We’ve seen a lot of change in the developmental disabilities field during my tenure. This year was certainly no different with budget challenges and privatization, but through it all, I’m always amazed at how our organization works holistically to provide those we serve the support and resources they need to meet their goals and become as independent as possible.
Each department here at the County Board plays a critical role in our mission of providing opportunities to live, learn, and earn in our community and none can act independently of the other. It’s a cycle of assistance and I find it fascinating to see how all of the moving parts work together for the good of the people that we serve.
Human Resources keeps us certified, paid, compliant, and negotiates our benefits. The list of responsibilities for this department is long, but these are the ones that we all recognize and are critically important to us.
The Business office ensures fund distribution, allocation of budgets (all three of them – federal, state, and local), capital budgeting, and projections to ensure our facilities are up to code and meet the needs of our staff and those we serve. Our maintenance and janitorial staff are the hidden heroes who work tirelessly to keep our facilities up and running and looking good.
Our Early Intervention staff plays a vital role in early detection and support. Those of us in the field know that the birth to three-year-old age group is a vital time to receive therapies and resources. The impact on this age group is so critical that sometimes services may not be needed after that three-year mark. When services do need to continue, they are also our link to transitioning those we serve to a Service and Support administrator if necessary.
Our Investigative Agent is a true example of what protecting people looks like; always fighting hard for the rights of those we serve to ensure that their health and safety are met while receiving the best possible care and living a quality life.
The Service and Support Administrators are the foundation of it all. They identify the needs of those we serve and are the face of the County Board in our community. As the lead team members in developing each plan, our SSAs balance person-centered choices, provider input, and needs. We all work together to ensure the Individual Service Plan (ISP) helps those we serve reach their goal and live as independently as possible.
Speaking of independence. Our Community Employment and Community Integration staff do a great job of finding opportunities to advocate, integrate, create awareness, assess, find jobs, and develop skills that give those we serve the power to live a life of freedom.
And the addition of Communications wraps all of these things up with great stories of your successes so the community gets the opportunity to see our impact one person at a time.
Although we do not see them often, a vital part of our existence also includes our great board members who lead and advocate in the community on our behalf, our commissioners, our auditor’s office, and the treasurer’s office.
And finally, the “true glue” that holds us together, our administrative support staff and intake coordination, that gets people going in the right direction by directing traffic, answering phones, and fielding questions.
Working together we have the tools to impact a population that truly thrives with the support that we give, but otherwise may not get the attention and support that they deserve. Because of you, your hard work, and dedication to the field of developmental disabilities, you can rest easy knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of those we serve and I can rest easy knowing that I have a great staff making it all happen.
Keep up the great work and thank you! Enjoy your holidays!
Cheryl Plaster, Superintendent