March 4, 2011

State of Alabama
Press Release: Mental Health, Department of



MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Department of Mental Health has announced plans to close the W.D. Partlow Developmental Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with a target date of September 30, 2011. Today, ADMH Commissioner Zelia Baugh made the announcement to employees at Partlow and discussed the transition plan for residents and employees.

“Our first priority,” said Baugh, “is to the people we serve – their health, safety and quality of life. Job preservation will be a top priority as well. We are committed to assisting our dedicated staff in finding alternative employment. We anticipate that close to 400 jobs will be created in the private sector, many of those with certified providers, as Partlow residents transition into the community. Approximately 407 Partlow employees will need replacement assistance and will have priority consideration for these opportunities.”

Partlow is the only remaining state institution for people with intellectual disabilities. Currently, Partlow serves 151 residents. There have been no new admissions in the last two years and the facility has consistently downsized over that same period. By comparison, approximately 6,000 people with intellectual disabilities receive services through a network of more than 100 certified community providers across the state. Eleven other states have closed all their public institutions for those with intellectual disabilities and Alabama will become the first state in the south to achieve this milestone. Advocacy groups in favor of this transition are The Arc of Alabama and its local affiliates, People First of Alabama, The Alabama Council of Community Mental Health Boards, Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, Disabilities Leadership Coalition of Alabama and the Alabama Developmental Disabilities Council.

Each resident will have an individual placement plan that accommodates their specific needs. ADMH has a strong quality-of-care commitment and will monitor each individual’s success in the community. In 2003-04, the department closed three of its four developmental centers. Satisfaction surveys following the transition gave substantial evidence that clients and family members were very happy about the move to community life. Along with community life opportunities for Partlow residents, the department anticipates that by closing the facility it will be able to provide community services to additional consumers who are now on a waiting list.

Facts about W.D. Partlow Developmental Center

Founded: 1923
Named for: Third superintendent of Bryce Hospital, Dr. W.D. Partlow
Campus contains: 23 buildings on 141 acres
The Residential Cottages underwent major renovations in the 1980’s
Number of Residents: 151
Number of Employees: 455
Annual Budget for FY11: $42 million
Annual Payroll: $15.8 million


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