People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have been forgotten and neglected throughout history. Minnesota is no different, and the state’s relationship with this vulnerable population is littered with broken promises and abuse. The state’s care for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities has changed quite a bit since 1965, but throughout this time period, the state actively fought those trying to improve the quality of life for them. The state’s actions are reprehensible and are a blemish on the civil rights record of the state of Minnesota. Not only are people with intellectual and developmental disabilities neglected by the state of Minnesota, but they have also been neglected by disability studies scholars. Drawing from a collection of in-depth and investigative reporting from the Star Tribune, as well as other primary sources pertaining to Welsch v. Likins United States District Court case and subsequent consent decree, this paper fills this gap in scholarship and portrays the struggles of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for equitable treatment and the state of Minnesota’s habit of not following through on its promises to this vulnerable population.


Walters, Jordan




Disability Studies | United States History


Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Deinstitutionalization, Minnesota, American History

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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