A case study of group home development for persons with mental retardation: entry approaches and neighborhood opposition

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Normalization of persons with mental retardation has been a national goal for the past twenty-five years, and deinstitutionalization is the driving force to the attainment of this goal. Small group homes, or community based facilities, are viewed as a viable alternative to institutionalization. The sponsors of group homes have encountered neighborhood opposition to such an extent that specialized approaches for neighborhood entry have been developed. However, the efficacy of these entry approaches has received little empirical attention.

The purpose of this study was to investigate entry approaches employed by sponsors of group homes in their attempts to locate in local communities. Structured personal interviews were conducted with sponsoring agency officials, managers of the group homes, area housing authorities, and persons residing in neighborhoods where group homes for persons with mental retardation were located during the months of May, June, and July, 1985.

Individual case studies regarding seven group homes established in a large county in the state of North Carolina have been presented. Grouped data have also been reported in the attempt to investigate the efficacy of entry approaches the literature is currently advocating.