Advocacy is very critical for continuing to provide services for individuals with developmental disabilities in the community. There has been quite a tug of war the last few years over services offered by the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) over the types of “day services” individuals with disabilities need.
Basically we have advocated and the state has adopted a “work first” position for individuals with developmental disabilities in lieu of prevocational (sheltered work) or community access. The law allows for those services once effort has been put forth attempting to find a job for someone and is unsuccessful within 9 months’ time. This time can be extended by case managers if necessary.
Those advocating for pre vocational services argue that this type of service offers a full array of service choices. At a recent Washington State Senate committee hearing Nikki Wegner, Morningside’s VP of Services and Chief Operating Officer testified at the committee in support of integrated work in the community verses sheltered employment. The state DDA is moving forward with eliminating pre vocational services by 2019 which now support approximately 300 individuals. This would allow sufficient time in my opinion to make a conversion to community employment.
Nikki summed up Morningside’s experience well in our closing our sheltered workshop in 2004. Individuals with developmental disabilities can and should work in the community. The communities where we offer services are indeed a better place because of this.
CEO Viewpoint is published by Jim Larson, CEO Morningside
This space is intended to share my thoughts and update the community on issues concerning Morningside and its clients as well sharing inspirational employment stories.
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