Nebraska Institution for Feeble-minded Youth

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Nebraska Institution for Feeble-minded Youth
Established 1885
Opened 1887
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Beatrice, NE
Peak Patient Population 2,200 in 1966
Alternate Names
  • Institution for Feeble Minded Youth Farm
  • Beatrice State Home
  • Beatrice State Developmental Center

[edit] History

It was founded as the Nebraska Institution for Feeble-minded Youth in 1885 in Beatrice, Nebraska. In 1921, the name was changed to the Nebraska Institution for the Feeble-minded along with a new mission statement, which aimed to provide “custodial care and human treatment for those who are feeble-minded, to segregate them from society, to study to improve their condition, to classify them, and to furnish such training in industrial mechanics, agriculture, and academic subjects as fitted to acquire”.

By 1935, in order to assure complete separation from society, NIFM resident’s graves were no longer marked with family names, but with numbers; families desired to disassociate themselves from their “defective” relatives by dehumanizing them. The institution changed its name again in 1942 to the Beatrice State Home, a friendlier title. Sterilizations were confined solely to the Beatrice State Home in 1957.

Through the 1960s, three perspectives governed the asylum: education, asylum, and social control. By 1966, 752 residents at the Beatrice facility had been sterilized. Then, on July 1st, 1975, the Beatrice State Home became the Beatrice State Developmental Center, the name that it holds today. The Center specializes in the treatment of children and adults with behavioral and developmental disabilities.

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