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IHC celebrates the end of institutions

13 November 2006
For immediate release

IHC celebrates the end of institutions

The closure of all major institutions marks the end of a dark period in New Zealand's treatment of people with intellectual disabilities.

People with intellectual disabilities will be celebrating the closure of Kimberley Centre at Parliament tomorrow. Some of them have spent many years, even decades, living in an institution, removed from the community.

"This will be the first New Zealand Christmas that no one will be in an institution just because they have an intellectual disability," says chief executive Ralph Jones.

"Today, we do everything we can to ensure families are strong and are supported to care for and encourage their child with an intellectual disability in their home, within their networks and in our community."

"Since IHC was established in 1949 it has lobbied for institutions to close. We are delighted that the last institution is now closed, and people are supported to live in the community," says Mr Jones.

"New Zealand is a world leader in this area. Many other nations look on the progress we have made with envy. I am very proud to say I am from New Zealand and that we value and support people with intellectual disabilities to lead an ordinary life.

"For every community across the country, we will be supporting thousands of people with an intellectual disability to enjoy this Christmas and holiday period. Hopefully with family and friends, but definitely in a way they can feel included, have fun, and enjoy some of the things you and I would see as being ordinary."

ENDS

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