New Challenges in Social Work Practice with the Mentally Retarded

  • Michael J. Monfils


During the past 15 years, dramatic developments have occurred within the fields of mental retardation and mental health. The number of residents in public institutions for the retarded in the United States has shrunk from a high of near 193,000 in 19671 to a current figure of around 139,000.2 Mentally retarded citizens have moved into community-based residential and vocational settings and are participating in a wide variety of community services and programs. The impact of Public Law 94–142 (the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975) has been felt across the country as increasing numbers of mentally retarded children are being served in the public schools. Many of these children, who previously had been educated in self-contained special classes or in institutions, have now been placed in regular classes for part or all of their school program. Because of recent court decisions and advocacy on the part of parent and professional groups such as the Association for Retarded Citizens, the legal and basic human rights of the retarded have been affirmed and promoted. A new diversity in service provision to the retarded has thus arisen, as the mental health needs of these citizens are addressed in an assortment of settings.


Mental Retardation Family Therapy Retarded Child Social Work Practice Concrete Service 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Monfils
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Nebraska Psychiatric InstituteUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA

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