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Developmental Supports

Mark D. Elmore Center

10501 Lackman Road, Lenexa, KS 66219

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Department News

Grant funding will help hundreds of Johnson County individuals with disabilities secure competitive employment

After being awarded a combined more than $2 million in grant funding, Johnson County Developmental Supports and Johnson County Mental Health will be able to help secure competitive employment for a goal of 320 individuals served by either agency over the next five years. Both agencies have received an End-Dependence Grant from the Kansas Rehabilitation Services division of the Kansas Department for Children and Family Services.

Both JCDS and JCMH will use these grants to improve competitive employment outcomes for Johnson County individuals with disabilities. The target population will be adults served by JCDS or JCMH and require Supported Employment Services to obtain and maintain employment.

The JCDS grant provides 100 percent funding for four employment specialist positions and the grant for JCMH provides 100 percent funding for two full-time vocational counselors, one part-time vocational counselor and one part-time peer support specialist.

“Nationally, unemployment for adults with severe mental illness is estimated at more than 85 percent,” says Tim DeWeese, executive director, Johnson County Mental Health. “Our Vocational Services team receives daily requests from our clients who want to work in the community. We are thrilled this grant will allow us to help an additional 200 clients find work.”

“The End-Dependence grant will allow JCDS to expand our Progressive Employment model which creates temporary-to-permanent work experiences that break down barriers to employment for some of the individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities we serve,” said Chad VonAhnen, executive director, Johnson County Developmental Supports. “We strongly encourage our clients to consider working in the community to increase their level of dependence and self-sufficiency, and are thankful for this grant that will help us with our mission.”

The Kansas Department for Children and Family Services announced this program October, 2014. The goal of the $25 million investment for the state of Kansas is to help 2,000 Kansans secure community employment.

New CDDO director starts today

Beginning today, Shelly May is the director of the Community Developmental Disabilities Organization for Johnson County. May has worked in the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities field for 27 years.

During her career, May has served multiple roles as a service provider, targeted case manager, volunteer guardian, state licensing and quality assurance coordinator, public policy liaison, grants manager, and disability advocate. Most recently, May was the Employment/Day Pathways Facilitator at LifeShare where she worked on increasing employment outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

May was also the statewide coordinator for Project SEARCH in Kansas. Project SEARCH is a one-year, school-to-work program for young adults with IDD.

As the director of Johnson County’s CDDO, May will lead a team of 12 who are responsible for providing a single point of entry for people seeking IDD services and supports. These services include day supports, residential supports, respite overnight care and targeted case management.

“I have a passion for connecting individuals and families with community based services and supports, and am very excited to join the Johnson County CDDO, which does a tremendous job  of ensuring residents benefit from customer-driven quality services,” said May.

May replaces former Johnson County CDDO director Tim Wood, currently executive director of InterHab Inc., Kansas’ state association for IDD service and support providers.

Another successful year of Project SEARCH!

The 2015-2016 program year for Project SEARCH is in the books and it is getting bigger and better each year! Eleven interns completed the program and have either secured employement or are in the process. You can read about this year's successes...including adding on a new host business...in this newsletter written by our interns. Enjoy!

JCDS 2015 Annual Report