Milt Conrath (Part 1)
Milt Conrath, Dakota County Administrator, speaks of his early years in the field. (Run time 2:02)
I actually was called in to witness about the fact that an essential developmental stage is the bond and attachments that people have in their relationships so that they can move on. And, of course, in the regional treatment centers was multiple staff and all that sort of thing. It just couldn't happen there. The care, as we all know, was not very good at that point in time.
When I came out of graduate school in 1970, it was a time when we were making the first movements back into the community, even before Welsch. It was some large institutional places in the community, and I was attached to Greenbrier Home in St. Paul. So, we would go up regularly to visit the hospital and see if there were people that might be able to come into the community. Greenbrier had 170 people in it itself.
It was atrocious. People were not even, I don't think they were treated as well as most animals. A lot of caged, big terrazzo floored rooms with no doors on the bathrooms with people laying around, hitting their heads, or crawling all over each other, not changed regularly, not bathed regularly. It was, it was, it smelled incredibly bad.
We would go up and ask for people and I remember one particular time going there and they said, "Where's George?" and somebody said, "He's out in the pen in the back." And they had a fenced in area, and that's what they were calling the pen.
There was very little staff, sometimes 50 people in one of these rooms, and one or two staff who may or may not be in the room. Pretty bad, bad, so that hit me very hard. It was my position, at that time, was that we really needed to get these folks out of here.