Newsroom

Latest News with COVID-19

Developmental Services is working diligently to provide our individuals, staff and family with the most up to date information possible. Understanding that this crisis is a fluid situation and anything is subject to change at any given moment. We thank all of you for being so understanding and patient as we all work through this crisis. Please see below links to websites for helpful information and PDF's of our current message to individuals, staff and families. At this time DSNWK has asked that there are no visitors to our group homes and offices. With this being said our Kid Link staff is still following their protocol and offering their services in our families homes. If you have any questions regarding our new policies with COVID-19 please give us a call 785-625-5678.

  • Letter to families
  • Visitors Policy
  • Staff Questionnaire
  • CDC website
  • KDHE website


Letter to families - COVID-19 (03_18_2020).pdf
Modified Visitor Policy - No Visitors.pdf
COVID-19 Staff Questionnaire.pdf

Latest News


Access Receives KDOT Grant

3/19/2020

ACCESS Public Transportation is proud to announce that they are the recipient of a $87,166.00 grant from Kansas Public Transportation (KDOT). This grant will be utilized for two projects targeted by ACCESS; facility and equipment upgrades, as well as, a new maintenance vehicle.

These two projects were out of a total of 33 transit projects across the state that have been selected as part of the Kansas Department of Transportation’s new Access, Innovation, and Collaboration program. More than $74 million dollars was awarded by KDOT.

ACCESS provides on demand transportation in Hays and Ellis County and is partially funded by the City of Hays, Ellis County, FHSU and Partnership for a Safer Community.


DSNWK appreciates the support of the United Way of Ellis County and the CARE Council

3/12/2020

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce that The United Way of Ellis County has allocated $23,000 for the Job Placement Follow-along program for 2020. Follow-along services are provided to all individuals who complete DSNWK's Job Placement Program for support to maintain employment and for additional training in the future. Follow-along can intervene before the individual loses his or her employment and reduces the dollars spent on job procurement, training new employees, and unemployment or disability payments.

ACCESS Public Transportation was informed by the CARE Council of Ellis County that they have recommended an allocation to the Hays City Commission for an award of $80,000 for transportation services from the City of Hays Social Service Funds for the 2021 budget. ACCESS provides general public transportation services to the people of Hays and Ellis County.

DSNWK would like to thank the United Way of Ellis County for their continuous support of people with developmental disabilities and to the Care Council for recommending an allocation to the City of Hays for ACCESS general public transportation.


DSNWK takes precautions towards COVID-19

3/06/2020

To all Associated with DSNWK, Our Staff and Friends,

At DSNWK, the safety and wellness of those we serve, our employees and families are our first priority. You have likely been hearing in the news concerns about the Coronavirus. We are continuing to monitor the spread of the Coronavirus and are keeping an eye on the official information including guidance published by the Center of Disease Control (CDC), our state licensing department and others charged with public safety. Should emergency directions be issued, we will take appropriate action as directed by government officials.Please know we continue to train and utilize universal precautions and are taking proactive, preventative measures to protect against exposure to the virus. It is our standard practice to use universal precautions as the best defense against the spread of most contagious illnesses. In addition to the regular and thorough cleaning of all work surfaces, we are in the process of having available disinfectant products available. In addition, we are reviewing this important topic with all our staff (and making available to others via our website) ensuring that all staff members take important precautions against the spread of germs.COVID‐19 is associated with such symptoms as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The CDC recommends these proven steps to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (then throw the tissue in the trash) or cough into your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol‐based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

We understand the concern that many people feel regarding the possible spread of COVID‐19 and wish to reassure that our organization is committed to supporting individuals and maintaining a healthy and safe environment for those services to occur in. We will continue to monitor developments throughout this situation and pledge to keep you informed of any new developments regarding COVID‐19 that could impact the health of our individuals served, our employees and our friends.

The State has launched an online resource center with guidance and FAQs available at www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus.

