Skip to main content

Zoom Text:

Of the organizations receiving grants, 48% were public agencies, and 52% were non-profit organizations. A non-profit residential facility expanded from 40 to 72 beds.

Under P.L. 88-164, state institutions received funds to construct "community facilities." At the same time, another federal program also stimulated the "improvement of State Institutions."

The Mental Retardation Hospital Improvement Program (HIP) was "a direct grant program specifically designed to stimulate improved services to the mentally retarded in state institutions by demonstrating innovative techniques which can be replicated in that institution or in others."

Between 1964 and 1969 $27 million in HIP funds were used by 110 of the eligible 175 institutions for initiating "innovative program services."

In 1969, almost $7 million was awarded for intensive training units, developmental programs, habilitation programs, feeding care, community and work placement preparation, cottage programming, and so on. Even with these investments, the under funding of institutions continued to be a major issue into the late 1960s.

Child Eating
Photo courtesy William Bronston, M.D.

In 1967, The President's Committee reported that three quarters of the nation's 201,000 people living in institutions lived in buildings 50 years old or more – many of them "hand-me-down" mental or tuberculosis hospitals or abandoned military installations.

In 1968, Robert Krugel from the President's Committee expressed concern over the low per diems in public institutions. "The per diem costs over the country range from $3.00 to $12.00. Five of the largest zoos spend an average of $7.15 for their large animals on a per diem basis."

The federal initiatives of the 1960s certainly had an impact on both the numbers of people living in them and the staff working in them. Between 1963 and 1969, the population of public institutions increased by 7% (in terms of "resident patients at the end of the year", 176,516 in 1963, and 189,394 in 1969).

Wrist Counters used by ENCOR
Wrist counters used by ENCOR staff to document "behaviors" that needed shaping.
Video: "Changes" is a 1968 film by Travis Thompson showing conditions at the Faribault State School and Hospital.