The DDD Scoop (3-16-16)

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

The DDD Scoop Newsletter

Get Involved Against Violence

Welcome to the latest edition of the DDD Scoop. I am pleased to announce that the Division of Developmental Disabilities is actively involved in two federal grants that Illinois Department of Human Services receives to address violence against people with disabilities. Illinois Imagines addresses sexual violence and Envision Illinois addresses domestic violence which in Illinois includes caregivers.

Maureen Haugh-Stover is the Division's representative on both statewide collaborative teams. JoAnn Hiatt of the Division has also been involved in assisting with review of training modules. Several community agencies serve on community collaborative teams across the state. Our work in this area helps us be more responsive and trauma-informed to people we serve who may experience sexual or domestic violence.

If you would like more information or would like to get involved in a local team, please contact Maureen at (217) 782-9692 or or Project Director, Teresa Tudor at (217) 558-6292 or  We appreciate everyone involved in this important program, and we will be sharing more with you about this work in the future. In the meantime, we encourage you to check out the free downloadable resources at

Employment First Federal-State Leadership Mentoring Program

Employment First has become a priority for the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment (ODEP). Over the last several years, ODEP has been working with States on systems change efforts to increase community-based, integrated employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities. Through this work, States are encouraged to align their policies, service delivery systems, and reimbursement structures to encourage the implementation and expansion of integrated and competitive employment services.

In order to help States with this work, ODEP created the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program. This program provides assistance in the alignment of policies, coordination of resources, and updating of service delivery models, all in an effort to facilitate increases in integrated employment statewide for individuals with disabilities.

Illinois applied to the Program and was selected as one of 15 "Core States" for federal fiscal year 2015. In October 2015, Illinois was again selected to be a Core State and will continue receiving technical assistance and training through federal fiscal year 2016 (September 30, 2016). In Illinois' second year of the Program, the focus will be on three areas: (1) Provider Transformation, (2) Capacity Building, and (3) Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS). Through all three initiatives, subject matter experts (SMEs) will work with State agency staff, provider agencies, and direct support professionals to provide technical assistance and training around Employment First.

Provider Transformation (PT): One-on-one work with provider agencies in the development and expansion of employment first philosophy and culture. In Year 1, four service providers (Horizon House, Peru; New Hope, Dolton, UCP Seguin, Cicero, Marklund and Geneva) completed a comprehensive assessment of their agencies' current status relative to change towards a community integrated employment culture and practices. Site visits and meetings with SMEs were also arranged to review Employment First recommendations. Year 1 PT agencies will receive training in Year 2 related to the recommendations from Year 1.

The selected agencies for Year 2 are:

  • Aunt Martha's Youth Service Center - Vermilion County
  • Cornerstone Services - Will and Kankakee Counties
  • Envision Unlimited - Cook County
  • Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois' Logan-Mason Rehabilitation Center
  • Trinity Services, Inc. - Will, Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Madison, Peoria, Jackson and St. Clair Counties

Year 2 PT agencies will participate in a comprehensive assessment of their agencies current status. Site visits and meetings with SMEs will be arranged to review Employment First recommendations. Webinars and trainings provided to Year 1 PT agencies will also be made available to Year 2 PT agencies.

  • Capacity Building: SMEs will work with Division of Rehabilitation Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Division of Mental Health, and other DHS staff as well as Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services staff in April to Map the Employment System for Persons with Disabilities in Illinois, paying attention to intersections, barriers, gaps and opportunities for improvement. We are reinstituting bi-weekly meetings among the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program core leadership group in order to facilitate communication and collaboration. We will be confirming our shared vision of Employment First across the employment service system as well as examining ways that we can enhance what we currently provide, move towards the change needed to realize the Employment First ideal, and comply with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rules and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) mandates.
  • Vision Quest: Year 1 examined Illinois' current rate and reimbursement structures and recommended potential changes in order to incentivize Employment First and expand its use throughout the State. Year 2 SMEs are working with the DDD and the DMH, along with HFS in order to explore the Year 1 recommendations and begin to implement changes.

