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About the Center
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Center Happenings

Monday, September 12, 2011
OMCA Golf Tournament

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In the mid 1940's, few Oklahomans could pronounce "cerebral palsy", and even fewer people knew what to do with a child who had a disability. That was one of the difficulties that the J.D. McCarty Center's first directors had to overcome.

A group called "The 40 et 8 of Oklahoma" tackled the job of building a center where Oklahoma kids could get intensive therapy and schooling regardless of their race, religion or ability to pay. The idea came about after one member of the "40 et 8" had searched the state in vain for a place that could teach his grandson to walk and talk. So, in 1946, the "40 et 8" voted to begin plans for a medical facility that would give children the help they needed and make parents realize that there was no need for shame or blame.

For about two years, the "40 et 8" operated their center out of a building on the U.S. Navy's former "South Base" in Norman, with the first child admitted in 1948. Just to stay afloat, the group had to hit the streets raffling off cars, knocking on doors and soliciting money every way they could.

Then, their cause found a new champion: J.D. McCarty, a member of Oklahoma's House of Representatives, who later became the Speaker of the Oklahoma House. McCarty used his influence to pass a bill to build the Oklahoma Cerebral Palsy Institute, and another bill, sponsored by State Senator Phil Smalley of Norman, covered annual operating expenses. Central State Hospital (now known as Griffin Memorial Hospital) sold 10 acres of land for only one dollar for the new facility to be built on.

With Representative McCarty's support in the legislature, the institute became a state agency, and the "40 et 8" was allowed to remain active with the facility. The legislature created a three member Cerebral Palsy Commission which governed the McCarty Center then and today. The governor appoints members of the commission today.

The year 2001 brought a major change to the clinical operations of the J.D. McCarty Center. In July of that year, the center changed its clinical care model from a cerebral palsy focus to a broader model encompassing a wide variety of diagnoses.

The care model that the McCarty Center now uses has a specially trained direct care specialist assigned to each one or two children that are admitted to our hospital. Among other things, these direct care specialist make sure that the inpatient's care plan is implemented throughout the day, including any behavior modification plan the child might be on, sees that the child is in therapy at the appointed times, records and reports various observations of the patient for the nursing staff and assists the patient while they're in school.

Another step in the evolution of the McCarty Center occurred on January 12, 2000. On that day, the Oklahoma Foundation for Persons with Disabilities (OFPD) was born with notification from the Internal Revenue Service that the McCarty Center's application papers had been approved to establish a public, not-for-profit foundation. Its sole purpose is to raise monies for the support of various projects and programs that will in turn benefit the children the J.D. McCarty Center serves.

In June 2005, the foundation board voted to change the foundation's name to The J.D. McCarty Center Foundation.