The Fernald Developmental Center, once home to thousands of mentally disabled men, women, and children, now houses 13 residents. It is the oldest institution for the disabled in the United States and has been under threat of closure since the early 2000s, as politicians have worked to cut costs in state budgets. The 186-acre campus of Fernald is largely in disrepair, but the 13 remaining residents have guaranteed level of care rights granted in 1993 as a part of a lawsuit relating to decades of abuse and neglect at the institution. Their guardians don’t want the residents moved to private facilities, especially at this late stage in life. The youngest resident is 46, and the oldest is 84.
Shot for The Wall Street Journal. More information available here: At Nation’s Oldest Institution for the Disabled, 13 Lives in Limbo