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"Euthanasia through neglect..."
– Albert Deutsch


The American Association on Mental Deficiency adopted mid-century objectives, including adequate and suitable facilities, care and training, community placement, and special classes for children and adults with mental deficiencies. The National Association of Parents and Friends of the Mentally Retarded, later to become "The Arc", was founded "to promote the welfare of the mentally retarded of all ages everywhere: at home, in the community, in institutions, and in public, private, and religious schools."

Doctors continued to urge parents to place their children in institutions regardless of the conditions. Between 1946 and 1967, the number of persons with disabilities in public institutions increased from 116,828 to 193,188, a rate increase nearly twice that of the general population. Institutions began admitting younger children with more severe disabilities.

During the post-war boom in America, having a "handicapped" child was seen as a burden to the family. More and more children were institutionalized, and not just children from poor families. This practice is what Albert Deutsch referred to as "euthanasia through neglect."

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

Encouraged by prominent citizens, including Nobel Prize winning novelist Pearl S. Buck, and radio and television personality Dale Evans Rogers, who wrote of family members with mental retardation, parents across the country began to organize and demand better services for their children.