Muscatatuck In Final Days
Built in 1919 as the Indiana Farm Colony for Feeble Minded Youth, Muscatatuck is scheduled to be transferred to the Indiana National Guard to provide homeland security training for military and civilian agencies the first of July. The last handful of residents are to be moved out by the end of April.
"I never thought we'd see this day, but it's definitely becoming a reality," Cindy Speer, interim superintendent of the institution, told the Madison Courier.
In April 2001, Governor Frank O'Bannon announced Muscatatuck would close by the end of 2003 and its then 279 residents would either move to homes in the community or be transferred to other state facilities. O'Bannon's announcement came after architects estimated that about $84 million would be needed to refurbish and maintain the aging facility. Over the three-year period leading up to the governor's decision, investigators had substantiated 183 cases of physical, sexual and verbal abuse at Muscatatuck.
Parents of those housed in Muscatatuck worked through the courts to slow down the closure.
About 70 percent of those who have left Muscatatuck have moved into supported living arrangements in the community rather than group homes or larger residential programs.
In October 2004, the state announced that it would close Fort Wayne State Developmental Center by the end of 2007 and move its 120 residents with developmental disabilities into homes in the community. A new psychiatric hospital is to be built on the grounds to house about 30 people with mental illnesses and about 90 people with developmental disabilities.
Reproduced here under special arrangement
with Inclusion Daily Express disability rights news service.