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October 5, 2007 - Newfoundland and Labrador - An era of deinstitutionalization
Prior to the 1970s, services to persons with intellectual disabilities and their families within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador were sporadic at best, given little priority by the provincial government and the  needs of families were not being addressed in any comprehensive or coherent manner. Responsibility for provision of support to an individual with an intellectual disability was viewed as the responsibility of the family (either nuclear or extended) and such was accomplished with little support or assistance from government. The primary response to families with sons/daughters who required ‘out of home placement’ was referral to one of the two existing provincial institutions – Children’s Home and Exon House.

In the mid to late 1970s the situation began to change – families were expressing extreme dissatisfaction with the existing model of service delivery. This institutional model was being critically reviewed by government officials and was recognized as inadequate. An increased emphasis was being placed on the provision of early intervention services for children with intellectual disabilities, and the first community based residences began to appear. 


The government of the day commissioned the Canadian Association for the Mentally Retarded (now the Canadian Association for Community Living) to undertake an assessment of Exon House and related programs, and results of this assessment were contained in a document entitled ‘The Exon House Report’.


A follow up report commissioned and released entitled ‘People and Communities’.


As a response to the People and Communities Report, the Department of Social Services submitted a plan entitled ‘A Plan for the Development of Community Living Arrangements and related Support Services for developmentally delayed persons as an alternative to institutionalization’.


Government adopts a policy of deinstitutionalization and announces closure plans for its two provincial institutions. Ministerial statement issued that indicates that ‘institutions will no longer play a role in the lives of persons with developmental disabilities’.


Children’s Home – CLOSED. Childrens Home was a provincial institution in which approximately 100 individuals with intellectual disabilities lived. The facility provided a residence for those individuals with severe multiple disabilities and/or who were viewed as medically fragile. 


Exon House – CLOSED. Exon House was a provincial institution that housed both children and adults with developmental disabilities. It had a population of approximately 200 residents.


Developmental Maximization Unit CLOSED.


Developmental Maximization Unit CLOSED. Developmental Maximization Units were small residences which provided continuous nursing care and access to immediate medical intervention.  It was a living arrangement designed to provide a suitable supportive environment to developmentally disabled persons who had multi handicapping conditions and require a period of medical stabilization. Both Units were attached to rural community hospitals. These two units had been created to assist 14 persons leave the two provincial institutions,


A Future with Rights – The Right Future Project. Launched in April 1993, this project was designed to assist 126 persons with developmental disabilities to move from the Waterford Hospital (the provincial psychiatric hospital) to live meaningful lives in the communities of their choice. The project was a partnership effort between the Newfoundland Association for Community Living, the (then) provincial Department of Social Services, the Canadian Association for Community Living, and Health and Welfare Canada.  People were assisted to leave the hospital through the use of a highly individualized approach to planning that emphasized a person centred approach, and the full involvement and concurrence of family and/or support networks.

1995 – 2000   

Group Homes CLOSED.  Group Homes had been used as a primary residential option during the closure of both Childrens Home and Exon House. At one point there were 23 group domes in the province. A group home was defined "as a private residential facility operated by an incorporated community board and staffed by a Co-ordinator and counsellors, where a maximum of four individuals with developmental delays live in a typical home-like environment.  The last group home closed in 2000. Individuals were assisted to move into smaller Co-operative Apartments or individualized living arrangements supported by direct funding.

September 4, 2007 - Newfoundland and Labrador Update
Newfoundland and Labrador's large-scale institutions for persons with developmental disabilities have been closed since the mid-1990s. The province remains committed to ensuring that persons with developmental disabilities live in appropriate community-based settings. In early September, self-advocates with People First of Newfoundland and Labrador launched their very first provincial newsletter. The newsletter contains a number of stories from the perspectives of both self-advocates and survivors now living and thriving in the community.

February 3, 2004 - Newfoundland and Labrador Update
Newfoundland and Labrador closed both their institutions in about 1992. They also assisted people to leave the provincial psychiatric hospital.  However, many people still live in large settings, such as personal care homes, nursing homes, and seniors facilities.