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Connecticut Selected to Participate in Fiscal Year 2016 

Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program

December 2015

 

 

(HARTFORD, CT) - Connecticut has been selected as one of four states in the country to participate in the fiscal year 2016 Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program offered through the National Office of Disability Employment Policy. Six of Connecticut’s state agencies will partner on coordinating and streamlining efforts in Employer Engagement to increase integrated employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, with a focus on youth in transition. The six Connecticut State Government Agency partners include: Department of Developmental Services (DDS); Department of Labor (DOL); Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS); Department of Social Services (DDS); State Department of Education (SDE); and Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS). Morna A. Murray, J. D., Commissioner of DDS and Jonathan Slifka, Governor’s Liaison to the Disability Community, have accepted the role of Core State Sponsors in Connecticut for this nationally recognized award offering a substantial amount of technical assistance and travel funding. State of Connecticut agency partnerships will collaborate on established goals, activities, and projected milestones through the creation of two Core State Implementation Team work groups and one “Vision Quest” group dedicated to policy development. These work groups have been assembled with guidance by Connecticut Commissioners, key decision makers and the Governor’s Commission for Employment of People with Disabilities. As a requirement to accepting the many benefits of the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program, Connecticut will also support the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Employment First Community of Practice network. The national “Employment First Community of Practice (COP)” was designed to promote competitive and integrated employment for individuals with disabilities through a virtual workspace where participants can collaborate on related policy initiatives. The Employment First COP is open to all community stakeholders, and enrollment will provide valuable disability employment information, training opportunities, and monthly webinars to various internal and external stakeholders. To subscribe, please visit: http://www.econsys.com/efslmp/?subscribe. For more information about the 2016 Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program, please contact the Connecticut Core State Coordinator, Amy Blazawski at amy.blazawski@ct.gov.

 

 

Gov. Malloy Announces Developmental Services Commissioner

Terrence Macy to Depart from the Agency in January

December 22, 2014

 

 

(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he has been informed by Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Commissioner Terrence W. Macy that he intends to resign from state service effective January 7, 2015.

 

"The State of Connecticut and the Department of Developmental Services strive to partner with individuals and their families to create and promote meaningful opportunities for our residents to fully participate as valued members of their communities.  Commissioner Macy's leadership has helped DDS carry out this core mission, particularly serving persons with intellectual disabilities and autism," Governor Malloy said.  "I appreciate his service to the state and thank him for what he has provided in this core function of state government."

 

Governor Malloy appointed Commissioner Macy to the position in April 2011.  Prior to assuming the position, he served as the Executive Director of SARAH Tuxis Residential & Community Resources, Inc., where he led efforts to provide support to individuals with disabilities along the central Connecticut shoreline.

 

"It has been an honor to have been chosen by Governor Malloy to lead this large state agency serving persons with intellectual disability and autism," Commissioner Macy said.  "I am proud of the agency's many accomplishments over the past nearly four nears.  As I began, we created a comprehensive five-year plan, and I am happy to report that to date, many of the 25 goals have been accomplished or are well on their way.  It has been a privilege to work along so many talented and extraordinary individuals, including our agency staff, persons supported by DDS, their families, staff from other state agencies, and our private and public providers."

 

DDS serves over 19,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities, including over 4,000 infants and toddlers.

 

During Commissioner Macy's service with the agency, DDS has had many notable accomplishments, including:

 

  • Substantial increase in the number of self-advocates and families involved in the development of the agency's future services.  In 2011, the agency had approximately 220 active self-advocates, and today it has over 800, all of whom have been trained to exercise their rights.  They have been making their voices heard regarding many issues, particularly employment.  DDS staff have been working with 35 family advocacy groups to provide them with a forum where they can develop common advocacy goals and strategies. Expansion of the DDS autism program from a very small pilot program to two waiver programs that is on track to begin screening thousands of children through an amendment to the state Medicaid plan.  The expansion of autism services is overseen by a very active and professional Autism Council consisting of some of the state's leading autism experts.

  •  Conversion of the DDS legacy systems of service to be more person-centered and cost-effective.  The agency has moved to reduce its reliance on institutional and other congregate settings, while smaller and more responsive kinds of settings are being developed to take their place.  An innovative program known as the Living the Mission Mentoring Protect is allowing eight private agencies to be innovative and creative in developing new types of supports.

  •  Implementation this year of a $4 million state allocation to begin supporting at least 100 people off of the DDS residential waiting list.  To date, nearly 70 individuals have been allocating funding by the regional Planning and Resource Allocation Teams (PRAT) and at least 30 individuals have started services to date.  In total, regional staff are actively engaged with over 90 individuals and their families in the planning process for supports and services thank to this new funding.  These services and supports will have a significant positive impact on the lives of these individuals and their families.

  •  State institutions overseen by the agency are shrinking.  Southbury's census was 440 when Commissioner Macy began his service with DDS, and today 318 people live there - soon to be reduced by another 40 who have homes being constructed.  Forty more are actively in the planning process.  Similarly, the agency's five regional centers have reduced their census and plans are in place to begin closing individual buildings on various campuses.