Sincerely,

The Leadership Team at DSNWK

Final pieces in place for new vehicle for PDC

3/3/2020

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce that the final pieces of the puzzle for a replacement vehicle for Prairie Developmental Center in Atwood have been put in place.The Atwood Masons Lodge has agreed to match the $2000 gift offered by the Rawlins County Thrift Shop. This generous gift brought the donations to just $1000 shy of meeting its goal. Then after seeing the article in the Rawlins County Square Deal, Jean Ann Wagner of Phillipsburg called DSNWK and offered to donate the remaining $1000. DSNWK would like to first thank the Rawlins County Thrift Shop for starting this fundraising effort back in September with their matching donation. This was followed by another amazing donation from the Friends of the Disabled which elevated the donations by over $10,000 for the vehicle. In the final stretch, the Masons Lodge and Jean Ann Wagner, joined these others with their financial support which carried this project across the finish line. As reported earlier, PDC lost a Dodge Intrepid due to excessive mileage and complete engine failure. This vehicle was used to support the staff and people served at PDC with going to doctor appointments, community outings, meetings and more. “We continue to be amazed by the generosity and kindness of the Atwood community and beyond,” states Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President. “Having the support of people like these, well, they are among our greatest assets.” DSNWK serves persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the 18 counties of northwest Kansas including the community of Atwood.


Midwest Energy Grant supports DSNWK renovation in Hoxie

2/27/2020

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas, was recently announced as the recipient of a $15,000 grant from Midwest Energy, Inc. This matching grant award will be used to support the renovation of the developmental center in Hoxie.The renovation will make the center more functional, accessible, and community focused for the people we serve in Sheridan County and surrounding counties who have developmental disabilities. The renovation will change the floor plan to make room for much needed accessible bathrooms, laundry room, larger classroom space and a larger dining room area. While making these changes, a storm shelter is also planned.“This generous grant award is a dollar-for-dollar matching grant opportunity. We are so grateful to Midwest Energy for supporting us with this grant. We extend our thanks to all who will join us in this matching effort. This project, when complete, will have a practical and personal impact on the people we serve as well as the Hoxie community. Those interested in supporting our efforts, we are a phone call or an email away,” stated Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President. For more information or to contribute to the renovation project, contact Steve Keil at 785-625-5678 or steve_keil@mydsnwk.org.


