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Also by the mid-1970s there are clear signs that family support is being recognized as a strategy with potential.

The first systematic family support program was developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare based on experiences at the Greater Omaha Arc. The Family Resources Services Program was developed to eliminate the need for institutionalization by giving family support and relief.

The Department hoped that families might consider bringing individuals, such as family members, out of a residential school and into their homes.

The services include Respite Care (a temporary residence), Family Aid (a person to care for the family member for a few hours at a time), Homemaker Services, Recreation programs, Transportation, In-Home Therapy, and Parent Training.

Child playing
Photo courtesy William Bronston, M.D.
Betty Ford and Santa Claus meet child
Photo courtesy Fred Krause or PCMR

The President's Committee went so far as to suggest that large State institutions were inappropriate for children.

"Infants and children who were once placed in large State institutions are now able to remain in the community.

"Even people with developmental disabilities, because of community-based medical and para-medical services, are able to remain at home or reside in substitute homes.

"The residence of choice for all infants and young children should be their natural home with available supports and respite."