Changes in Mental Retardation Care

Archive Report

Emphasis on Community Care

A Quiet Revolution: Deinstituionalization

The removal of retarded people from large central institutions and their placement in community care programs has been going on for more than a decade, but by comparison with the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill—a closely related trend—it has received relatively little attention. This may be because far more people suffer from emotional disturbances than from retardation, and many of the mentally ill who are turned out of institutions become street people, quite visible to society.1

In contrast to the impression left by those situations, the deinstitutionalization of the retarded has been on the whole good news. It is much better news in some places than others, to be sure, and everybody involved in the process concedes that horrible ...

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