Care workers in need of pay increase

2/14/2020

Paraprofessional Amy Neeley has worked full time as a caregiver at the Reed Center in Hays for two years and four months. She works for the nonprofit Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas Inc., helping adults with intellectual disabilities.The money isn’t great, with base pay starting at $9 an hour. But the clients and staff are like a happy family, Neeley said Thursday morning while helping clients get organized to play Monopoly.Neeley teaches four classes this semester at the Reed Center: Health and Safety, Holidays, American Sign Language and Ancient Cultures.“I am blessed enough that my significant other makes a wage that allows me to work here,” said Neeley, of Hays. “I couldn’t do it on my own.”Many of DSNWK’s 350 employees are the caregivers who work in group homes or provide day help throughout 18 counties in northwest Kansas. Kaitlyn Wagle, of Hays, is a program services coordinator and has worked at DSNWK for nearly eight years.“I’ve had two or three jobs up until recently,” Wagle said, noting that others who work there do the same to make ends meet. “If you’re living on your own, it’s just not possible on this wage. No one is a fan of the wage, but the people who work here want to stay, that’s why they get two jobs. They don’t want to leave here.”It shouldn’t be that way, and won’t be, if Allen Schmidt gets his way.The fate of direct support professionals is a concern to Schmidt, explaining that these are the home health workers, nurse aids and personal care workers seen in nursing homes, assisted living centers, at DSNWK and in other places where the elderly and disabled are cared for.It’s critical to up the level of pay, Schmidt said, “so that you can get them out of poverty.”A retired Army and Medical Service Corps colonel, Schmidt moved back to western Kansas a few years ago to find himself first filling an unexpired Kansas senate seat, then named to the Kansas Board of Regents, and now working at DSNWK, 2703 Hall St., to establish an endowment and planned giving program.As a result, revitalizing rural Kansas and the aging population of western Kansas have become two of his concerns, particularly who will care for the aging, namely direct support workers."There’s a shortage of these workers, which is going to directly impact our parents, and eventually you and me as we get older,” said Schmidt on Saturday, who questioned state legislators at the Legislative Update sponsored by the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce in the Ballroom at Fort Hays State University.“The projection right now, and this is a national prediction, is that there’s going to be 74,000 positions short by 2026 in Kansas,” Schmidt said after the update program. “When you look at the nation, the national level, it’s in the millions. It may be the number one or two employed position in Kansas in 2026. That’s why I’m interested.”As a state senator, he saw the problem firsthand.“There are people aging so fast in these communities, that when I represented, for example, Smith County, that was in my senate district, they were 22% over age 65 at that time,” he said. “Now we’re talking about many of these counties going to 35% and 40% over the age of 65.”“We’ve waited too long to deal with this whole aging population,” Schmidt said. “People in western Kansas are going to move someplace where there’s care, eventually, when they can’t care for themselves because their kids aren’t there.”Schmidt’s mission is to see direct support professionals get credit for their work in the form of academic credit leading to higher wages, a professional license, a degree or even a better occupation.Such a program could be modeled after a paraprofessional-to-teacher program developed at Wichita State University, which gives academic credit to paraprofessionals in the classroom, enabling them to work toward a teaching degree.“I’m thinking of that model for direct support professionals, because if I’m going to be a nurse, occupational therapist, doctor, does it not make sense that when I’m starting into the workforce that I’d do work like this?” Schmidt asks. “Why don’t I get academic credit for that? That’s where higher education is going, applied learning, learning in the workplace.”Schmidt is working on building a task force, meeting with WSU and gauging interest from FHSU President Tisa Mason.But the first step, he said, is to get the position included in the Standard Occupational Classification of the U.S. Department of Labor. For that, he asked Rep. Roger Marshall for help at Saturday’s session.“The first thing we need to do is understand why direct support professionals don’t have a category in the Labor Department,” Schmidt said. “We call them direct support professionals, but until they get a labor code, it’s going to be hard to do all the technical things, like develop the curriculum and professionalize them.”Direct support workers don’t make a living wage as it is now, said DSNWK executive director Jerry Michaud, also at the Legislative Update. That’s despite the fact they get training and certification to do their jobs.“They’ve got skills, they are required skills to do that well,” Michaud said. “If it’s professional and it’s trained, then it should be compensated beyond what it is today.”Low pay means people leave for more money, Michaud said. As of Dec. 31, he had 25 open positions at DSNWK throughout the 18 counties. Losing staff affects the clients, he said.“Say I’m the person that needs support, and I’ve got a relationship with you on the staff, and you leave,” Michaud said. “Any transition and turnover as it relates to the individual served is a pretty big deal.”On Thursday at the Reed Center, Wagle handed the Monopoly dice to DSNWK client Michael Karlin, who threw doubles, then high-fived Wagle with a big hoot and holler.Wagle and Neeley helped him count out eight spaces on the board and move his ship token to Chance.“They have a lot of come-and-go in their lives,” said Neeley, nodding to Karlin, David Werth and Jimmy Tucker, sitting at the table around the Monopoly board.“It’s so hard because these guys have so many people come and go out of their lives,” Neeley said.“It can cause trust issues,” Wagle said. “They can develop some anger, aggression, depression.”“It’s like any family,” Neeley added. “You bond, there’s no way around it, and these guys are like anyone else, when they lose someone special.”


Beach Family Foundation Grant benefits DSNWK

1/16/2020

The Beach Family Foundation, Derby, has awarded Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas (DSNWK) a $21,150 grant. This will allow DSNWK to begin the multi-step process of installing access control technology systems within 10 of 16 residential homes in Hays, Russell, Victoria, Atwood, Hill City, and Norton.

