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Arlington Developmental Center and the Birth of the DIDD West Tennessee Community Homes

What is the universal goal for persons with intellectual disabilities? That's easy! We want those persons to have healthy, secure and meaningful lives, and have them live their lives as independently as possible.

Extensive studies and research show that persons with intellectual disabilities have an enhanced quality of life and much more satisfaction residing in a community setting as opposed to institutional living. Also, the studies show that parents, guardians or conservators who are initially opposed to a move from an institution to the community, quickly change their views and are satisfied with the new living experience.

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) is building several Intermediate Care Facilities/Mental Retardation (ICFs/MR), known as the DIDD West Tennessee Community Homes, in the Arlington area. Why is the state constructing these homes? It's about a lawsuit, but you don't have to be a Perry Mason or a Boston Legal fan to understand.

In 1992 the United States Department of Justice sued the State of Tennessee citing poor conditions and care at Arlington Developmental Center (ADC). Since 1993 the facility has been under a court order to correct the problems. In 2006 a pact was reached between the lawsuit parties known as the Settlement Agreement. Two of the elements of that agreement were: ADC would downsize and close within three years (presently the timeframe for closure is March, 2010), and the state would build and operate smaller ICFs/MR residences in the community

The state has made a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed, but no matter the outcome the closure of Arlington and the homes' development will carry through.