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FINDING HOME
By Elizabeth Loughran

“Finding Home is a story full of challenges, triumphs and fascinating people.
No reality show will tell this story, but every citizen should know it.”

- Michael Hogan, PhD. Commissioner of Mental Health, New York State
Former Chair of the President’s New Free Commission on Mental Health

....Until the 1970s, most people who depended on the state to care for them because of some major challenge in their lives - mental illness, developmental disability, child abuse or delinquency - had to receive those services in an institution. By that time those institutions were bleak places - overcrowded, understaffed with deteriorating facilities. Today, most people live in their own homes, go to work or school in their home communities, and live lives similar to those of their neighbors. These programs are operated by a multitude of small nonprofit agencies whose stories are largely untold.

....Finding Home is the story of one such agency, the Center for Human Development, located in western Massachusetts where some of the earliest experiments with community programming took place. It traces CHD’s history from its idealistic beginnings, through the exciting years of growth and development, through challenges such as community opposition and declining funding, to its position today as a very successful nonprofit.

......It is also the story of its author, Betsy Loughran, who served as a senior manager for her 25-year career at the agency, the last 11 years as the President/CEO. She tells the stories that will be familiar to many in the nonprofit world. It is a world full of triumphs as people make progress, of disappointment when they slide back, of the difficulties of confronting community prejudice, of the creativity needed when resources decline. It is a story that all communities should know in order to help all their members live full lives.

“A must read for those seeking to better understand Massachusetts’ role in deinstitutionalization and community care.”
- Michael Weekes, President/CEO
Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers

 

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