Why a Consortium?

Our goal is and remains to utilize the best available professionals in the field to assist us with rebalancing our system. Given the diverse needs of the individuals we serve, we wanted to be able to secure the most talented specialists from across the state and nation. Contracting with Community Resource Associates (CRA) allows the state to access those professionals when we need them. CRA in partnership with the state, have identified and engaged both national and state professionals who bring a broad level of expertise and experience to the ACCT Process.

CRA team consultants have worked on closure activities in the states of Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, California, and Florida. Because CRA uses a "consultant consortium" approach, we are able to add members of our team with specific areas of expertise, as they are needed to get the job done. We literally have access to consultants in almost every state in the country who can be brought to assist us in Illinois to implement the requirements of the ACCT/CRA contract.

Who is Community Resource Associates (CRA)?

CRA is a small independent firm based in St. Louis, Missouri. In Illinois, CRA is the coordinating organization that manages the consortium of national and state professionals that implement a share of the ACCT Process.

CRA's President, Derrick Dufresne is now entering his 40th year of providing supports, consultation, training, and technical assistance throughout the United States. Since its inception in 1982, Derrick has provided training and consultation to more than 60,000 people in 49 states. He was awarded the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities' Community Inclusion award for "unwavering service to improve the lives of people with Disabilities". He is currently on the faculty of the National Leadership Institute on Developmental Disabilities at the University of Delaware.

Derrick has been providing training, consultation and support in the State of Illinois since 1981. He served as the President and CEO of the Illinois Institute on Public Policy from 2003- 2008. Throughout the course of his service he has provided training consultation and support to over 50 agencies that provide services and supports to people with disabilities in the state of Illinois. Today, Derrick serves as the Administrative Director of CRA's responsibilities under the ACCT Process.

Derrick has maintained a long professional affiliation with Dr. Mike Mayer of Community Resource Alliance, based in North Carolina. Prior to his involvement with CRA Mike served as the Executive Director of the Institute on Complex Disabilities for 12 years. Mike is recognized as an exceptional clinician, advocate, consultant, and trainer. He has worked internationally with over 500 organizations and training over 75,000 people.

Mike has been directly responsible for overseeing the development or management of community services for thousands of people who have disabilities, specializing in individuals often termed "too difficult to serve in the community".

Mike is a recognized national leader in the design and delivery of services for people who have dual intellectual and mental/behavioral health care needs, including crisis prevention and support services. He has authored and edited over 50 publications including books, chapters, and articles and is a noted developer of numerous training programs, assessment tools, and protocols used throughout the world.

Mike has served on the faculty of numerous colleges, universities, institutes, international forums, and boards of directors, and is on the faculty with the National Leadership Institute on Developmental Disabilities at the University of Delaware.

Mike's leadership, innovations, and products have resulted in recognition from numerous rights, advocacy, public policy, and professional associations.

When CRA was awarded the Illinois contract Derrick asked Mike to head up the clinical and support part of the effort. This involved recruiting consultants would provide person centered planning and assessments to individuals who are part of the ACCT Process.

Because of Mike's extensive contacts from his years at the Institute on Complex Disabilities and other associations, CRA was successful in recruiting a team of consultants that provide both Person Centered Plans and comprehensive, independent, individualized assessments across 15 domains of an individual's life.

The team now includes over 20 professionals and multiple agencies that provide specific, focused, and outcome based assessments, plans, training, and consultation as part of CRA's contract with the state. These consultants are considered by their peers to be "among the very best" and have come from several states, including Illinois.

The credentials of the individual professionals and agencies are both impressive, and in many ways unique, in the experience they bring to the movement of individuals from large facilities, such as SODCs, to the community.

