Report Sets Stage for County System

The 1960s began a flurry of activity for the parents’ movement as many worked to improve the conditions in institutions, launched new community services in education and employment, and initiated legislation to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

In Ohio, Gov. Michael DiSalle formed the Governor’s Committee for the Mentally Retarded and tasked the committee with studying the community class program and recommending the department that could best administer programs, financial support, and a curriculum for classes.

In 1960, the Horn Report, prepared by committee chair Dr. Raymond Horn, recommended a county system be established to serve persons with mental retardation. This set the stage for the legislation that would later create the County Boards of Mental Retardation. While some wanted to relocate programs under the auspices of the Department of Education, in the end, programs were left under what was then called the Department of Mental Hygiene and Correction, with a recommendation to expand the programs to serve adults. (This department has evolved several times to become what is called, as of 2009, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.)

Gov. DiSalle also appointed the Joint Committee on Mental Deficiency to review Ohio laws that affected people with developmental disabilities. The committee recommended the following:

  • Mental illness and mental retardation to be differentiated and mental retardation should be defined scientifically
  • Counties administer special services
  • The Division of Mental Hygiene to establish a Bureau of Mental Retardation
  • The state to encourage private as well as public care
  • The state to establish and fund a program of care, treatment, training, and education