Noting declining resident populations, the 1976 Comprehensive Plan for the state's Department of Public Welfare called for three additional state hospitals to close by 1980.
The long-range plan cited increased costs and the need to differentiate those who could live in the community from those who could never leave.
In 1978, the Residential Care Study predicted a 30 percent reduction in resident population in five years. It stated that the future should be based on individual need rather than social, economic, and political factors.
Those with the most complex needs informally became known as "the residual population."