Caswell Developmental Center

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NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services

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Caswell Center was founded in 1911 and has been serving people with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities for over 90 years. Picture of Caswell Center Vistors Center sginOf the five State operated mental retardation facilities in North Carolina, Caswell Center is the oldest. Along with its 450 residential individuals, the Center serves individuals living in the 32 county Eastern Region. Caswell Center's history can be traced through the leadership of 14 permanent full-time directors. Dr. Ira Hardy in 1911 was the first Superintendent of the "North Carolina School for the Feebleminded." Dr. C. Banks McNairy in 1914 welcomed the first 15 admissions; and in 1915, he persuaded the Legislature to change the facility name to "Caswell Training School." The name "Caswell Center" honors Revolutionary War leader and the State's first Governor, Richard Caswell, and was established in 1963 under the directorship of Dr. Frank Badrock.

During the early years, the Center operated on a shoestring budget and the population reached a high point of 2,000 residents. The emphasis was Picture of bed in Caswell Center Museumon medical treatment until 1976 when the first director with a degree in education was hired. Program services were developed to meet the needs of individuals and therapeutic services were offered on and off campus. Vocational training began and remains a priority today.

The facility began to be seen as more of a continuum in service provision rather than a permanent placement. Providing the least restrictive living opportunities as possible became a goal. Outreach into the community expanded; and for most individuals, Caswell Center became a transitional home. The priority was definitely the individual, with a person-centered approach guiding services. Desired outcomes became a goal, with a major emphasis put on personal choice. The vision now is pointed towards the assurance of quality staffing, improving service provision, efficient but appropriate resource allocation that emphasizes choice and individual self-worth, and the enhancement of community living opportunities for those who reside at the Center.
Line Drawing of Stroud House at Caswell Center

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Date Modified:

01-22-2008