Governor’s Commission On Area Agencies Is Holding Public Hearings In Bretton Woods And Concord

Contact Person:  Richard Cohen, Commission Chair                            September 15, 2005

603-228-0432 ext. 15

For Immediate Release




The Governor’s Commission established by Governor Lynch to study how efficiently and effectively the 12 Area Agencies are serving 10,000 persons with developmentally disabilities in New Hampshire is seeking input from the public. [Please See Attached Notice]  Hearings will be held in Concord on Tuesday, September 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Walker Building on So. Fruit Street.  Another hearing will be held on Monday, September 26 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Bretton Woods Ski area.


The Area Agencies were established in the early 1980s to replace Laconia State School. Four of the Area Agencies have been in the spotlight for the past year as a result of Health and Human Services Commissioner John Stephen’s plan to merge them into two area agencies.


The Commission will be reviewing the Stephen’s decision and plan as well as topics relating to the vital functions of the Area Agencies.  The four area agencies involved are Northern NH Mental Health and Development Services, Center of Hope serving the Carroll County area, Developmental Services of Sullivan County, and United Developmental Services serving the Lebanon-Hanover area.

The other topics on which the Commission is requesting input and will possibly be making legislative recommendations include abuse and neglect prevention and investigation and other health and safety issues, availability of employment to persons with disabilities and in home support to families as well as the availability of housing options.  The Commission is also interested in seeing if there are ways to improve the efficiency of Area Agencies without compromising the quality of services.


The Commission is also inviting input through email to or by regular mail to Governor’s Commission. c/o Governor’s Office, 107 No. Main Street, Concord, NH 03301


The Chair of the Commission, Richard Cohen, the Executive Director of the Disabilities Right Center, stated that “a broad examination by a diverse group of how the Area Agencies are performing their vital role 25 years after their establishment is needed.  We hope that it will be helpful and constructive. Input from interested persons and the public is very much welcomed.”



Disability Rights Center – New Hampshire is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers for people with disabilities across New Hampshire. DRC is the federally designated protection and advocacy agency for New Hampshire and has authority under federal law to conduct investigations in cases of probable abuse or neglect.

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