Today I ran across a very touching CNN article on a brother who searched for and has been reunited with his sister, who had been institutionalized when she was three years old. According to the article,
It’s unknown exactly how many children were institutionalized in the last century. In 1967, at the height of institutionalization, as many as 100,000 children were housed in 162 state facilities across the U.S., according to Charlie Lakin, a professor at the University of Minnesota who studies the history of institutionalization. Other experts put the number of institutions as high as 200.
The ARC, an orgainzation “devoted to promoting and improving supports and services for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” has launced a National FindFamily RegistryÂ to help facilitate reunions for families separated when a member was institutionalized. Family members and disabled persons and their advocates can register for free, but donations can be made to help support this wonderful project.