Thursday, November 5, 2015

Clover Bottom Developmental Center Closing After 92 Years

Randy Alexander speaks with Gov. Phil Bredesen
NASHVILLE—The final people with disabilities to receive services and supports at Clover Bottom Developmental Center (CBDC) are moving into their new community homes marking the closure of Tennessee’s first institution for the care of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Gov. Bredesen promised to close the institution by 2011. The state did not make that deadline and the cost of inappropriate institutionalization has been about $1,400.00 per day for each individual. That is a monthly cost of $42,000.00 per person for our state's failure. However, not closing the massive facility is costly in other ways.

"Between September 2012 and August 2013," reported The Tennessean in February of 2014. "DIDD recorded five serious injuries, 17 allegations of abuse and neglect and 775 other injuries — an average of 19 injuries per person living at Clover Bottom over an 11-month period."

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities released the following timeline with a press release about the closure of Colver Bottom. MCIL notes that the timeline does not include:

  • 1973 — Lawsuit established that Clover Bottom residents could not be forced to work without pay.
  • 1994 — A federal investigation that finds that Clover Bottom violated residents Constitutional Rights.
  • 2010 — Gov. Phil Bredesen proposes to close Clover Bottom at the end of the calendar year.

DIDD Timeline for Clover Bottom:


  • 1919 — First appropriation for construction of institution for people with intellectual disabilities 
  • 1920 — Tennessee lawmakers approve $100,000 to buy land and build buildings that would become Clover Bottom Developmental Center 
  • 1923 — First admission 
  • 1924 — 248 people were admitted in first 9 months of operation 
  • 1960 — Greene Valley Developmental Center opens in East Tennessee 
  • 1961 — Name changed to Clover Bottom Hospital and School 
  • 1963 — Peak census of 1,563 
  • 1968 — Arlington Developmental Center opens in West Tennessee 
  • 1973 — Name changed to Clover Bottom Developmental Center 
  • 1976 — First cottage-style residences open 
  • 1995 — CBDC, et al. lawsuit filed by People First and USDOJ 
  • 1999 — CBDC, et al. Settlement Agreement finalized  
  • 2010 — Arlington Developmental Center closed 
  • 2015 — CBDC, et al Exit Plan approved