Clark County agency seeks community input after cuts, changes

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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The Developmental Disabilities of Clark County is set to hold two meetings Tuesday.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A Clark County agency that has downsized following recent cuts and levy failures is now trying to determine how to move forward over the next few years.

Developmental Disabilities of Clark County will host two strategic planning community forums to get input from residents about what direction and areas of service it should provide in the future.

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The meetings will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the administrative conference room on the F.F. Mueller Center campus, 2527 Kenton St., and from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Merle Kearns Community Room at the Town and Country building, 2430 Van Buren Ave.

The strategic planning meetings are required by law. Developmental Disabilities of Clark County serves about 1,100 residents. The board has a $20.7 million budget, including 150 full-time and 14 part-time employees. The organization also supports more than 1,000 private sector jobs in Clark County.

The agency must now start working with private businesses to make sure people with disabilities in Clark County are getting the best possible service, Superintendent Jennifer Rousculp-Miller said.

“We continue to change in our organizational structure,” she said. “We are shifting from service provider to … monitoring services provided by private organizations.

“We still have to monitor for health and safety and quality,” Rousculp-Miller said.

The shift is due in part to changes in state funding for developmental disabilities. Local funding for Developmental Disabilities of Clark County has also shrunk after two levy requests failed on the ballot in recent years.

The agency wants to be able to support the private providers, and one step in doing so is by making sure they have qualified applicants to hire for important positions that serve those with disabilities.

“We are having significant challenges across Clark County in obtaining quality direct support staff,” she said. “How can we help them build a quality system?”

She also said the agency will continue to work hard to help those with disabilities find employment.

“Our job is to help families and people with developmental disabilities be a part of their community and a have a life that doesn’t rely solely on tax dollars,” she said. “The only way we can do that is to engage and educate our community on that need.”

Rousculp-Miller said she believes the meetings are important to the success of the agency.

“It is important because we are moving away from a segregated service system to one that relies on partnerships and relationship with the business community, with non-profits and volunteer organizations,” she said.

“I am excited for the next four years,” Rousculp-Miller said. “I think we are incorporating high quality measures, we are focusing on helping individuals get jobs in the community and I think you will see some amazing things happen for people with disabilities in the next four years.”