Centrum Events

A snack day/potluck for St. Patrick's Day will be held on Thursday, March 17, for all staff. There will be tables set up on the 4th floor in the hallway, and power strips will be available for crockpots. While the Irish may not be universally recognized for their culinary expertise, they do know how to have a good time.

The Employee Appreciation Committee is sponsoring a Bake Sale on March 24, 2016, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. All committee members have been asked to provide sale items, but non-committee members are welcome to contribute items as well. Contact Gina Hopson-Harris or Jennifer Elders for more information.

Bureau of Quality Management Web Site News

The Bureau of Quality Management has posted a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on our website. These FAQs have been developed to assist staff and providers to quickly access information on various subjects including: Background Checks, Rights Issues, CPR and First Aid Training, Educational Requirements for Direct Support (DSP) and Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professionals (QIDP), and Medication Administration and Policies and Procedures. You can find the FAQs at .

Countdown to the Move

There are no updates to report this week, but an example of the new cubicles was recently sent out to all employees. If you did not receive it, please contact Bronwyn Rains or Mary Broughton. We do know that work is proceeding and a recent drive past the building space indicated construction was going on at both buildings.

On the Move

As many of you may have heard, Sheila Romano left employment with the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities effective March 15, 2016. Sheila had been the Director of the Council for 17 years, and we greatly appreciate her passion, dedication and advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout her career. It goes without saying that we wish her the best in her future endeavors.

We also regret to announce that Joe Turner has advised the Division of his plans to retire from state service effective April 30, 2016. Throughout his career with our Division, Joe has answered the call when asked to take on additional responsibilities and challenges. Joe joined the Illinois Department of Human Services in April 2004 as Center Director at Fox Developmental Center, and provided invaluable assistance to State Operated Developmental Center (SODC) Operations from the beginning of his tenure.

In 2008, Joe agreed to bring his clinical services knowledge and leadership skills to Howe Developmental Center following efforts by a team of outside consultants to restore Medicaid certification. Despite Joe's efforts, the State later announced its plans to close the Center, and in 2010 Joe was appointed Deputy Director of Clinical Services. He has continued to serve in that role while simultaneously overseeing the Division's Rebalancing Initiative and serving as the Acting Deputy Director of Quality Management for a time. Last spring, Joe took on the role of Deputy Director of Community Services. Joe has distinguished himself as an accomplished and experienced administrator, and he will be sorely missed. We know that you will join us in giving Joe a heartfelt thank you for his dedication toward improving the lives of the individuals we serve.

LaShawnta Milton joined the Division in January as a Social Services Program Planner III in the Bureau of Metropolitan Chicago Networks. LaShawnta serves as a North Suburban Representative. Although belated, we welcome LaShawnta to our organization!

Barbara Johnson recently joined the CILA Rates Unit as a Management Operations Analyst II. She had previously worked for the DHS Office of Business Services as an Executive I. Welcome, Barbara!

Kelly Robbins, Administrative Assistant I in the Bureau of Quality of Management is moving to an Administrative Assistant I position at DHS Management Information Services. Kelly joined the Division of Developmental Disabilities in March 2010. Her last day with the Division was March 15. Good luck to Kelly in her new position!

On April 1, 2016 the Division will be welcoming two new employees. Anne Fitz will be our Statewide Nursing Coordinator, working out of the Centrum Building. Audrey Harris, a Social Services Program Planner III, will be joining the Bureau of Metropolitan Chicago Networks located at the Clinton Street building. We will have more detailed announcements on Anne and Audrey once they're on board.

Psychological Evaluation Update

In our continuing efforts to streamline the Level II Pre-Admission Screening (PAS) process, I'm pleased to announce that the Division will be issuing an Informational Bulletin shortly to announce its plans to recognize psychological evaluations completed by a certified school psychologist with credentials from the National School Psychologist Association. Evaluations completed by a licensed clinical psychologist will continue to be accepted. Additional information on this change will be included in the Informational Bulletin.

