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DHS news release

March 7, 2007

Program Contact: Bill Lynch, 503-945-9941

Media contact: Patricia Feeny, 503-945-6955

Governor proclaims March Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month 

Salem, Oregon—In recognition of the nearly 37,000 Oregonians who have developmental disabilities, including 12,000 children, Gov. Ted Kulongoski has proclaimed March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.


“This month we celebrate the abilities, the potential, and the contributions that people with developmental disabilities make to their communities and to our state,” the Governor said. “The families of these Oregonians with developmental disabilities have also earned this recognition for their caring commitment and ongoing support, which are both essential to an independent and productive life.”


A developmental disability is a life-long, severe and chronic mental or physical impairment that strikes before a person reaches the age of 22, causing limitations in at least three of five areas of life activities. These areas are self-care, language, learning, mobility and economic self-sufficiency.


For decades, adults and children with developmental disabilities received care in institutions. In 1981, the Oregon Legislature passed a law that made community-based services the primary care system for people with developmental disabilities.


The theme of this year’s Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is “Every Child Deserves a Family Home.”


“All children should have the opportunity to grow up at home with the people who love them,” said DHS Director Dr. Bruce Goldberg. “In Oregon we still have hundreds of children with developmental disabilities who live outside their family home.”


To celebrate this month’s recognition, the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities will sponsor a March 12 event that will bring together advocates, providers, consumers, policymakers and public employees. The event begins at 3 p.m. in the lobby of the Barbara Roberts Human Services Building, 500 Summer St., in Salem.


During the ceremony, the Council will unveil a newly refurbished sculpture by Tom Hardy, an Oregon artist. The sculpture, which originally stood on the grounds of Fairview Training Center, will go on permanent display in the lobby of the human services building.