Croley Clinic Improves Lives

It is an unfortunate fact than many people with intellectual disabilities exhibit behaviors that interfere with their ability to work and engage in the larger community.

The lack of verbal and cognitive abilities makes it very difficult for some people to understand and manage their own emotions and behaviors. This need has been recognized by the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services, which has created service categories known as behavioral and psychological supports. Using specially trained and certified Behavioral and Psychological Support Specialists, negative behaviors are replaced by encouraging positive ones.

However, it is also frequently the case that such interventions alone are inadequate and must be supplemented through the prescription of psychotropic medications by physicians. In most instances the physician and the person with an intellectual disability meet alone and without the presence of the Behavioral and Psychological Support Specialists, making coordination lacking or nonexistent.

In response, Life Works has contracted with Dr. Steven Croley to provide psychiatric consultation including the prescription of medications in sessions that include the client, Behavior and Psychological Support Specialist, as well as other care givers as needed.

This unique and much needed approach is most popular and has greatly improved the effectiveness of behavioral and psychological supports and medication management.

Self-Advocates for Freedom

Adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities too frequently must contend with societal attitudes that do not regard them as adults or persons capable of making decisions that directly impact their quality of life.  Self-Advocates for Freedom is run for and by people with disabilities, committed to working in partnership to promote equal rights, inclusion, self-advocacy, support and education in all realms of life.

The Bluegrass Chapter of Self-Advocates for Freedom now meets monthly at 1084 Whipple Court. For additional information, contact Anna Kolokotsas 859-253-2658 ext. 225.

Community Partners Luncheon Celebrates Human Services Organizations

In March 2017, Employment Solutions and an audience of over 100 human services workers from throughout the region, along with parents, employers and persons served by Employment Solutions met in the conference center of the Fayette County Extension Office to celebrate our mutual successes.

Lt. Gov. Hampton Delivers Commencement Address

Employment Solutions was honored to have Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton as commencement speaker at the July 22nd graduation ceremony of the College for Technical Education.

In her remarks, the lieutenant governor reminded students how, as in her own experience, life is likely to take you into unexpected directions.

She also strongly encouraged everyone to be lifelong learners. The enthusiastic audience of over 400 friends and family members cheered as 40 graduates walked across the stage at Imani Baptist Church in Lexington to accept their certificates.

Graduations are held by CTE on a semi-annual basis.

Campus Kids Provides Hands-On Education

Although there are several post-secondary schools that offer programs in early childhood education in our area, only one provides its students with the opportunity to interact with children and develop lesson plans and other programing in an actual day care setting.

That special place is the Early Childhood program offered by the College for Technical Education. By working with children in an actual day care setting throughout the nine-month program, students are qualified to sit for the CDA exam and also prepared to assume the responsibilities of the child care professional upon graduation.

Sunnyside’s New Home

In October 2016 the Sunnyside program relocated from 90 Southport to its new home at 3600 Appian Way.

Sunnyside provides adult day services for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities who prefer a more serene setting from the more active atmosphere that characterizes our adult day services at Whipple Court.

The new Sunnyside facility is larger, allowing us to increase our capacity from 40 to 55 people, thereby eliminating a waiting list.

The new location is nestled within a residential neighborhood. This community setting further enables Sunnyside’s participants to engage with people without disabilities. This has a positive benefit for all involved, and allows Sunnyside to conform better to new federal mandates requiring that those who are served with Medicaid assistance have access to the larger community.

Bluegrass Career Services – Top Job Placement Producer

Employment Solutions’ Bluegrass Career Services (BCS) is among over 50 other community rehabilitation programs that receives referrals from the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR).

For the past two consecutive reported years, BCS has topped all other OVR organizations in the attainment of successful job placements for people with disabilities.

The team of employment consultants at BCS work diligently to assess the desires and capabilities of its OVR referrals. Bluegrass Career Services consultants also use their extensive network of employers to find just the right match between individual jobs and workers.

In addition to OVR referrals, BCS also job places the students of the College for Technical Education. Using the same personalized techniques, BCS attained an overall job placement rate of 95% for the graduates of CTE.

During FY 2015-2016 BCS attained a combined total of 198 successful job placements, an all-time high.

Record Sales for Q-Box

Thanks to our ongoing relationship with Veritiv Corporation, a national corrugated packaging manufacturer with production facilities throughout the United States, Q-Box enjoyed a banner year. During FY 2015-2016, Q-Box racked up sales of $762, 287. The $1 million mark may be in reach in FY 2016-2017.

Utilizing the federal special minimum wage, Q-Box employs people with significant intellectual and other developmental disabilities to produce corrugated boxes and packaging materials. They also perform simple assembly operations for local manufacturers and businesses. During FY 2015-2016 Q-Box paid over $140,000 in wages to people with severe disabilities, which served to supplement their Supplemental Security Income (SSI), while also saving tax dollars.

Residential Services Skyrocket

Arguably the most significant development for Employment Solutions during FY 2015-2016 was the launch of Family Home Provider (FHP) residential services by our Life Works division. Through the auspices of Kentucky’s Medicaid Supports for Community Living (SCL) program for people with intellectual disabilities, FHP’s program consist of independent contractors who are carefully matched with SCL participants who provide care within their own homes. One of the primary advantages of the FHP model is that it allows people with intellectual disabilities to be incorporated into the regular activities and rhythms of life of a typical household.

While the goal of this initial year of operation was to serve 10 people, by the conclusion of FY 2015-2016 Life Works was already providing FHP services to 22 SCL participants. So strong is the demand for FHP services, Life Works projects serving a minimum of 35 SCL participants by the conclusion of FY 2016.

Fresh Approach Upgrades Lead To Expanded Capacity

During FY 2015-2016, Fresh Approach invested in several key improvements to its facility, including the expansion of client work.

We also made significant upgrades to the floors, walls and lighting of the refrigerated production room that contains a variety of power processing and packaging equipment.

Utilizing the federal special minimum wage, Fresh Approach employs people with significant intellectual and other developmental disabilities to clean, peel, dice and package fresh vegetable and fruit products, which are then sold to restaurants and food distributors.

During FY 2015-2016 Fresh Approach paid over $68,000 in wages to people with severe disabilities, and these wages served to supplement their Supplemental Security Income (SSI), while also saving tax dollars.

The expanded capabilities will enable Fresh Approach to hire more people with disabilities and pay them more wages.