Flexible-Innovative Day Services Workgroup Update

The Flexible-Innovative Day Services Workgroup was established in mid-year 2015. Kevin Byrd and Daryl Jackson co-chair the workgroup. Its goal is to seek out flexible day services that currently exist within the provider community and the community at large. To date, the workgroup has visited provider sites to identify flexible day service models, hosted speakers and is currently developing a provider/community survey to identify what flexible day services currently exist.

The Workgroup has two sub-committees. One sub-committee is looking at revisions to the Department's Administrative Rule on Day Programming (Rule 119) that will assist in providing the flexibility needed for some services and programming. The second sub-committee covers Significant Disabilities and is taking an in-depth look at what flexible services are needed to support this population.

The overarching goal of the work group is to submit recommendations for services and programming to the Division by mid-year 2016.

Independent Service Coordination Meeting

On March 3, 2016 the Division met with representatives from our Independent Service Coordination agencies. These meetings provide an opportunity to exchange information and hear first-hand about their concerns and challenges.

GATA Training

Several Division staff attended GATA (Grant and Accountability and Transparency Act) training on March 9. Information on training for our providers is expected to be available in the next couple weeks.

State Operated Developmental Center News

  • Choate Center:Training Center Coordinators willingly adjusted their schedules to avoid incurring overtime in order to provide First Aid classes.The Center has increased its numbers in workshop enrollment and has begun to seek out new workshops in order to provide more options for people we serve.
  • Fox Center:One of the individuals served at Fox Center has been extended an opportunity to participate in a pre-placement visit. If all goes well, the individual will transition to the community.
  • Kiley Center:The Center conducted three Open Forum meetings earlier this month. Staff was invited to discuss their ideas and suggestions for improving the Kiley Center.
  • Ludeman Center:Ludeman is recognizing Women's History Month with a number of events.
  • Mabley Center:Mabley Center was proud to learn that the Center had no discrepancies noted on the recently issued Payroll Discrepancy Report. Given all the rules and regulations for promotions and semi-automatic increases not to mention keeping track of creditable service dates, this is quite an accomplishment. Kudos to Kerri Bresley, Human Resources Director and Ben White, Account Technician/Payroll!
  • Murray Center:On March 3, a Mental Health Technician selection process was held at the Murray Center. Eighteen applicants participated in interviews.
  • Shapiro Center:Individuals from Shapiro Center have participated in the Best Buddies program with students from Olivet University throughout this school year. Best Buddies activities include one-on-one companionship, shopping, eating out at restaurants, and playing games of various sorts at Shapiro's gym and classrooms. The individuals are looking forward to an upcoming Best Buddies event to be held later this month. The Best Buddies program will begin anew in the fall.

On the Road Again

Finally, I'm pleased to announce that on Friday, March 11th, I toured residential and day programs operated by the Pioneer Center. While touring the programs, I was impressed that Interim President and Chief Executive Officer Sam Tenuto took advantage of each and every opportunity to introduce his staff, give them approval, and hear about the contribution each employee makes to the program. I toured a CILA in Crystal Lake with Mary, a Coordinator, and Shay, a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional. The home is beautiful, with large bedrooms and plenty of closet space. The people living there were excited to take me around and to let me know they had their own bedrooms.

While touring the day program, I participated in an open forum where I once again heard what people want the most - competitive employment in integrated settings. As I heard them describe how much they got out of their work experiences, it reaffirmed the importance of competitive, integrated employment. Integrated employment is about more than competitive wages; it's about increasing opportunities for people to develop social networks and to build social capital which can impact their well-being and quality of life. Social connections can also be a source of fulfillment, support, and acceptance, and can even lead to more job opportunities, as studies have shown that most people learn about job openings through word of mouth.

I once read that "Every one of us has connections as part of the dense web of connections that make up our lives. Everywhere hands are open - wide open - to catch us if we fall and to protect us".

Have a great week!