An historical and developmental perspective of community contingencies that affect the thrust toward selected services for the mentally retarded



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The purpose of this study was to identify, from an historical and developmental perspective, the major factors which had a significant effect upon public policy and treatment services for the mentally retarded; the various social philosophies underlying the decision-making process in this problem area; and their relationship to the servicemodel trends now emerging. A comprehensive review was made of the historical development of public residential institutions, the passage of significant Federal and State legislation pertaining to the retarded, and the development of self-organized volunteer parent groups, in order to ascertain the effect that these factors had upon the development of community services for the mentally retarded, the evolution of a local parent group and the subsequent development of a community agency for the retarded in Houston, Texas was examined. There is evidence that while many beneficial changes have taken place, society's attitudes toward deviancy remains the single dominant factor in shaping present and future patterns of care for the retarded in the United States.