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Timeline of Oklahoma's involvement in treatment of mental disabilities

Oklahoman Published: January 22, 2012

Timeline of state's involvement in treatment of mental disabilities


Pauls Valley State School is established.


Oklahoma Institution for the Feeble Minded in Enid is created. The center has many name changes until it becomes known as Enid State School.


Pauls Valley State School becomes a state center for the mentally disabled. It was previously the State Training School for White Boys and a mental hospital.


In December, a legislative task force visiting the Pauls Valley school reveals problems, including funds that should be used for care going toward maintenance of buildings.


Centers and hospitals run by the state Department of Mental Health and Retardation are transferred to the state Department of Public Welfare. At the time of the transfer, there were 2,300 residents at Enid and Pauls Valley and 709 employees.

President Kennedy calls for deinstitutionalization and asks that methods be found to educate the mentally disabled in the community. In April, experts gathered at a conference in Stillwater recommend that the mentally disabled should be allowed to make contributions to the community and not be denied the “normal functions of a human being.”


A third institution for the mentally disabled, Hissom Memorial Center, is opened near Sand Springs, in part to alleviate crowding in Enid and Pauls Valley. The center was deemed state-of-the-art at the time.


Medicare and Medicaid were established through passage of the Social Security amendments. Many changes ensue, including staffing requirements, treatment plans, use of medications and what is considered an appropriate physical environment.

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