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CFS's Reaching Out Together Reaches Goal!

Last summer, the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council provided funding for CFS to help increase the number of service providers for people with developmental disabilities in the Tampa Bay area.

Under section 1915 (c) of the Social Security Act, Federal regulations permit medicaid home and community based service waiver programs to serve the elderly, persons with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, mental retardation or mental illness. States are afforded the flexibility to develop community-based treatment alternatives such as case management, homemaker/home health aide services, personal care services, adult day health, habilitation, and respite care at costs no higher than that of institutional care. This allows individuals to preserve their independence and ties to family and friends. With the new waiver regulations in effect, the number of persons served has doubled, and has greatly increased the need for additional service providers.

Under the direction of Dave Guido, Lise Fox, Georgia Pappas, and project coordinator Charmagne Thometz, the Reaching Out Together program has completed the first schedule of trainings for students enrolled in human services classes within local high schools and community colleges. Of the 100 that attended, 29 continued to the second level of training, which consisted of a two-day workshop providing more detailed information regarding the job duties. Students were asked to apply what was learned with activities, and were given a case study to help them develop a vision as a service provider. "There was definitely a difference in the vision from the time they started the training to the time they ended," said Dave Guido. "To see the enthusiasm of the students, and their visions from the case studies, shows they have the potential to be very good providers." Employment assistance activities are now being provided for the students who are ready for their first paraprofessional jobs as individual providers.

A second training series will soon begin, and will be conducted at many of the same schools and colleges. With the potential of 50 new providers by the end of the second training, Reaching Out Together is successfully "reaching" it's goal! For additional information, contact Dave Guido at 974-3738 or Charmagne Thometz at 974-0992.

CARD is located within the Department of Child and Family Studies, a division of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida. Since its inception in 1984, the Institute's mission has been to improve service delivery systems for children with serious emotional or behavioral disabilities and their families.

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