these children, saying nothing can be done for them. Everyone associated with Crotched Mountain, board and staff alike, must have the firm belief that nothing is impossible.”5
As a residential facility, this emphasis on treating the most severe cases accelerated in the late 1970’s. Across the country, there was more emphasis on community based programs. In addition to trying to provide better care, one of the catalysts for establishing community based programs was the new requirements that public schools pay for “special education”. This legislation, know as Public Law 94:142, lead many school districts to set up programs on a district-wide or regional basis. “Residential programs like the one at Crotched Mountain were necessary only for children with more complicated conditions.”6
This trend of emphasizing community based services is one that Don Shumway not only supports, but played a leading role in establishing in New Hampshire. As the Assistant Director for the Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services from 1976-1979, Shumway oversaw the closing of Laconia State Hospital and its replacement with a statewide community-based service delivery system for disabled persons. As more services moved from mental institutions to community based facilities, his annual budget for this nationally recognized program called “Action for Independence” grew from $325,000 to $14 million.
On the other hand, as community based programs proliferated, expensive residential programs like Crotched Mountain faced financial challenges.
Many institutions caring for people with disabilities failed in the decade after the passage of Public Law 94:142, incapable of adapting to changing circumstances, unable to provide the services needed by a changing clientele. One estimate was that as many as twenty to thirty schools and centers in Massachusetts alone . . . closed their doors. 7
Crotched Mountain survived, but only because it had the skills to deal with the most complicated cases and the fund raising capability to subsidize the high costs.
The first group to disappear from the clientele at the Mountain were deaf children with few or mild additional problems. . . . As many school districts developed growing expertise in special education, other children with relatively slight disabilities were absorbed into programs in their home school districts. New treatment facilities sprang up to work in concert with school districts and by the 1980s even many of those children who had more serious disabilities were seeking treatment near home. . . the clientele for a sophisticated and relatively expensive—institution like Crotched Mountain
Ginsburg, p. 20.
Over time Crotched Mountain has established a number of community based programs in places like Manchester, N.H., Portsmouth, N.H. and Albany, N.Y. However, these programs have always been a relatively small part of the overall budget.
Ginsburg, p. 33.
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth