Group Homes

courtesy of the Webster House

There’s a current shortage of beds in group homes throughout New Hampshire. In fact, 22 homes have closed in the past six years, and only 21 group homes are remaining.

Lou Catano is the executive director of The Webster House, a children’s home in Manchester. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Catano about House Bill 517, which will go into effect at the beginning of the year, and its potential impact on group homes in the state.

(Editor's note: this transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Like many kids with autism, Hunter Picknell has trouble expressing himself.

“His primary form of communication is sign language, but there’s certain things he can’t do with his hands and fingers because of his motor-planning issues,” says Melissa Hilton, Hunter’s mother.

“He makes kind of his own sign language, which is very idiosyncratic. We often joke around and say it is sign language with an accent.”