Developmental Centers

Tennessee is proud to no longer have  large, congregate institutions.  It closed its last developmental center, Greene Valley Developmental Center on May 26, 2017. 

Tennessee's history with institutional care began in 1923 when Clover Bottom opened its doors.  Originally called the Tennessee Home and Training School for Feeble-Minded Persons, CBDC admitted 248 people in the first nine months of operation.  The institution's census peaked in 1963 at 1,563.  During the 1960s, two other institutions were built: Greene Valley Developmental Center (GVDC) in 1962 and Arlington Developmental Center (ADC) in 1968.  As the best-practice trend in the field of intellectual disabilities shifted from institutional to community care, the census at Tennessee's large institutions declined substantially.  In the 1990's two separate lawsuits were brought by the United States Department of Justice and People First of Tennessee over conditions at Tennessee's four institutions. 

The state closed Nat T. Winston Developmental Center in 1998, Arlington Developmental Center in 2010, Clover Bottom Developmental Center in 2015 and Greene Valley Developmental Center in 2017.  Both lawsuits have been dismissed.