Task Force Urges Governor To Slow Down On Fernald Closure
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 11, 2003
WALTHAM, MASSACHUSETTS--A legislative task force agrees with Governor Mitt Romney's plan to close Fernald Developmental Center, but is cautioning against doing so within one year as Romney had scheduled.
The Health and Human Services Task Force issued its report earlier in the week. It endorses closing Fernald and moving its 309 residents to homes in the community or to the state's other five institutions housing people with developmental disabilities. But the panel recommends a two-year timetable instead of the one year proposed by the governor.
Fernald claims to be the oldest institution in the Western Hemisphere. It was founded as the "Massachusetts School for the Feeble Minded" in 1848, but was renamed Walter E. Fernald State School in 1925 after its first resident superintendent.
The institution is to be shut down as part of Romney's plan to close a $3 billion budget gap for the 2004 fiscal year.
Parents who are against closing the aging facility plan to protest next Thursday.