Some of the primary consultants currently involved include, but are not limited to:

  • Susan Barnhart, RN, MA, MS, is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator and RN in Illinois. She also operates the CILA that her son resides in. She is the Budget Specialist and provides assessment of individuals transitioning out of SODCs to determine their financial supports cost. She also prepares budgets for those individuals to be submitted to the State for approval. However, Susan also provides major support to assure the health and safety of individuals who have special considerations, in addition to overseeing the Risk Monitoring assessment process. (Illinois)
  • Connie Sue Brown, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA), is Executive Director of Karried Away, a non-profit organization promoting positive images of people with disabilities and gainful employment for them. She is the team's Vocational Specialist and the mother of a child with disabilities. She completes assessments in the areas of vocational, residential living needs, leisure and social activities, and activities of daily living and provides recommendations for appropriate interventions and activities. (Illinois)
  • Nancy Brown and the affiliated consultants of Butterflies for Change provide Person Centered Plans for the individuals and assist with the post-transition follow along supports as required. (Illinois)
  • Steve Cecchin is an independent housing investor and developer who serves as the team's Housing Specialist working with providers to supply housing for residents based on their unique needs and the geographic preferences of the family and/or guardian. He physically reviews the potential homes and apartments to determine suitability. (Illinois)
  • Steven M. Eidelman, MBA, MSW, Senior Policy Consultant. Steven is the H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Human Services Policy and Leadership at the University of Delaware, in addition to his joint faculty appointments in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy and the Department of Individual and Family Studies. Former Executive Director of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. He also served as the Executive Director of The Arc of the United States, an advocacy group for people with cognitive disabilities and their families, with more than 900 state and local chapters and 100,000 members. Steven formerly served as the Deputy Secretary for Mental Retardation in the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. (Maryland)
  • Joe'L Farrar, Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, ASHA Certified, ABA (in process). Joe'L serves as the lead Communication and Positive Behavioral Specialist. She completes assessments regarding positive behavioral needs, community risk, and behavioral support plan needs. Joe'L provides recommendations and initial behavior support plan. She also conducts communication assessments and makes recommendations to produce needed support. (Illinois)
  • Sue Gabriel, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Certification by American Nurses Credentialing Center. Sue is a recognized leader in the field of mental healthcare for individuals who have developmental disabilities. She has written several books and is frequently called upon for her expert opinion. She is in high demand as a speaker at conferences and training sessions. Sue serves as CRA's Assistant Clinical Director with the primary responsibility for reviewing all of the assessments completed for quality in addition to conducting comprehensive health care and psychiatric reviews and evaluating the need for OT/PT/sensory/dental/behavioral/psychiatric supports and/or additional assessments. She also develops the initial summary of needs and provides guidance to other members of the assessment team. (Michigan)
  • Noelle C. Humphrey, Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, ASHA Certified. Noelle provides assessment and consultation support related to speech, language and swallowing skills. She also is the primary Provider Liaison assisting in communication between ACCT and provider agencies, including participating in provider meetings, setting up visits for providers with individuals to be transitioned, corresponding with SODC staff and PAS agents regarding guardian consent and addressing providers' questions and concerns. (Missouri)
  • Jackie Jaques, BSW. Jackie comes with the real world experience of having been a provider of services for people who have significant behavioral challenges and also having served as the Executive Director of an agency that addressed those issues. This knowledge base assists her, and the team, greatly in her role as Transition Coordinator, facilitating the process to assure that the providers are "really ready" to assume the responsibilities of providing the needed supports to a person transitioning from an SODC to the community. (Illinois)
  • Chris Johnson has a BS in Education. She has worked with people with intellectual and physical disabilities for over 30 years, with the last 25 years being focused in community agencies. Her career started at Wm. W. Fox Developmental Center working as a Mental Health Technician. Later on, she assumed several different roles within community agencies. These roles included: H/IP Home Manager, Program Coordinator, QIDP, Associate Director, and Executive Director. In addition, she was a foster parent to four children with intellectual and physical disabilities over 14 years. She serves as a Transition Specialist for CRA. In this role, she provides training for prospective ACCT providers. She also does follow along, technical assistance and consultation to ACCT providers, once individuals have transitioned to the Community. (Illinois)
  • Tracy Kroeger, PhD, Neuro-Developmental and Forensic Psychologist (IL Licensed). Tracy has a very rare skill set and is highly valued for her abilities to evaluate the needs of individuals requiring advanced attention and completion of positive behavior support plans for adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities, especially for those with significant psychological needs and/or that require sexual behavior risk assessments. (Minnesota)
  • Joan Martin, BA. Joan has operated a CILA, has children with disabilities, has worked tirelessly as an advocate for effective, quality services in Illinois, and because of her broad skill set Joan fills many roles as the situation demands but her primary responsibilities are associated with completing the Risk Monitoring Inventory assessment, completing budget support plan narratives, interagency collaboration with UIC, and the occasional Person Centered Plan. (Illinois)
  • Laura Paradowski, Occupational Therapist. Laura is known for her ability to provide assessment of all OT areas including self-care skills, sensory processing needs, physical mobility needs, adaptive equipment needs, motor skills, and overall independent functioning of the individuals she assesses. She also develops strategies to increase the individual's overall quality of life and functional skills in these areas. (Illinois)
  • Rod Patterson, MA. As a person who has worked at virtually every possible job there is in supporting people who have developmental disabilities, including as an administrator at both SODCs and community providers, Rod has a unique understanding of the needs of the "system" to function correctly to help assure that the individual is successful in their transition to the community. Rod serves in many roles to make this possible but is identified as the Transition Team Leader for ACCT. (Illinois)
  • Jill Randall, RN. Jill comes to us with a wealth of experience in psychiatric nursing and the mother of a son with significant developmental disabilities. She serves as a Health Needs Specialist on the team conducting comprehensive reviews of records for needs and provides summaries of nursing, health care, and psychiatric needs and determines if further assessments are required, including OT/PT/Sensory/Dental/Behavioral and related supports. (Missouri)
  • Patty Scott and Dave Hasbury and the affiliated consultants of Neighbours International lead our Person Centered Planning efforts. Patty and Dave are internationally known and respected for their innovative approaches to real person centered planning. (New Jersey)
  • Nancy R. Weiss, MSW, Management Services Specialist. Nancy has over thirty years of experience in the field and is an internationally recognized expert in services and systems for people who have developmental disabilities. She serves as Co-Director of the National Leadership Institute at the University of Delaware and was formerly the Executive Director of TASH, an international advocacy association committed to full inclusion for people with disabilities. Nancy also served as adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University and as Director of Community Services for the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. Former Executive Director of Community Systems, Inc., providing progressive supports for adults with disabilities in Delaware. Nancy has written and spoken extensively on person-centered, ethical, and humane supports. (Pennsylvania)

