The DDD Scoop (2-11-16)

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

The DDD Scoop Newsletter

PUNS Update

Welcome to the latest edition of the DDD Scoop. I am pleased to announce that the Division is planning a PUNS selection in March 2016. We will be providing more details as they become available.

Life Choices

I am also pleased to announce that the Division now has a Life Choices email account: Andrea Medley and Jayma Bernhard will be monitoring this account on a regular basis.

Employee of the Month

Mary Hebert was selected as Employee of the Month for February. Mary works in the Bureau of Community Reimbursement for the Division. Mary was nominated on the basis of her willingness to assist everyone in her Bureau as well as to take on special projects. At all times, she displays professionalism and a cooperative attitude. As the Employee of the Month, Mary received a certificate, a valentine mug with candy and the right to park in the designated parking spot throughout February. Congratulations, Mary.

Mary Hebert, Employee of the Month

A subcommittee of the Division's Employee Appreciation Committee chooses the Employee of the Month after reviewing all submitted nominations. If you would like to nominate someone for March's Employee of the Month, see one of the Committee members to obtain a nomination form. Now that winter is here, that close-in parking space is especially worth having.

Disclosure of Information about Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Earlier this week, the Division issued an Information Bulletin to remind our Independent Service Coordination (ISC) agencies of the Federal Medicaid regulations requirement to disclose information to individuals with developmental disabilities seeking residential services, of their right to receive services in an Intermediate Care Facility (ICF/DD) for Persons with Developmental Disabilities. When seeking ICF/DD services, an individual need not be enrolled on the State's waiting list (unless he or she is also considering community-based services), nor will they need to wait to be selected for ICF/DD services.

While I was happy to hear from several of our ISC agencies that this is part of their regular practice, the Division finds it helpful to issue reminders like these once in a while.

Chili Cook Off Results

The Division held its annual Chili Cook Off on February 4. Eight division employees submitted entries for judging, and all of them were delicious. After two hours of sampling and judging, the winners were: Third Place- John VanWinkle; Second Place - Sherry Hinds; and First Place was won (for the third consecutive year) by Paul Morell. Congratulations to Paul and thanks to everyone who made this event such a success!!!!

On the Move

Jennifer Elders, currently a Social Program Planner III in the Bureau of Community and Clinical Services, has agreed to serve as the Division's capacity building subject matter expert.

For some time, the Division has been exploring ways of expanding capacity in our service models to meet current and future needs. The terms "capacity building" and "community capacity building" are concepts that many organizations utilize in the development and enhancement of systems to address the desires of their respective consumers. Importantly, an overarching goal for DDD this year is building capacity to increase independence. DDD's capacity building efforts are intended to promote person centered planning and to develop strategies to address individuals' habilitative and health service needs, create more employment opportunities, and eliminate barriers to community inclusion, to name a few. We have determined that our capacity building objectives can best be accomplished through the assignment of staff dedicated to this effort.

Jennifer joined the Division in 2013 and has assisted in compliance with the Ligas Consent Decree. Her prior experience includes working for community developmental disability providers and Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

Training News

Please reference the DDD Provider Training Events listed under Course Descriptions and Curricula and Training Events Calendar link and to register for classes through June 2016. Also, still available are various recorded GoToWebinars and Computer-Based Learning (CBL) modules for viewing and obtaining continuing education credits (CEs). Keep watching for more training events to come. If you have questions or need assistance, please email

The Illinois Crisis Prevention Network is offering a two part training opportunity on March 11, 2016 in Springfield. The morning session will be on "Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT): How to incorporate ACT into the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities" followed by an afternoon session on "Validation & Active Listening." For more information or to register online, go to the Network's website at

SODC Operations News

  • Choate Center - Cedar Building held its monthly party last week. Cookies and punch were enjoyed.Residents who completed the first cycle of the Skills System Training received t-shirts for their accomplishment.
  • Fox Center - Andrea Reed was chosen as the December, 2015, winner of the Above and Beyond (ABC) award. She was nominated for taking on a temporary assignment as a Mental Health Administrator and her willingness to learn and do what it takes to get the job done.Brandon Bell and Kathy Watchinski received Employee of the Month for February based on perfect attendance for a previous month. They receive premium parking spaces during February.
  • Ludeman Center - Black History Month is being celebrated with a series of events including an essay contest and a "History Makers" lunch time video series.
  • Mabley Center - Dixon Fire Department attended a recent Residential Council Meeting to review fire safety and severe weather. The highlight of the meeting was looking at the fire engine and learning about all its functions. Residents looked at the Jaws of Life, several power tools, axes and retractable siren, and they were able to hear the siren.
  • Shapiro Center - Volunteers from the Tri-Parish Knights of Columbus presented the Shapiro Center with a donation from proceeds raised from their Tootsie Roll fundraiser. These funds will be used toward activities for the residents.

Arc's Leadership Conference

Finally, I am happy to report that I attended the Arc's Leadership conference on Thursday, February 4, 2016. I'm sure you will agree that Tony Paulauski and his talented staff do an extraordinary job of putting these conferences together. They are truly top-notch events that consistently offer a wealth of useful information. I always leave the Arc conferences feeling energized and with new ideas on things I need to do more of, less of, and continue to do in order to advance strategic objectives. As we look to the future, it is apparent that we are facing unprecedented challenges. Systems change will require the continued support of motivated stakeholders and a strong leadership team.

In his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell stresses the importance of developing leaders to achieve meaningful results. According to Maxwell, in order for an organization to reach its full potential, it needs to develop leaders, "because for every leader developed, the organization also receives the value of all of that leader's followers".

As I said during my presentation at the conference, although the challenges ahead of us are daunting, I remain undaunted, in large measure, because of the leadership that comprises our internal and external stakeholder groups.

I look forward to the future knowing that we have the support of so many dedicated people and leaders who possess the requisite skills and understanding to help us navigate through the rough waters ahead.

Thank you for you continued support in making a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.

Please enjoy the upcoming holidays!