Fernald Closes Doors after
126 years of Operation
Last Resident Discharged Today
Fernald BW
Ten years of trying, two Administrations of recommending, several lawsuits tried, retried, appealed and denied, Fernald Developmental Center closed today after 126 years in operation as the Western Hemisphere's oldest state institution serving people with developmental disabilities.

Though the Patrick Administration had originally proposed closing Fernald in 2010, it remained open for another 4 years as defiant family members fought a losing battle to keep it open permanently.  Those family members, led by a small but vocal organization, COFAR, a state affiliate of parent group, Voice of the Retarded (VOR), filed multiple appeals for delays, eventually costing the Commonwealth an additional $40 million in un-budgeted expenses.

Both ADDP and The Arc of Massachusetts, had long advocated for the closure of Fernald and other obsolete state institutional programs arguing that with limited tax dollars available, service monies were better spent in less expensive community settings where better care could be delivered in a community setting.

The closure of Fernald has taken many years but in the words of Crosby, Stills & Nash, "It's a long time coming", as families chose community services over institutional services and self advocates yearned for more freedom in the community. 

It's been a long time coming
It's been a long time coming