Before 1950, children and adults with developmental disabilities had little opportunity to become educated or trained for jobs. Public school systems and local businesses excluded them. In the early 1950’s, in concert with a national movement to improve the lives of these persons, a citizens’ group called the Franklin County Council for Retarded Children was formed by several parents of children with mental retardation. This was the first hope for many to remain outside institutions and still receive services.
The Council founded the “Franklin County Program for the Mentally Retarded” by creating school and adult programs. The programs were funded by donations, tuition’s, and some public money. Throughout the social changes of the 1960’s, more and more public money became available. At that time, the Program became a part of the Franklin County Child Welfare Board.
Community-based services for persons with mental retardation or other developmental disabilities were placed on more solid ground with the passage of Senate Bill 169 in 1967. This Bill created the Franklin County Board of Mental Retardation. The name was later changed to the Franklin County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities as a result of Amended Senate Bill 160, which became effective in 1980. In 2009, the name was changed by statute to the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
Download our publication titled “Over 150 Years of History” of services for persons with developmental disabilities.