Wednesday, March 11, 2009

5th - 8th Graders Have Fun with HSS Clients

Twenty-five fifth through grade students from Immaculate Conception Parish in Columbia joined with 30 adult developmentally disabled clients from the HSS Community Support Network in an evening of fun activities. The students put on a Talent Show featuring singing, dancing, acrobatics displays and guitar playing. Clients from Bellefontaine Place in Waterloo as well as some visiting clients from a program in Highland, Illinois joined clients from the HSS residential program in the activities. Several parents and even a family from St. Louis also attended.

The Talent Show was a follow-up to training the students received in how to act around people with disabilities. Bobbi Walters, Human Support Services Site Manager, assisted by Kim Pennock, HSS Clinical Director, worked with ICS parish staff in teaching the students about interacting in positive ways with special needs persons. The Talent Show was a fun follow-up activity.

Child Protection Workshops

As part of their responsibilities as Prevention Specialists, HSS staff members Michele Keim and Erin Schmitz have organized a series of workshops for day care workers and staff at agencies that work with children. The overall theme is how staff at child caring agencies can help prevent or respond to child abuse and neglect.

The first workshop, What it Means to be a Mandated Reporter, featured Jay Reeves, an investigator with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services as presenter. The workshop reviewed the rules and responsibilities of mandated reporters such as child care workers and described the process of how reports are investigated. Fifty-five childcare workers attended this presentation.

The second workshop, to be held in April, is on the Six Protective Factors that Keep Families Strong. Presenting will be Tara Williams from Prevent Child Abuse Illinois. The presentation will explore six protective factors and how they relate to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. In addition, this workshop will explore how service providers can implement strategies that build protective factors in families and the community.

HSS Awarded New Housing Funds

Human Support Services learned in March that it would be receiving Long Term Operation Support (LTOS) funds from the Illinois Housing Development Authority. These funds will help HSS make seven of its apartments in Waterloo affordable for adults with disabilities, limiting the rent to 30% of a tenant’s income. The LTOS program was available to any Illinois non-profit agency providing housing. Less than eight agencies statewide will be awarded funding and HSS will be one of them. The new program will bring about $30,000- $35,000 to HSS annually for 15 years. Previously HSS was using local funds for this purpose. These local funds will now be available for other uses.

HSS Employee Of The Month

Human Support Services named Erin Fuson Employee Of The Month for February. Erin, originally from Coulterville, and now St. Louis, has been with Human Support Services for four years. Erin is the Agency's Work Services and Day Training Director. She was recognized for making arrangements to provide the Agency with much needed equipment at a significant savings. Erin will receive a gift certificate, and a day off with pay.