, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 151-171

Closing the Massachusetts public training schools

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One successful effort at policy termination—the closing of the Massachusetts public training schools—is examined. The analysis includes: how the tactics of survival which maintain most governmental organizations and most public policies were neutralized; how the barriers to implementation of the termination policy were overcome; how the new replacement policy—the privately operated, community-based, group-homes policy—was consolidated; and a preliminary evaluation of the termination tactics and the new policy.

I am most grateful to all the people who were willing to be interviewed for this study. Many current and former employees of the Department of Youth Services and many observers inside and outside of the Massachusetts state government were very generous with their time. All quotations in this paper for which no reference is given come from these interviews. A longer, more detailed version of this study has been published as a Working Paper by the Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs, Duke University.