resources for senior Californians.
    Assembly Bill 2263 (Chapter 1080) authored by Assembly Member John Burton in 1973 became known as the Burton Act for Aging. When the Burton Act for Aging took effect in January of 1974, it established the Office of Aging in the Health and Welfare Agency and retained the Commission on Aging as the principle advisory and advocacy body for older persons at the state level. In 1975, Janet Levy became the director of the Office of Aging and held this position until 1983. During Levy's directorship the Office of Aging became the Department of Aging through Chapter 157 of 1976 (AB2285, authored by the Joint Committee on Aging). Chapter 157 had an urgency clause that allowed the legislation to take effect immediately, thus creating the Department of Aging in May of 1976. After Janet Levy, the following individuals held the director position of the Department of Aging: Jim Harrell (acting), Alice Gonzales (1983-1990), Chris Arnold (interim), Gary Kuwabara (interim), and Robert Martinez (1992-1995).
    In accordance with the Older Americans Act, the Department of Aging divided the state into thirty-three geographical Planning and Service Areas and designated an Area Agency on Aging in each one. With oversight by the Department, each Area Agency was responsible for developing, implementing and coordinating programs for the elderly in its Planning and Service Area.
    As of April 2008, the Department of Aging is the principle state agency for the provision of services to the elderly. The Department administers Older Americans Act programs for supportive services, in-home services, congregate and home-delivered meals and a system of multipurpose senior centers. It also administers the program for community service employment; programs for advocacy and protection; and programs which provide health insurance counseling, case management, Alzheimer's Day Care Resource Center and Adult Day Health Care services. Additionally, it performs a wide range of functions related to advocacy, planning, coordination, interagency linkages, information sharing, brokering, monitoring and evaluation. In its activities, the Department works closely with private and public sector aging advocates.

    Scope and Content

    The records of the Department of Aging and its predecessors document California's efforts to protect and care for its ever-growing elderly population. This record group contains 25 cubic feet of text records covering the period 1950-1993 and includes administrative files, program files, correspondence, reports, speeches, research files, history files, and subject files from several prominent divisions within the department. The following divisions' records are included within this record group: Executive Office including the Office of the Director, Legislative Liaison and Chief Legal Counsel; Senior Employment Unit; Planning and Program Development Branch; and the Long Term Care Division including the Multipurpose Senior Services Program and the Nutrition Program.
    The record group also contains records that date prior to the establishment of the Department of Aging in 1976. Records of the Office of Aging, the California Commission on Aging, and the California Citizens' Advisory Committee on Aging have been preserved with the records of the Department of Aging presumably because they were the records of former Director Janet Levy (1975-1983) who also served in various important positions for the entities mentioned above.
    The bulk of the records of the Department of Aging describe the distribution and handling of federal funds to local Area Agencies on Aging and other local entities. As a result, the records contain large amounts of budget reports and analyses, contract agreements, and applications for Federal funds. A secondary topic is the federal Older American's Act of 1965 and subsequent proposed amendments because any changes to the law significantly affected the California Department of Aging. This record group contains a wealth of information on the evolution of California's social assistance for its elderly population. As the life expectancy age increased significantly throughout the second half of the twentieth century, the state office charged to serve this segment of the population had to adapt and grow quickly to maintain adequate services and programs. These records show how the State attempted to protect the elderly from abuse and negligence in long-term care facilities through licensing and diligent Ombudsmen monitoring. Moreover, the extensive correspondence in this record group show the communication between the state and the senior community which led to the development of senior programs and Adult Day Resource Centers to provide seniors with social activities and affordable and honest legal advice to enable seniors to navigate the complicated Medicare system. The records describe numerous other adaptations, accomplishments, and mistakes the Department of Aging experienced as it grew and matured over the past sixty years.


    Further accruals are expected.


    California. Dept. of Aging
    Older people

    Related Material

    Assembly Aging and Long Term Care Committee Records
    Senate Health and Human Services Committee Records -- Subcommittee on Aging and Long Term Care Records
    Earl Warren Collection