 

 Governor Malloy will announce a successor to serve as Developmental Services Commissioner in the coming weeks.  The Governor is scheduled to be sworn into a second term in office on January 7, 2015.

 

CT Waiver Program to Serve 100 More Medically Fragile Children

June 30, 2014

 

 

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that Connecticut’s Medicaid program for medically fragile children, known as the Katie Beckett waiver, will be helping up to 100 additional families care for their children at home, instead of a hospital.

 

“I am proud that the General Assembly approved my proposal to expand this crucial service for families caring for children with significant disabilities,” Governor Malloy said.  “The Katie Beckett waiver is unique nationally in serving medically fragile children at home when they would otherwise need a hospital bed or institutional care.  In Connecticut, we are ready to increase participation by 50%--to a total of 300 children and young adults.”

 

Named after an Iowa child who left the hospital for home in the early 1980s, the Katie Beckett waiver program serves children and young adults under 22 years of age whose family income would otherwise be too high to qualify for Medicaid.  Because the program has a capped appropriation, there is invariably a waiting list.  Governor Malloy’s initiative adds $1.5 million in fiscal 2015 to begin serving 100 additional children and young adults with severe physical disabilities.

 

“Simply put, the Katie Beckett waiver gives children who would not ordinarily qualify for Medicaid a better chance to live at home with their families and participate in their communities, instead of living in hospitals and institutions,” the Governor said.

 

The additional funding will grow to $3 million when fully annualized, with half paid by the federal government.

 

“The young people served by this waiver program are eligible to utilize home health services under the Medicaid state plan, like all other Medicaid recipients,” said Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby.  “They also have access to all of the other same services under the Medicaid state plan, as all recipients do.  In most cases, these services are provided at no additional cost to the families. In addition to Medicaid, the families also receive case management that helps enhance the Medicaid package of services.  This is especially important in navigating the health care services needed to support children in the community.”

 

The Katie Beckett waiver is also essential for families that have exhausted their private insurance options for covering these types of services or that never had them available in the first place.

 

Barbara Scully, RN, is a nurse consultant who works on the program at DSS.  “I speak on a daily basis to parents of children on the Katie Beckett Waiver,” Ms. Scully said.  “Over and over, I hear how vast and sometimes overwhelming their children’s health care needs are and how much having Medicaid through the Katie Beckett Waiver means to these families.  These parents love their children, as all parents do, and want them home to enjoy being a part of the family.  I know I speak for all staff involved in this program to say that it’s an honor to assist families of children with disabilities in accessing Medicaid that allows their children to receive needed services and remain in the household.”

 

DSS staff have begun the process of contacting families on the waiting list to advise them of the next steps toward qualifying for the Katie Beckett waiver program.

 

STATE NEWS IN THE IDD COMMUNITY

 

 

GOV. MALLOY ORGANIZES GROUP TO IMPROVE SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH INTELLECTUAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES

 

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he is creating a working group to examine and improve the provision of services to members of the intellectual and developmental disabilities community. The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Service Improvement Working Group will examine gaps in existing IDD services, and identify best practices and opportunities to improve provision of those services. 

 

“The State of Connecticut has committed significant resources to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and we strive to make the best and most efficient use of both state and federal funds,” said Governor Malloy. “Establishing a working group to examine best practices in the delivery of services will allow us to better partner with individuals and their families to support lifelong planning and to join with others to create and promote meaningful opportunities for our residents to fully participate as valued members of their communities.”

 

The working group will be responsible for submitting a report to the Governor no later than December 15, 2014 that will:

 

  • Identify and highlight best practices relating to delivery of services to the IDD community, as well as best practices in communication with this community and accountability for those services

 

  • Identify challenges in the handling of wait lists for services and housing placements, and make recommendations to reduce the length of time individuals spend on wait lists

 

  • Consider ways for the state to use Medicaid Dollars more flexibly and efficiently to better meet the changing needs of the IDD community

 

  • Consider ways for the state to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities plan and prepare for the transition into adulthood, including but not limited to, transitions related to education, housing, and employment.

 

The Working Group is comprised of 17 individuals as follows:

 

  • Jonathan Slifka, The Governor’s Liaison to the Disability Community, who shall serve as co-chair

  • Terrence Macy, The Commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services, or his designee

  • Terry Edelstein, The Governor’s Nonprofit Liaison

  • Benjamin Barnes, the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or his designee

  • Three individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities:

    • Tom McCann

    • Varian Salters

    • Emily Angeloff

  • Three family members of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities:

    • Tom Fiorentino (Co-Chair)

    • Tesha Imperati

    • Lisa Roland

  • Six representatives of services providers:

    • Leslie Simoes-ARC

    • Julia Wilcox-CT Non-Profits

    • Barry Simon-Oak Hill

    • Morna Murray-CCPA

    • Andrea Barton Reeves-HARC

    • Tracey Walker-Journey Found

  • IDD Community Professional- Deborah Chernoff

 

The first meeting of the Working Group is scheduled for Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 2 p.m. in room 1C of the Legislative Office Building (LOB).

 

For information on the IDD working group, visit: http://governor.ct.gov/idd