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ST. PAUL – This session, legislation (HF1680) authored by State Representative Karen Clark passed, providing a long-awaited apology on behalf of citizens of the State of Minnesota for past treatment of persons with mental illness and developmental disabilities.
“This bill is a matter of dignity and self-respect," said Rep. Clark. “It acknowledges responsibility for past public policies that tore apart families.”
Since the founding of state hospitals, now called regional treatment centers, in 1866, tens of thousands of Minnesotans with mental illnesses and developmental and other disabilities have been removed from Minnesota communities and committed to live in state institutions, where many Minnesotans received improper and ill-treatment.
“This is an important step towards healing the historical damage that was done and it commits us to moving forward with a public agenda that helps families care for their mentally and developmentally disabled members within the community rather than in isolation” said Rep. Clark. “As a result the whole society gets healthier.”
In response to past fears of liability on the part of the state, Rep. Clark said, “We shouldn’t be afraid to apologize and go on with a more positive approach.”
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