We estimate that combined experience among the primary CRA consultants involved in the ACCT Process in excess of 400 years!

In addition, both Mike and Derrick have siblings with disabilities, and eight of our other primary consultants are parents of people with disabilities themselves.

This is more than just a professional interest that has drawn this talented team together. These 20+ individuals that are currently working in Illinois on the ACCT Process possess the background, skill, passion, and focus necessary to achieve the outcomes similar to those that have been realized by others who have successfully transitioned to the community.

Other Consultants previously used by CRA who are available as needed:

Michael Smull- Support Development Associates

Michael Smull has been working with people with disabilities for the past 40 years. He has had extensive experience in nearly all aspects of developing community services and in changing current practice. Michael Smull is the Chair of The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices (TLC-PCP), and a partner in Support Development Associates (SDA). He is the co-developer of essential lifestyle planning and has worked in 47 states, and 5 countries outside the US. He has helped found 3 community agencies, assisted existing agencies to convert from programs to supports, and states, regions, and counties to change their structures to support self determination.

He has helped people leave institutions in the US and the UK. Mr. Smull has written extensively on issues relating to supporting people with challenging behaviors, person centered planning, and the challenge of changing our system to one that will support self-determination.

Mr. Smull works with agencies, regions and states on learning the skills that underlie good person centered practices and making the changes needed within organizations and systems to implement to support people in have self directed lives.

Council on Quality and Leadership

For more than 40 years CQL has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure and improve the quality of life of all people. It's work is both in the US and internationally.

CQL offers Person Centered Planning, consultation, accreditation, training and certification services to organizations and systems that share our vision of dignity, opportunity and community for all people.

CQL assists communities, systems and organizations to help people discover and define their own quality of life, measure personal quality of life for individuals, organizations and systems and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, people with mental illness and older adults and the people, organizations and communities that support them.

