A Difficult Dream: Ending Institutionalization for Persons w/ ID with Complex Needs

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Effective deinstitutionalization is the result of careful planning. The commitment involved in a successful deinstitutionalization process is to plan not just for the closure of institutions but to plan for an improved quality of life for each member from that institution.


This book is written in three parts: History, Research and Practice. Part I reviews the history of deinstitutionalization and the impact it has had on the lives of persons with intellectual disabilities and their families. Part II explores recent research and lessons learned from the Facilities Initiative of the Ministry of Community and Social Services in Ontario, Canada.  Lastly, Part III provides practice guidelines based on lessons learned from research and practice to aid jurisdictions still seeking to close the remaining facilities in their areas. Together with examples from the Facilities Initiative, this part of the book provides the reader with guidelines for planning that are individualized and value-based, and cautions for pitfalls that can create barriers to achievement of the difficult dream.

About the Editors

Dorothy Griffiths C.M., O.Ont, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Child and Youth Studies Department and the Centre for Applied Disabilities Study and Co-Director of the International Dual Diagnosis Certificate Programme at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. She has been involved in repatriating persons with intellectual disabilities from facilities since the 1970s. Her research and practice has involved working with persons with intellectual disabilities who display severe challenging behaviour and issues of human rights in treatment and support, including deinstitutionalization.


Frances Owen, Ph.D., C.Psych., is a Psychologist and Professor of Child & Youth Studies and Applied Disability Studies at Brock University. She focuses on prevention and intervention approaches for children, youth and adults with exceptionalities, their families and care providers. Currently, she is working on projects related to the promotion of inclusion and human rights for persons with intellectual disabilities and on interprofessional collaboration related to service innovation.


Rosemary Condillac, Ph.D., C.Psych., BCBA-D, is a Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Centre for Applied Disability Studies at Brock University, in St. Catharines, ON. Her research and practice foci include assessment, treatment, and well-being of people with a range of developmental and intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, and mental health issues, across the lifespan.