The Mental Deficiency Board was established in 1922 by the 1920 Mental Deficiency Act. It oversaw the classification and management of children and adults deemed to have an intellectual disability. The Board supervised a number of state wards in conjunction with the Children of the State, and later, the Social Services Departments. The Guardianship Board replaced the Mental Deficiency Board in 1963.
The Mental Deficiency Board worked closely with the State Psychological Clinic. It diagnosed the children and adults who came under the Board's control.
After the establishment of the Mental Deficiency Board, more state wards, especially those at the Boys' Training School in Deloraine, were diagnosed with a mild intellectual disability known as feeble-mindedness. The stigma made it difficult for these boys to be found apprenticeships as farm hands with reasonable conditions and wages. Employees at the Children of the State Department expressed concerns about this but continued to cooperate with the Board in other matters.
A significant number of state wards came under the Board's control. This means that they had case files with the Board and the Department.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 25 October 2011, Last modified: 18 March 2014