In the 1950’s some local families were seeking a third alternative for their children who had severe disabilities: the choices then were either keep the child at home or placement in an institution. Not even public schools were open to kids who could not participate because they couldn’t negotiate the stair, or made too much noise. There was very little for families then.
Not liking the choices, they created a third path: a home within the community.
It wasn’t easy. It required one of the Founding Mothers, Kaye Epton, to serve in the state House of Representatives and create legislation allowing families, for the first time, to divert resources away from institutional care to community support. It was called The Epton Act and remains one of the central legislative victories for persons with disabilities and their families in Washington.
Families now had a path to community based care, and it’s never been the same!
The Epton Act passed in 1959. Merry Glen started as a day program in 1961, and the residential component was added in 1973 with the home on Cincinnati.
Some of the folks who first started calling Merry Glen home in 1973 still do today.
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• Kaye Epton with link to edited YouTube of Linda Rolfe:
• Run from 5:50 – 7:09THE FUTURE: Seeking long-term commitments