Clover Bottom Developmental Center dies, age 92

News release from Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
NASHVILLE—The final people with disabilities to receive services and supports at Clover Bottom Developmental Center (CBDC) are moving into their new community homes marking the closure of Tennessee’s first institution for the care of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In recent years, the state closed Nat T. Winston and Arlington Developmental Centers in West Tennessee. The closure of CBDC leaves Greene Valley Developmental Center (GVDC) in East Tennessee as the state’s only remaining institution for the care of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. GVDC is scheduled for closure in the summer of 2016.

“Closing the last of the large institutions in Tennessee, as challenging and difficult as it is, I believe will lead us to be one of the best states in regards to services for people with disabilities,” said Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) Commissioner Debra K. Payne. Commissioner Payne’s career in supporting people with disabilities began at CBDC in the 1970s. Payne went on to say, “I think institutional care served its purpose for many years. Today, there are many different options for people, and Tennessee is on the front edge of that.”

In Tennessee, the vast majority of people with disabilities who receive services through the state’s three Medicaid Waivers do so in their own homes or in a home operated by a private contractor. Additionally, the state operates several 4-person community homes in each region with a total capacity to serve about 150 people.

CBDC Opened in 1923 as Tennessee Home and Training School for Feeble-Minded Persons. Located in the Nashville suburb of Donelson, the facility grew quickly, and at one point, it was home to more than 1,500 people. The growth of Clover Bottom showed the need for facilities to care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and spurred state leaders to establish other similar institutions in each region of the state.

Starting in the 1980s, the institutional model of care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities was replaced by a community model which placed people with disabilities in more traditional home settings with opportunities to interact with the typical population and hold jobs in integrated settings. Numbers of people living at Tennessee’s institutions declined as the community model became increasingly popular.

In 1995, Clover Bottom, Greene Valley, and Arlington Developmental Centers were the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and a lawsuit brought by advocates for people with disabilities. After two decades of work to improve the state’s service delivery system, Tennessee is poised to exit the CBDC, et al. lawsuit. All parties agreed to an Exit Plan in January 2015 with targeted completion in 2016.

“Even though Clover Bottom Developmental Center is closing, the lessons learned here will stay with the department,” Commissioner Payne said. “So many people who still work with DIDD began their careers at Clover Bottom, and those early days really inspired passion to support Tennesseans with disabilities to live their lives to the fullest extent.”

· 1919 — First appropriation for construction of institution for people with intellectual disabilities

· 1920 — Tennessee lawmakers approve $100,000 to buy land and build buildings that would become Clover Bottom Developmental Center

· 1923 — First admission

· 1924 — 248 people were admitted in first 9 months of operation

· 1960 — Greene Valley Developmental Center opens in East Tennessee

· 1961 — Name changed to Clover Bottom Hospital and School

· 1963 — Peak census of 1,563

· 1968 — Arlington Developmental Center opens in West Tennessee

· 1973 — Name changed to Clover Bottom Developmental Center

· 1976 — First cottage-style residences open

· 1995 — CBDC, et al. lawsuit filed by People First and USDOJ

· 1999 — CBDC, et al. Settlement Agreement finalized

· 2010 — Arlington Developmental Center closed

· 2015 — CBDC, et al Exit Plan approved