May 18, 2017 8:57 PM

NH agency announces more work, less socialization for disabled clients on Seacoast

NEWMARKET — Some parents and legal guardians of developmentally disabled teens and adults are concerned after a Seacoast state agency recently announced that those enrolled in the One Sky Community Services Futures Program will be working more and socializing less.

During a meeting at the futures program office in Newmarket on Wednesday night, parents said not everyone can be employed 30 hours a week. Some participants can only handle seven to eight hours a week and still need the program's services for day trips and other activities.

C.E.O. Chris Muns explained that they are trying to make sure their disabled clients are treated like everyone else in society and given a chance at a fulfilling career.

"If you went to them and said, 'What is your life goal? What is your dream?' there are very few people that say, 'I want to work at Dunkin' Donuts,'" Muns said. "And it's nothing, there's no disrespect to Dunkin' Donuts. But there are very few people that say they want to work at Dunkin' Donuts and I think one of the problems with the system right now is we focus too much on finding people a job, a job at Dunkin' Donuts, and we don't ask them the question, 'What is it that you want to do with your life? What are your dreams?' Everybody has dreams. Whether you have a disability, or you don't have a disability, they have a dream, and we want to be able to tap into that dream and try to help them get to that dream and if it sounds like we're maybe deemphasizing the social piece and maybe put more emphasis on the employment piece, some of that is maybe a function of the fact that there's only limited resources that are available from a lot of the funding sources that we have, and we're trying to make sure if we're going to spend, if we only have a limited amount of money, let's focus on the employment piece and really make that the centerpiece of what we are doing."

Clients who do not want to transition into the new model can be referred to another local program.

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