In 1971, with federal and state funding available, Ohio began planning for the first new institutions to be built in the 20th century for the developmentally disabled: the Warrensville and Northwest Ohio Developmental Centers. The total cost of new projects for the state was more than $44 million, a substantial investment with more than 15,000 Ohioans being served by the county boards.
State Rep. George Voinovich, who would go on to become mayor of Cleveland, Ohio governor, and U.S. Senator from Ohio, sponsored a bill that doubled the state reimbursement to counties from $300 to $600 for adults, and $300 to $450 for children. Under this bill, subsidies to county boards grew to $6.4 million the next year.
Ohio’s General Assembly enacted various pieces of legislation that year, which required the Ohio Division of Mental Retardation (now referred to as the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities) to supervise, inspect, and license all residential care facilities, as well as establish a protective service and public guardianship program for people with developmental disabilities.