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In the 1970s, the day activity center increased in acceptance.

A 1972 study by the President's Committee on Mental Retardation noted that "the deficiencies which were identified in the first [1964] study – such as inadequate staff qualifications and evaluation procedures – have now been corrected or remedied in most areas." The PCMR recommended additional tax support for activity centers and that programs for 14 to 21 year olds should be supported fully by boards of public instruction.

The PCMR thought activity centers had important roles in supporting people who had moved from institutions, and allowing sheltered workshops and rehabilitation centers to offer personal grooming and social programs.

Workshops and rehabilitation centers sponsored programs that helped individuals get ready either for employment or sheltered workshop programs. Activity programs had also become "the hub of all regional operations in several places in the country."

Adult program display
Photo courtesy William Bronston, M.D.

The Day Activity Center was the first step along the vocational service continuum. A 1979 study by the U.S. Department of Labor, and the California Department of Finance established that people had a long wait to move to the next "higher level program."

Program Average wait to move to the next highest level % of clients moving to the higher level during a year
Day Activity Center 37 Years 2.7%
Work Activity Center / Sheltered Workshop 10 Years 7.4% moved to competitive jobs 3% moved to a regular program center
Regular Program Center 9 Years 11.3%
Competitive Job