Saga continues in downsizing developmental disabilities institutions

Public policy
David Lord
Director of Public Policy

Developmental disabilities institutions are very expensive. People can be served well in the community at much lower cost. Institutions have vacancies, and it makes economic sense to close and consolidate them to more efficiently use State resources. In her budget, the Governor proposed closing Yakima Valley School, a developmental disabilities institution.

Despite the national trend of closing institutions, Washington has had no closures since the early 1990s. The Governor’s proposal sparked a heated debate between community and institution advocates. DRW was active in supporting the proposal to close the Yakima Valley developmental disabilities institution, on the condition that all residents would be provided with services that would meet their needs either in other institutions or in the community. The Legislature was unable to resolve the differences and make a decision. Instead, a proviso was inserted in the budget appropriating funds to pay a consultant to decide which institutions and other facilities might be closed. The consultant will issue a report before the next legislative session.

Community living