Skip to main content

Zoom Text:

Dining Room
Resident's Room
Photos courtesy William Bronston, M.D.
Large Institution
Photo courtesy of the Connecticut
Department of Mental Retardation

One of the "normalization" phrases was that facilities should "harmonize with housing in the neighboring community. The number of residents should not exceed the number that can be assimilated by the general community services."

From this, one might expect very small residences in typical housing. This was not the case, however.

Denmark recommended a maximum of 300 children and 300 adults, either in separate or combined facilities.

Sweden advocated for "central institutions" of at least 100 and no more than 300.

The President's Committee recommended that institutions be no larger than 500.

The idea of smaller institutions became the vehicle for bringing services closer to the community. This model was applied in Connecticut, for instance. Instead of building a third large institution, Connecticut went to a regional center approach.

Smaller facilities were built. Instead of building large residential buildings, smaller cottages were designed for 18 people. The Connecticut Center also operated group homes and other residential programs.

Initially, however, the Center was not seen as a direct service provider:

"In theory, a regional center could function in rented space in an office building, with its director and coordinators never giving direct assistance… In practice this has not worked out that way. Realistic considerations, including financial necessities, dictated the creation of additional bed space."

Photos of the New Haven, CT Regional Center, courtesy of the Connecticut Department of Mental Retardation