The New Hampshire developmental services system offers people with developmental disabilities a range of supports and services within their own communities through the Area Agency system.
Area Agencies are a system of ten regional non-profit agencies in New Hampshire, contracted by the Bureau of Developmental Services under the Department of Health and Human Services. They provide service coordination, benefits support, resource and referral, and transition planning for adults with developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorders.
When to make referrals
It’s appropriate to refer a student to the Area Agency, regardless of age, when you are working with a student with a developmental or specific learning disability.
Families can engage with their area agency to begin transition planning at any time based on the IEP team decision, but it should be no later than age 14.
Access to funding
Area agencies are the only entities that can apply for funding for long term supports and services upon a student’s graduation or exiting of the school system.
Family support coordinators and service coordinators track and document when a student needs or will need services and funds.
To ensure funding will be available, a student’s name should be entered on the Wait List as part of the transition planning process with the IEP team at least by age 16. The area agency works with the family to define future services using a person centered planning process. They provide for projected costs for each category of services requested, as well as the service start date.
Area agencies can assist students and their families with their rights, models of support, IEPs, and referrals to other resources and systems.
Students/families should be well informed on what their rights are in each system and what services are available from each, and then make their own choices about which service delivery system will best meet their needs.
Family support services
Each area agency provides family support services slightly differently, as they are overseen by a their regional council of family members called the Family Support Advisory Council. Family Support services may include but are not limited to: respite, adaptive equipment, adaptive recreation, camperships, conferences, environmental modifications, and access to family events.
For students with high needs, area agencies can be part of the team to find solutions and supports to increase skills and stability.
Area agencies can walk families through benefits applications (e.g., Medicaid, Social Security).
Chart of towns and cities in each region, and contact information for the area agency serving each region (PDF, 2022) The contact information map is missing the agency names though it has the addresses. As a temporary solution, here is another map that shows the agency name for each region (PDF).
Content update 10-4-22