Washington rises: Public financial support for intellectual disability in the United States, 1955–2004


  • David Braddock

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, Office of the President, University of Colorado System, Boulder, Colorado
    • Coleman Institute, 3825 Iris Avenue, Suite 200, Boulder, CO 80301
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Public financial support for intellectual disability in the United States grew from 2.3 billion in 1955 to 82.6 billion in 2004, and the federal government emerged during this period as the principal provider of such support. Notwithstanding this unprecedented growth in financial support, many inequities persist today in the distribution of financial resources and services across states, communities, families and to individual disabled consumers. Moreover, tens of thousands of persons with intellectual disabilities continue to live in institutions and nursing homes, waiting lists and aging caregivers are growing rapidly, and family support and supported employment programs receive limited funding. Research and training support has declined significantly in comparison to the growing financial commitments for services and income maintenance. To address these and other issues, the author suggests commissioning a new “President's Panel on Intellectual Disability” modeled on President Kennedy's landmark 1961 Panel on Mental Retardation. The new panel would be appointed during the first months of the new presidential administration in 2009 and deliver its report to the President in 2011, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the original President's Panel. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. MRDD Research Reviews 2007;13:169–177.