RALEIGH – The five-member Eugenics Compensation Task Force established by Gov. Bev Perdue to identify compensation options for victims of the state’s former eugenics program today approved a set of recommendations to be detailed in a final report due by Feb. 1. Notably, they include a lump sum payment of $50,000 to living victims and those who were alive when verified by the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation.
“We are attempting to achieve a level of financial compensation and other services that can provide meaningful assistance,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, Task Force Chair. “Compensation also serve s a collective purpose for the state and sends a clear message that we in North Carolina are a people who pay for our mistakes and that we do not tolerate bureaucracies that trample on basic human rights.”
The N.C. Eugenics Board implemented a program of involuntary sterilization that took place in all 100 counties between 1929 and 1974. To date, 72 individuals have been verified as having been sterilized under its auspices.
Details of Task Force recommendations will be described in the report due to the Governor by Feb. 1. Among the other items to be referenced are:
· Continue funding for the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation
· Establish a three-year period during which individuals may initiate the verification process for the purpose of compensation
· Increase outreach efforts to verify eugenics victims and increase program awareness
· Ensure that financial compensation does not negatively impact eligibility for other benefits
· Explore mental health services for living victims
· Create educational exhibits
Members of the General Assembly are responsible for determining the type and source of any compensation provided. The matter will be among the bills considered by legislators during the short session in spring.
The N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation is continuing to receive verification inquiries from people who feel that they were impacted by the state’s former Eugenics Board program. If you believe you are or know someone who may have been affected by the program, call the toll-free hotline 877-550-6013 (or 919-807-4270) for information, or visit the Foundation's website: www.sterilizationvictims.nc.gov