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Transition from Institutional to Community Care

No one knows better than AFSCME members the realities of deinstitutionalization. For the past 35 years, states have been steadily decreasing the number of state institutional beds, downsizing facilities and closing state institutions as the result of advances in treatment, changes in philosophy on how to best serve individuals with disabilities, legislation and court decisions. The budgetary, ideological and legal arguments driving the process have not diminished.

In addition to the strong philosophical and political movement which advocates that persons with disabilities should receive services and supports so they can lead lives like full “members of the community,” there are strong economic incentives encouraging the movement of persons with mental and developmental disabilities out of large residential facilities into smaller home-like settings. Federal funds are available to assist disabled individuals who are served by community-based programs that often cannot be accessed to serve persons who are considered “institutionalized.”

For the past 35 years, states have been steadily decreasing the number of state institutional beds, downsizing facilities and closing state institutions as the result of advances in treatment, changes in philosophy on how best to serve individuals with disabilities, legislation and court decisions.

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