Returning the Mentally Disabled to the Community:

Government Needs to Do More

HRD-76-152: Published: Jan 7, 1977. Publicly Released: Jan 7, 1977.

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Care and treatment of mentally disabled persons in communities can be an effective alternative to institutional care. However, many mentally disabled persons have been released from institutions before sufficient community facilities were available and without adequate planning and follow up. Others enter, remain in, or reenter institutions unnecessarily.

Because federal programs provide the financing, states are encouraged to transfer the mentally disabled from institutions to nursing homes and other inappropriate facilities. There is no overall plan and management system to set forth specific steps to accomplish deinstitutionalization, define specific objectives, define acceptable community-based care, or provide central direction or evaluation. Developmental disabilities programs and community mental health centers programs have not been as effective as expected.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress and the Office of Management and Budget can help solve some of these problems by giving federal agencies a clear mandate to devote resources to this problem: (1) by defining more clearly the appropriate roles, responsibilities, and actions for federal agencies; and (2) by changing aspects of federal programs that hinder or discourage the appropriate placement of mentally disabled persons.


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