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"We as a nation have long neglected the mentally ill
and the mentally retarded. This neglect must end...
President John F. Kennedy


The 1960s was a time of great change and societal upheaval in the United States. In November of 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected our 35th president, following two terms served by Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Civil Rights movement was underway. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed that "children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." President Lyndon B. Johnson aspired for a Great Society and began the War on Poverty.

In 1962, a report of the President's Panel on Mental Retardation concluded that the quality of services in state institutions should be upgraded. Local communities were encouraged to work with federal and state agencies to provide a comprehensive, community-centered continuum of services. In 1963, federal funds were authorized for the construction of community facilities for people with mental retardation.

John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy