Self advocates invited back to Washington

Seneca County Board of Developmental Disabilities met Tuesday afternoon at the Opportunity Center. Superintendent Lew Hurst said several self advocates have been invited for a second visit to make presentations during the ACCSES Conference July 22-25 in Washington, D.C. Having caught the attention of U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, during their presentations last year, Consumer Advocacy and Supports Director Marta Mohr is preparing individuals for a return visit to share their experiences.

Jordan represents Ohio’s 4th Congressional District, that includes Seneca County.

Not all self advocates will be chosen to participate in person but those remaining at home are to have videos made to be shared at the conference.

Also, it was announced that as of 2024, the Opportunity Center no longer may provide adult services through the sheltered workshops. The Fair Labor Standards Act made provision through a 14c certificate allowing county boards to set a special rate for wages for individuals. A new federally mandated transition to eliminate the workshops and move individuals into community inclusion employment where they may have the opportunity to earn a higher wage is in process. The center will need to refer clients to private providers for services. Concern for those not able to make the transition is apparent.

Hurst said families have asked the Opportunity Center’s opinion of the wind turbines being discussed. Some have children who could be affected by the shadow flicker. He said they have no position on the situation and directed families to contact Seneca County Board of Commissioners.

Hurst presented a PowerPoint program on the waivers available and services of Seneca County and the surrounding counties for comparison in preparation of the board’s strategic planning and budgeting for services. More money is being spent on individuals in community employment if they have someone assisting them with the transition from sheltered workshop employment. It may reduce funds for adult day services.

Hurst also announced the board’s annual retreat Aug. 8 at the Opportunity Center where members plan to view webinars. The annual in-service training is to include supportive technology, Ohio’s Home and Community Based Services waiver waiting list, key statewide data and the data warehouse and cash flow projection tools.

Hurst commented on a recent article in The Columbus Dispatch about the crisis of finding direct support professionals. He said it is difficult to find staffing, but they always are looking at ways to solve the problem. He shared how remote monitoring is being utilized.

In other action, board members:

• Accepted the financial report.

• Resolved to appropriate an additional $151,200 due to increased expenditures.

• Approved the 2019 tax budget.

• Approved setting substitute wage rates.

The 169 board is to meet at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Family Learning Center.