Matt Campbell, Superintendent
The Carroll County Board of Developmental Disabilities is currently working on their 2015 Annual Action Plan. The Annual Action plan will focus on improving efforts in self-advocacy, community employment, early intervention, and integration. The Board has paid for and provided staff to ensure 16 individuals received training through Project STIR (Steps Towards Independence and Responsibility). The goal is to help those with disabilities speak for themselves and drive services provided by the Board. Self-advocates have been pushing for legislative changes and were instrumental in removing the MR from the MRDD acronym.
I was happy to hear that the plan is for 40 hours of service per week. This means the intent is for those with disabilities to work at a community job for 40 hours. If an individual cannot work a 40 hour community based job, then the 40 hours can be fulfilled by working part-time in the community and utilizing part-time day services. However, the day services will have to be integrated. The challenges will be; finding the jobs, maintaining the jobs, and integrating day services.
Sabrina Seal is doing a great job as Employment Specialist. Sabrina was able to get 4 individuals placed in community employment jobs. She has been working closely with individuals to boost their employment skills through the JET (Job Exploration and Training) Program. The Board is supporting community employment efforts by ensuring transportation is provided and additional staff is available to complete job coaching duties.
The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities is also facing coming up with a transition plan to address the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services rules. The Federal Government will no longer pay for segregated housing, segregated employment, or conflicts in case management. The conflict free case management means an agency cannot provide the service, establish eligibility and funding range, and coordinate services. Sheltered workshops are under review because of the segregated setting (they currently only serve those with developmental disabilities), pay below minimum wage, and the lack of funding for community employment options. The Federal Government no longer wants to pay for segregated housing where 7 or more individuals with disabilities live together, receive residential services, and attend day services together in the same building.
The Board is required to ensure anyone 18 years or older starts the path toward community employment. Anyone wanting adult services will have to be assessed for community employment. They may be placed on the waiting list for workshop services but will have to go through the community employment assessment process first. A new staff will be hired to help train individuals that participate on the mowing and cleaning crews. The mowing and cleaning crews will be used to train individuals for community jobs.
Early Intervention will move from center based to natural environments. Developmental specialist and/or therapists will go into family homes or in community settings to provide early intervention services. The idea behind this is to provide the support to the family in the natural environment of the child.
The Board needs to tackle the challenge of integration as dictated by the new CMS rules (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). Some county boards have renamed their workshop specialists as integration specialists. This means staff will focus on getting individuals involved in community events during the day. Staff may help individuals decide what clubs they want to join such as; Rotary, Lions, Civic, etc. Staff would help individuals volunteer in the community at various locations such as; Loaves and Fishes, library, Hospice, etc. Staff may also help individuals be connected with activities at the Friendship Center or Aultman fitness center.
I have been advised "to buckle up the next couple of years are really going to be bumpy in the DD world". Services are about to change and will be more person centered. Our Board is committed to the Imagine process which focuses on what is important to and important for an individual. Please give us feedback on how we are doing and how we can improve services. Thank you for your support and I pray all these changes will focus on the individual and how we can help them achieve the outcomes they desire and deserve.