CQL develops and implement person-centered quality measures, performance indicators, and evaluation methods

It also conducts an international accreditation program, provides training, consultation and education to build individual and organizational capacity. CQL also conducts research and disseminate information to enhance policy making and provides access to information, innovation, and emerging ideas in quality of life.

Whitney Academy

Whitney Academy is a state of the art, year-round staff secured residential treatment center, based in the Boston area, accredited by the Joint Commission. Whiney Academy is nationally recognized for specializing in the treatment of dually diagnosed (cognitively delayed/psychiatrically disordered) men, who present with a spectrum of sexualized behavior problems.

Founded by and under the direction of George and Sheila Harmon since 1986, Whitney Academy is a unique, year-round residential treatment center. All aspects of life reflect Whitney Academy's care, compassion and respect for its people as individuals.

Whitney's program is highly monitored and staff secure. Their treatment model provides for community safety and state of the art treatment in what is the most "normal and homelike" environment possible. Whitney Acadeny's care and treatment of considers the whole person - each individual's specific needs, his sense of belonging, self-esteem and social skills.

Marsie Frawley- Griffin-Hammis Associates

Griffin-Hammis Associates, LLC is a full service consultancy specializing in developing communities of economic cooperation. Griffin-Hammis Associates (GHA) addresses this mission by providing:

  • High Quality Training and Technical Consultation
  • Project Development and Management Services
  • Inventive Service Delivery

GHA specializes in community rehabilitation improvement, job creation and job site training, employer development, Social Security benefits analysis and work incentives, self-employment feasibility and refinement, management-leadership mentoring, and civic entrepreneurship. GHA's customers include business, community rehabilitation programs, state and local governments, universities, individuals, and others from the public and private sectors.

It's mission is to deliver practical, affordable, online training through high quality content and state of the art training management solutions for organizations and individuals with a focus on providing exceptional customer service.

Vicki Niswander -Illinois Association of Microboards and Cooperatives

Illinois Association of Microboards and Cooperatives is a project of the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities. The project is aimed at helping people live the lives they want to live, with the support of family, friends, community and public resources.

The project offers self-advocates, families and friends the opportunity to create Microboards and Human Service Cooperatives, consumer-governed structures that bring resources, authority and responsibility directly into the hands of the people whose lives are most affected by the way support services are organized.

An individual Microboard is an incorporated non-profit association designed to serve just one person. The person who is supported is a core member of the Board of Directors. Trusted friends and family members fill other positions on the Board of Directors and an extended circle of community members provides critical informal support.

With this support, control of essential resources stays in the hands of the individual person whose life is most directly affected and his or her closest allies.

A formal or informal association of Microboards can be organized to provide a broader network of mutual support and shared resources.

Kathy Carmody- Ray Graham Association

RGA serves nearly 2,000 children and adults with primarily intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families throughout DuPage County and the surrounding area.

They value independence and support, safety and comfort. Ray Graham Association is family. They offer a better life and hope for the future. They also offer employment and training. They provide access to resources, community, recreation, health, wellness and more.

Ray Graham Association is all about empowering people with disabilities. And not everyone is empowered quite the same way.

With a broad array of educational, vocational, community, respite, early intervention, recreational, home-based and residential programs and services, they find just the right way to empower each of the amazing, gifted individuals they serve.

They have been empowering people with disabilities since 1950.

Jennifer Knapp-Consultant -Center for Independent Futures

Jennifer works with families in the Chicago area on creating alternative housing options for people with disabilities, and is funded by the Coleman Foundation. She has provided technical assistance and support to help connect people with disabilities to their communities, utilizing natural supports. For the ACCT project at Jacksonville Developmental Center, she provided the opportunity for people to reconnect with community members. People experienced the everyday rhythm of life.

Jennifer previously worked for Community Choices, which is a cooperative approach to human services and supports. Community Choices brings together individuals with disabilities and their families, empowering them to work together to direct and control the services they need.

Jennifer is also involved in the Self-Advocacy Alliance, which is a network of self-advocacy groups across Illinois. Their goal is to work together to improve disability services in Illinois.