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This case study shares the perspectives of two individuals who worked from within Laconia Developmental Services (a state institution in New Hampshire for people with developmental disabilities) to close it. One individual was institutional superintendent and the other served as a liaison officer among the state government offices, Laconia Developmental Services, and the community service system represented by area agencies. The institutional superintendent identified four major areas as critical in the internal process of closing Laconia: (1) revisions in the personnel system; (2) caring for and about staff members; (3) restructuring and reorganizing the institution as it became smaller; and (4) maintaining institutional quality during the closure process. The liaison officer helped people from the community and institution to "get to know each other," in order to facilitate community placements by improving relationships between the community and institutional staff. Primary strategies for facilitating changes included: finding the window of opportunity, building trust and sharing expertise between the community and institutional system, reinvigorating the internal process by building on the knowledge and skills of institutional staff, shifting the attention of the area agencies to the people left in the institution, and focusing on individuals. Other critical issues included finances, the advantages of not having a formal closure plan, working with parents, developing individualized placements, and developing a capacity to make compromises and solve problems. (JDD)

Descriptors: Adults, Agency Cooperation, Case Studies, Change Agents, Change Strategies, Children, Community Programs, Deinstitutionalization (of Disabled), Developmental Disabilities, Personnel Management, Placement, Program Development, Program Termination, Residential Institutions, Staff Utilization, State Government, State Programs

Autor: Racino, Julie Ann


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