Stone County residents have more transportation options through Oats transit starting this month. On top of the usual routes offered, the non-profit transportation corporation is now providing express routes from Stone County to adjoining counties every Tuesday through Thursday. Additionally, in cooperation with the Stone County Developmental Disabilities Board, Oats is providing transportation for individuals with developmental disabilities to day programs, sheltered workshops and community employment.
One of the projects that the Stone County Developmental Disability Board has explored and is committed to bringing to Stone County is Project Lifesaver. The following information was taken directly from the Project Lifesaver website (https://projectlifesaver.org/about-us/) for explanatory purposes.
The Stone County Developmentally Disability (SCDDB) continues to work with the newly hired part-time executive director, LaDella Thomas, to further the progress of the board. Among the tasks that the board has charged to Director Thomas are:
- Serve as liaison with the Department of Mental Health to maximize funding possibilities through the waiver programs.
- Review all current Board policies, procedures, forms, budget, and bylaws
- Develop agenda for each Board meeting and email agenda to Board members and website host
- Provide monthly summary updates at each Board meeting
- Develop working relationships with area non for profit services providers and Link-ability Service Coordinators regarding what services the SCDDB can support and what services are needed
- Develop policies and procedures for employees (personnel manual)
- Work with the Vice Chair in establishing the Project Lifesaver program in Stone County
- Work with the SCDDB committees
- Obtain quarterly updates from all funded agencies regarding utilization and demographic data
- Explore options for community partners to utilize current office space
- Assist Finance committee and SCDDB with preparing annual budget
- Develop process and time frame for obtaining agency funding applications for 2019.
- Research the feasibility of the SCDDB providing services
- What services are most needed?
- What service gaps are the most prevalent?
Update on the Stone County Developmental Disability Board
2018 continues to be an exciting year of “firsts” for the Stone County Developmental Disability Board. The board, formed in 2017, was authorized by the voters of Stone County in 2016 and makes tax monies available for services to Stone County developmentally disabled citizens. The board has established an office for the purpose of board meetings and official business and there is an office phone, 417-272-0444, that can accept phone messages which will be returned promptly. The board has developed and approved funding documents that are linked on the board’s website: www.stoneddboard.com In order to be eligible for board funding, individuals first make contact with the Springfield Regional Office (417-895-7400), to qualify. Once qualified, individuals will then be contacted by LinkAbility (417-334-8985), the case management team for Stone County.
The board has recently hired LaDella Thomas as its first part-time executive director. LaDella and her husband Frank, with their two boys, moved to the area in 2006 from southern California. Since 2014, LaDella has served as the Director of Marketing and Resource Development for Developmental Connections, the Taney County Board for the Developmentally Disabled. In her role, she provided leadership for all marketing and fundraising programs to benefit people with developmental disabilities in Taney County. In 2016, LaDella joined the Committee for the Stone County Board of the Developmentally Disabled to lend her talents to the passage of the county statute allowing for the creation of an SB40 board. After successful passage in November of 2016, LaDella continued to volunteer her time as needed. LaDella has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of California San Diego. She is an active member of the Branson-Hollister Rotary Club, serving as President-elect for the 2018-19 year, dedicating many hours each month to various service projects and fundraising events. She enjoys spending time with her family, mostly cheering on her teen boys at various sporting events or hanging out at the lake. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The board meets each month on the second Thursday of the month to conduct business and receive reports from the committees. The meetings are open to the public and notice of meetings and agendas may be found on the website.
The board is now receiving applications for services, contingent upon approval of the applicant’s LinkAbility service manager. The board’s Utilization and Review committee applies the criteria from the funding documents in reviewing applications. The committee strives to approve applications as appropriate and also provides feedback for any applications that may not meet the necessary criteria.
The board is meeting the challenge of endeavoring to spread the word about the availability of funds for individuals with developmental disabilities in Stone County. The board Marketing Committee facilitated a booth at the recent Cajun Days in Reeds Spring and seeks other opportunities to make citizens aware of its work. The board has joined the Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce and will be listed in the chamber’s guide.
With thanks to the voters of Stone County, the board is committed to work on behalf of the Stone County residents with developmental disabilities and looks forward to continuing its work.
The Stone County Developmental Disability Board (SCDDB), comprised of nine members appointed by the Stone County Commissioners, has set a goal for all of Stone County to be aware of the board and the tax dollars the board administers. The board members are: Chair, Mindy Smolnik, Vice-Chair, Sue Tanner, Secretary, Ruby Gideon, Treasurer, Sean Gasper and general members, Malissa Johnson, Jeremy Rouch, Tina Essick, Amy Larson, and Anne Coleman. The board has an office located at the Brooks Center, 15765 State Highway 13, Suite 7, Branson West, MO and meets there on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and notice of meetings can be found on the board’s website, www.stoneddboard.com, and there is a link to the board’s website on the Stone County website.
The Vision of the board is “An inclusive community where all people have value and opportunities.” To bring the vision to life, the board has become involved in answering questions as to how individuals with developmental disabilities can qualify for eligibility to receive assistance for services. The process of qualifying for assistance has multiple steps and the first step starts with the Regional Center in Springfield. By calling the Regional Center, 417-895-7400, the process begins with an intake in which information is gathered over the phone including the medical diagnosis. After the intake is taken, a packet of information is sent in the mail requiring signature and that paperwork is returned to the Regional Center. The next step in the process of qualifying for eligibility is an assessment conducted by a representative of the Regional Center that can take place at the center in Springfield, in the home of the individual, or at a public place. After the assessment is made and it is determined that the individual does qualify, the information is passed along to Linkability, (417-334-8985), located in Branson, which serves Stone County by providing case management through the service coordinators. According to the representative of the Regional Center, ninety days are allowed for the process of determining eligibility to be concluded. Support and help with the necessary paperwork is available through Linkability and/or the Regional Center. Individuals and their families who are preparing to submit the necessary paperwork are encouraged to access this important help in completing the important documents. The personnel from the Regional Center and/or Linkability are familiar with the details of the paperwork so are ready to answer questions and provide information that will facilitate the process of getting the important paperwork completed and submitted.
After an individual has submitted the paperwork to the Regional Center, has had an assessment, Linkability becomes the primary resource. A service coordinator is assigned to provide case management by identifying needed services in a personal care plan and the possible providers of the needed services are located. It is at this point that the available sources of funding are identified and application for financial assistance from the SCDDB may be made with the authorization of the Linkability service coordinator. Funding from the Stone County Developmental Disability Board is used as a last resort, after other funding sources are accessed. The policies and procedures for applying to receive financial assistance from the board in addition to the actual funding documents can be found on the SCDDB website: www.stoneddboard.com. Examples of services that may be appropriate are transportation to a job or an appointment, career exploration, community integration, music therapy, art therapy, job coaching or other services authorized by the service coordinator and accepted by the SCDDB.
In its first year of operation, the SCDDB, is eager for the county to be fully aware of its work and anticipates receiving applications for assistance as the year progresses. Citizens are encouraged to go to the website, www.stoneddboard.com, for additional information or to call the SCDDB office at 417-272-0444, where a phone message can be left with a call back number so a board member can follow-up to provide the requested information.
SCDDB again expresses appreciation to Stone County residents who through their tax dollars are funding the board’s work. These funds will bring to life the board’s Mission which is: “Providing resources for Stone County individuals with developmental disabilities to thrive, connect with others, and achieve their goals.”