Our History

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In the Beginning – A Family Support Group

In 1955, before today’s service system existed, several families, each with a member who had an intellectual or developmental disability, formed a group to share their experiences and support each other. This grassroots organization was the first incarnation of what would become The Moore Center (which is also known formally as Moore Center Services, Inc.).

The Creation of Area Agencies

In 1975, the New Hampshire legislature passed a law (RSA 171-A) which mandated “the Division of Mental Health to establish, maintain, implement and coordinate a comprehensive service delivery system for developmentally disabled persons.” Managed by the New Hampshire Bureau of Developmental Services, this system included designating ten “area agencies” to develop and implement these services throughout the state.

The Moore Center was named area agency for Region VII, which includes Auburn, Bedford, Candia, Goffstown, Hooksett, Londonderry, Manchester, and New Boston in 1981.

A Community-Based Service Approach

The year 1982 marked a sea change: New Hampshire led the country in its reassessment of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, beginning the process of closing its state-run institutions and moving toward a community-based service approach. It was a lengthy transition, taking about a decade to complete.

In 1991, NH was the first state in the nation to close its institution for people with developmental disabilities. Laconia State School and Training Center closed its doors. Only 11 other states have accomplished this.

Expanding Our Reach

Through the years, The Moore Center has evolved with the needs of the community. While we remain dedicated to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorder (ABD), we’ve added services for children, as well as senior citizens through our Moore Options for Seniors program, and we’ve become a leader in training and development for the human services workforce.

We are proud of our past and always apply the principles from our humble beginnings—compassion, commitment, and community—to the way we serve our clients today.

A Brief History of the NH Regional Service System

Matthew Ertas, former Chief of the Bureau of Developmental Services, gives a lecture to Moore Center staff about the history of services for people with disabilities in NH.