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Developmental Supports

Mark D. Elmore Center

10501 Lackman Road, Lenexa, KS 66219

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JCDS self advocates at Topeka statehouse for Push Day 2017

Johnson County Developmental Supports (JCDS) is the agency of Johnson County government that facilitates career and personal development for Johnson County residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The agency regularly serves more than 500 people each day through a broad array of community-based programs and supports.

Designated as Johnson County's Community Developmental Disabilities Organization (CDDO), JCDS also offers a single point of entry for those seeking DD services, determines eligibility for services, and coordinates a network of over 90 Johnson County providers.

Department News

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Fulfilling a drive to drive
July 19, 2017

How did Drew, Ryan, Cory and Tyler reach their goal of getting their driver’s license? Angela Walsh-Fisher, a JCDS community employment specialist, recalls how the idea got off the ground.

“At one of our self-advocacy meetings, when we asked our group what they would like to advocate for in their own lives, a majority said they wanted to learn to drive,” said Walsh. “Before we left I promised them that I would make some calls to see what I could find out.”

Those calls led Walsh to Josh Smith, program director for Transportation at Johnson County Community College and Vanessa Fernandez, a JCCC Driver’s Education instructor. Fernandez was able to take the JCCC one-day, 8-hour course, and split it into four separate sessions. The result was a program that contained shorter class times with the curriculum delivered at a slower pace that includes testing accommodations. The amount of behind-the-wheel training is determined by Fernandez for each student.

Once Walsh and Fernandez finalized the class structure, they held an informational meeting in March 2017 to explain the program. More than 50 people attended the meeting and the two offered classes quickly filled up.

Fernandez is pleased with how the class has turned out and is glad she can help people get a driver’s license who may not have been able to before this program.

“I’m very happy with who I put on the road,” said Fernandez. “They deserve to drive and they do a good job.”

This course will be offered in September and information is available online on page 84 for the Fall 2017 Continuing Education Catalog.

Final newsletter from 2016-2017 Project SEARCH class
June 28, 2017

Our Project SEARCH 2016-2017 class of interns has graduated! Before they left they put together their final newsletter. Take a look to see which class members are already out in the local workforce. 

JCDS participating in county's second annual Reverse Job Fair
April 17, 2017

On Tuesday, April 25, local businesses will have the opportunity to tap into a pool of qualified job applicants interested in securing employment. Several Johnson County departments including Human Resources, Johnson County Mental Health, Johnson County Department of Corrections and Johnson County Developmental Supports will host the county’s second Reverse Job Fair.

Unlike a typical job fair where job applicants browse information tables hosted by employers, at the Reverse Job Fair, clients receiving employment coaching or support services from Johnson County will showcase themselves. Approximately 30 job candidates will each have a table with information about his/her skills, experience and interests. Employers can meet with applicants, accept resumes, and even hold on-site interviews. The 2016 Reverse Job Fair attracted organizations including Ikea, Garmin, FedEx and the City of Lenexa.

Event details:
Tuesday, April 25
2 – 4 pm.
Johnson County Administrative Building, Lower Level, Room 200
111 S. Cherry Street, Olathe
For more information, contact Aubree Casper at 913-826-4069

Feel free to download our event flyer.

2016-2017 Project SEARCH rotation newsletter available
April 12, 2017

The 2016-2017 Project SEARCH class continues to achieve success...including two interns starting permanent jobs before even finishing their internships. Read all about it in this newsletter, put together by the interns themselves.

JCDS employee wins national award
April 4, 2017

Forrest Austin, a Direct Support Professional with Johnson County Developmental Supports, received the 2017 National Direct Support Professional of the Year award from The American Network of Community Options and Resources. ANCOR gives this award annually for exemplary work in furthering community inclusion for people living with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities. Judges look at nominees’ success in helping people with disabilities build social networks, participate in the community and advocate for themselves.

Austin has worked as a Direct Support Professional for nine years, four of them with JCDS. Part of his work involves serving as a Project SEARCH employment coach, and he has supported more than a dozen individuals with intellectual disabilities in their efforts to secure and maintain employment.

"When we have people get full-time jobs for $15 an hour who have an intellectual disability, we feel like we are breaking ground," said Austin. "I want that to become the rule and not the exception for the people we serve."

"We rely on DSPs and our staff to create solutions and figure out ways to provide opportunities for our people to be part of the community,” said Chad VonAhnen, executive director, Johnson County Developmental Supports. “Forrest does that every day. He keeps his focus on our clients’ abilities, providing them with choice-driven supports and advocating alongside of them to live and work in the community."

Since 2007, ANCOR has honored exceptional DSPs with the Direct Support Professional of the Year award. The association chose Austin from 245 nominees. ANCOR also named state recipients of the DSP Recognition Award in 41 states, the District of Columbia and Moldova.

"It is a great honor to be recognized in the midst of all this, and I see it as recognition not only for my personal contributions, but to the quality services provided here in the state of Kansas and in Johnson County," said Austin. 

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Upcoming Events

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October 24, 2017 | 5:30 pm

JCDS Governing Board Meeting

November 28, 2017 | 5:30 pm

JCDS Governing Board Meeting