Pennsylvania's Department of Human Services announced plans Wednesday to close two centers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities over the next three years.

Under the plan, Polk State Center in Venango County and the White Haven State Center in northeastern Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County would close. Polk currently serves 194 residents while White Haven serves 112 people.

The goal is to reduce reliance on institutional care and improve access to home- and community-based services, so every Pennsylvanian can live an everyday life, according to the Department of Human Services. 

Public meetings will be held next month to gather comment on the plans.

  • Polk State Center – Monday, September 9, 1 p.m. – Atlantic Avenue Church, 160 Atlantic Ave., Franklin, PA
  • White Haven State Center – Thursday, September 12, 1 p.m. – Hazleton One Community Center, 225 E. 4th St, Hazleton, PA

The commonwealth has steadily closed most state centers since the 1960s. That's when best practices turned toward community-based settings and away from institutions.

The department served more than 13,000 people with intellectual disabilities in state-operated facilities fifty years ago, but today fewer than 720 receive care in such facilities.