A brief overview of RAND's findings and recommendations. Over 50 major federal programs and hundreds of state and local programs spend $4.7 billion annually serving mentally and physically handicapped Americans aged 0 to 21, yet only 3 percent goes for prevention, identification, and direction, which have the highest social payoff. Many of the nine million eligibles receive no services, others an unpredictable melange, due to complete lack of coordination. Many handicapping conditions can be cured if treated in the child's first years. Yet there is no system for screening children for potentially handicapping conditions; over half the children do not even receive a hearing or vision test upon entering school. Half the children who need sensory aids lack them, while some are fitted with sensory aids without a prior medical examination. While early identification and treatment would greatly reduce the handicapped population, there remains a need for vocational habilitation, and the most unfortunate subset will require income maintenance. (Presented at Child Welfare League Executives Conference, August 1974; based on R-1220 and R-1420.)
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