After a lot of collaborative work among many people, our 2017 annual report is complete!
After a lot of collaborative work among many people, our 2017 annual report is complete!
Dozens of JCDS day/employment services clients belong to the Self-Advocate Group. The group's mission is to educate, support and speak up for themselves and others with disabilities. They closely monitor and discuss issues happening close to home, in Topeka and in Washington D.C.
The group has created a newsletter called Speak Up! You can view the first issue at this link.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has released some documents that pertain to the next version of KanCare, which is Kansas' privatized system of the Medicaid program. Below are links to the documents with an explanation of what they are.
Below is a link to the state's draft of a renewal application it will use to request the federal government approve the next KanCare waiver, also known as "KanCare 2.0". The current KanCare waiver expires at the end of 2018. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the federal agency responsible for oversight of state Medicaid programs.
The state has also released the Request for Proposal that the Managed Care Organizations (insurance companies) will use to bid on the contract for KanCare 2.0, That's at the link below and is currently at the bottom of the page.
The public is invited to provide comments on this draft until November 26, 2017. There are several public meetings and conference calls and the details of those events are available here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Johnson County Developmental Supports hopes to help nearly 100 people with an intellectual or developmental disability find a competitive job in the community over the next five years. This lofty but achievable goal is due to JCDS receiving a $1.2 million grant called “End Dependence.” The Kansas Rehabilitation Services division of the Kansas Department for Children and Families awarded JCDS the grant, and the funding will go towards serving 120 people in a progressive employment, or internship-model program, with the goal of securing competitive employment for 80 percent of participants.
The community employment team at JCDS is seeking both business and individuals to participate in the End Dependence program.
All Kansas City employers are invited to get in touch with JCDS to find out about being an End Dependence host site. JCDS will work with businesses such as hospitals, hotels, retail establishments, industrial settings, warehouses to set up temporary internships lasting at least four weeks. Individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability can gain some work experience, learning a job’s specific skills and requirements as well as some of the softer skills necessary to work in the community. Interns’ wages will be paid by Vocational Rehab.
For more information, please contact Andrea Bishop at 913-826-2217 or Andrea.Bishop@jocogov.org
JCDS is looking for people over 18 who have been deemed eligible for I/DD services by the Johnson County Community Developmental Disability Organization (CDDO.) Ideally, participants should have no prior work experience, or have worked but have experienced some challenges with community employment.
For more information, please contact Kim Perry at 913-826-2340 or Kim.Perry@jocogov.org.
This video provides some examples of successful local job placements for people with I/DD in several different industries.
The 2017 Kansas legislative session officially begins at 2 p.m. on Monday, January 9. There are a variety of ways to monitor what's happening in Topeka. The information below pertains specifically to following issues involving the intellectual and developmental disability system.
The Kansas Legislature web site has a host of information including calendars, legislator contact information and committee assignments, and links to live audio broadcasts. You can also track bills online.
The Senate standing committees you may want to watch are Ways and Means, and Public Health and Welfare. On the House side, Appropriations, Social Services Budget and Health & Human Services are ones to monitor.
An important joint committee to watch is the Robert G. (Bob) Bethell Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight.
The Kansas State Library has a toll-free legislative hotline with reference librarians available to answer legislative questions. The phone number is 1-800-432-3924 or you can text questions to 785-256-0733 (charges may apply.)
News outlets are another information resource and below are direct links to statehouse or politics sections for news outlets we monitor.
Finally, if you are a Twitter user, many tweets about happenings at the statehouse include the hashtag #ksleg so that's a good one to search. You can also follow legislators, as well as journalists who cover the statehouse.
JCDS sends out regular e-mails with legislative and policy updates. To join this email list, please send an email to email@example.com.