New DHHS division to focus on elderly, developmentally disabled

  • Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers speaks to the Executive Council last summer in Concord. AP file

Monitor staff
Friday, October 20, 2017

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has announced the creation of a new division dedicated to services for the elderly and developmentally disabled.

The Division of Long Term Supports and Services will combine two bureaus under the same roof – the Bureau of Developmental Services and the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services – according to a news release Friday.

Those two bodies are presently housed under the Division of Community Based Care Services, which also manages the New Hampshire Hospital and Glencliff Home for the Elderly.

The decision came in response to New Hampshire’s aging demographics, and the growing prevalence of chronic health conditions and disabilities, according to the release. The new division is meant to serve people “from birth through the lifespan” by offering continuous care from one source, the release added.

“Given the State’s current demographics and anticipating the future needs of our aging and disability population groups, I believe the new Division will integrate the services we offer these vulnerable populations,” DHHS Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers said in a statement.

Leading the new division is Christine Santaniello, the present director of the Bureau of Developmental Services, and former executive director of Lakes Region Community Services, which provides services to those with developmental disabilities.

Santaniello called the restructuring an opportunity to allow the department to better target services to family members of all ages.

“(We’re) really looking at somebody from the age of five and saying ‘Gee, what kind of supports can we provide this young child so that when they become an adult they may need less or they’ll be already part of their community,’ ” she said.