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Directors Travels

picture of Tony Anderson, executive director of Valley Mountain Regional Center.

Monday November 18, 2019
We’ll be meeting with the leadership of the Coalition of Local Area Service Providers (CLASP) chaired by President Corrine Seaton. The group will review any feedback from local providers and develop the agenda for next week.

I’ll be meeting with Doug Bonnet, to plan out the goals and activities of the week, and provide supervision and support.

Tuesday November 19, 2019
The Senior Leadership (Directors and Assistant Directors) will be meeting to discuss and/or make decisions on matters that impact Valley Mountain Regional Center. This meeting will include status updates from Cindy Strawderman on any HIPAA developments and issues concerning her administrative support staff. Angie Shear will be reporting on case management projects.

I’ll be meeting with the professors from Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence who are helping our team to put in place systems so assist us in becoming a Culturally and Linguistically Competent organization.

Cindy Mix, Director of Consumer Services, will be meeting with the case management program managers and others to provide supervision and organizational updates.

I’ll be meeting with the organizing team for the Mental Health Services Act grant project to begin the planning process for the upcoming last conference on this grant.

We’ll be meeting with the leadership of the Self-Advocacy Council 6 (SAC6) chaired by president Jessica Quesada. We’ll be reviewing the contract between VMRC and SAC6 which is our method for meeting the regional center obligation to fund self-advocacy support.

Wednesday November 20, 2019
I’ll be attending a check-in meeting Wilma Murray and Enos Edmerson (Employment Specialist) and regional school and rehabilitation representatives to review the Local Planning Agreement to increase employment of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

I’ll be participating in one hour supervision meetings all day with Christine Couch (Compliance Manager), Claire Lazaro (Clinical Director), Claudia Reed (Chief Financial Officer), Cindy Mix (Director of Consumer Services), Bud Mullanix (Director of Human Resource). Following these meetings Doug Bonnet and I will be meeting with President Margaret Heinz to discuss board meeting preparations and other board related issues and then Margaret and I will have our monthly supervision/check-in meeting.

Justin Schrontenboer, PsyD., will be attending the San Joaquin Behavioral Health board meeting in Stockton.

Thursday November 20, 2019
I’ll be attending the Regional Centers Director’s meeting to review a variety of state mandates and program developments.

Cindy Mix will be facilitating a public hearing in the Cohen Board room from 1:30 pm to 3 pm to get public comment on our proposed changes to the VMRC Respite Service Standard Assessment Tool.

The Self-Determination Advisory Committee chaired by Mariella Ramirez. The committee will review the updates on Self-Determination, reports on the recent trainings on Independent Facilitators by Chris Arroyo, and the Self-Determination conference in Los Angeles, and plans for future trainings.

Friday November 22, 2019
Doug Bonnet will be facilitating a planning meeting to prepare for the next all staff meeting scheduled for January 2019.

We’ll be attending the San Joaquin and Stanislaus Behavioral Health Task Force meeting in Manteca from 1-3 pm. The task force is working on efforts to create joint behavioral health services regionally.

We’ll be facilitating a meeting of the Core Change Management Team focused on efforts in becoming a Culturally and Linguistically Competent organization.

The Week That Was…
Last week we attended the annual National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disability Services (NASDDDS) in Washington DC. Thursday was focused on the Home and Community Based Settings, the Updates on Electronic Visit Verification (EVV), ADA and Olmstead Decision actions by the Department of Justice. Friday there was an emphasis on how states are using technology more in serving people with developmental disabilities to meet their needs.

We then went to Los Angeles for the Self-Determination conference on Saturday. I spoke at the conference on How Self-Determination Impacts Employment of people with developmental disabilities. Below are my talking points (with help from Liz Diaz and Enos Edmerson):

How will things change and what is the regional center doing to prepare? 

Employment: A Job or a Career
First when we’re talking employment it’s really important to know if we’re talking about career or job. Sometimes we might be in a place where we just want a job that we’ll enjoy hopefully but most importantly we just want to make money. We’ll get other fulfillment doing other things. If we’re talking about a career or at least work that leads to other work you want to do then the approach is going to be different.

How does everyone else get a job
Like every other topic area where service is funded and provided by our system we always ask ourselves how that need is met by people who don’t have developmental disabilities. Since employment is such a long standing short coming, sometimes caused by the IDD service system, families, the community and the schools, it’s one of those areas where looking out of the box is really important and useful.

The Self-Determination model offers a few advantages regarding employment over the traditional system and other enhancements to our current array of services for achieving employment.  

Casual Relationships – “Tipping Point?” First I think it’s important to remember that it is estimated that about 80% of people are in their jobs because of a relationship to another person working at that company. It’s not even close relations but rather through the casual relationships we all develop by being of our communities.

Some of the employment challenges come from the fact that people with IDD can often be living isolated lives where developing causal relationships becomes extremely difficult and rare.

Discovery
In the job development process there is a phase called discovery where the professional helps you assess your interests and skills base but most importantly this “employment Support” can complete an assessment of the person’s network including the network of the their network and a purposeful analysis of casual relationships. There’s a new method called edu that has had some promising results reported by a few California providers.

Your Network
Having someone they know who works for/with the particular company provide a recommendation is one of the most powerful tools we all have. Self-Directing a developer to pay attention to this will go a long way.

Others in the job market today sometimes utilize professional hiring companies such as Staffing Agencies. These agencies assist with Resume, Interview Prep, and they can even Negotiate Salary. This is not someone experienced necessarily in working with people with disabilities but they are skilled in finding all people jobs.

Recommend CAMEO – CA Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity as a resource on microenterprise as well as Dale Dutton and the presentation on DDS’s website on microenterprises. 

Current Disability Specific Resources
Our community providers are constantly working to build relationships with the local business community. They are in it for the long game. Our most effective approach is the development of relationships and trust between our network of job developers and coaches and the employers in our community. Always remember we might refer to them as “Employers” but they refer to themselves as retailers, restauranteurs, etc. They don’t promote what they do by saying they employ people they say something like we sell the highest quality furniture so you can live a comfortable life. Find out their needs and how you can help them meet those needs.

Control of Rates
Another thought I had this week while in meeting with state directors was that some states had expressed an interest in creating a rate for job coaches that would financially incentivize the coach to really fade out once the job placement was stabilizing.

Over staying can actually make the company and the person served too dependent on the coach but professionally the fading can be more beneficial to the person’s success. Since SDP allows the participant to establish their own rates some might want to make an agreement to pay for enhanced hours up front at a lower rate and faded hours during transition at a higher rate. This could be a way of ensuring successful job placement.

Also don’t forget technology.
There are several inexpensive devices and APPs out there that could be used as an accommodation for the workplace or even an assistance to get to work. When thinking of assistive technology people often are short sighted and think of only the disability focused devices created by AT professionals sometimes everyday inexpensive technology can be used to read, translate, navigate, count, safety, banking and bill paying, etc etc. 

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