The first phase of this project will consist of installing magnetic locks and keypads on the main doors within each home. DSNWK has previously installed these keyless locks in two residential homes where there is a higher risk of elopement. Installing this infrastructure hardware will allow the organization to eventually achieve the overall goal of electronic keyless access control into all homes and office buildings. The organization has made this goal a priority in order to promote safety and ease of access by those persons who receive support in these settings and those staff who help them each day.

DSNWK would like to thank the Beach Family Foundation for their generosity and support which helps DSNWK improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in northwest Kansas.


Community Service Tax Credit program a boost to DSNWK capital campaign effort

1/09/2020

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas (DSNWK) is proud to announce that all awarded Community Service Tax Credits have been claimed.

In 2018, DSNWK was awarded a $250,000 grant in Community Service Tax Credits at the 50-percent rate through the Kansas Department of Commerce. The tax credits were available to donors on a first come, first served basis, raising a total of $500,000.

The ability to offer tax credits to donors was very beneficial to DSNWK’s $5 million Stronger Forever Together capital campaign goal which will help support DSNWK’s programs serving persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

“We are grateful to our many donors who took advantage of these community service tax credits and supported our capital campaign,” said Jerry Michaud, President/CEO of DSNWK. “These donations will allow for much needed facility upgrades and repairs, renovations and accessibility improvements, which are outside of normal funding streams.

For more information about DSNWK’s Stronger Forever Together Capital Campaign, visit www.dsnwk.org and click on the Stronger Forever Together campaign logo.

DSNWK is a 501(c)3 nonprofit serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 50 years from the counties of Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Gove, Graham, Logan, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Russell, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Thomas, Trego and Wallace



Latest News

Golf Tournament raises money for Hays group homes

12/10/2019

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is pleased to announce that the Esther McMurtrie Memorial Golf Tournament raised approximately $9,800.00. The 4 person scramble tournament was held on Friday, August 3rd at the Ellis Golf Club. Proceeds are being used to benefit DSNWK group homes Hays. DSNWK would like to thank the many participants, contributors and supporters who made the event a success.


DSNWK benefits from local community foundations

12/06/2019

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce several grant awards from local community foundations.

The Sheridan County Community Foundation awarded DSNWK $2,888.00 for Hoxie Accessibility Improvement. With the funds, DSNWK was able to install a 14 ft x 32 ft concrete pad in the parking lot located at the front entrance of Hoxie Developmental Center. With approaching inclement weather, this pad will allow individuals served, specifically those using wheelchairs and walkers, smoother access to the building.

The Norton County Community Foundation awarded DSNWK $2,558.25 for accessibility improvements at Frontier Developmental Center in Norton. The money from this grant will go to purchase a new shower chair and a portable body lift. Both of these items will provide a safer and more pleasant bathing experience for individuals served, as well as, decrease mobility concerns, improve quality of care, and minimize injuries.

The Russell County Area Community Foundation awarded DSNWK $2,500.00 toward the expansion of a Kid-Link office at Pioneer Developmental Center in Russell. This renovation will result in more offices for staff, a conference room to hold confidential meetings, and increased efficiency in other areas of the building.

The Heartland Community Foundation awarded $3000.00 for the installation of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in two DSNWK group homes in Ellis county. The grant will also allow for the purchasing of AED equipment needed to train staff on how to properly use the machines in case of an emergency.


November 5, 2019

DSNWK Receives grant from Hays Lions Club

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce that they have received a $500.00 grant award from The Hays Lions Club for the vision needs of the people they serve who have developmental disabilities.


DSNWK Recognizes Success at Awards Luncheon

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas hosted its annual awards luncheon in Hays on October 22nd. Awards were given throughout the afternoon to staff, persons served, and community members.


November 1, 2019

Dechant Recognized by InterHab

Alyssa Dechant with Styles Dance Centre in Hays, was recognized by InterHab with the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award for 2019. The award was presented at InterHabs’ Annual Power Up Conference in Wichita on October 19th at the Hyatt Regency. Dechant was recognized for her work in creating the Dancing Together for DSNWK event held each April at Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.

____

September 11, 2019

VISTA Volunteers recognize first responders

A large crowd of First Responders filed into DSNWK’s Schoepner Room at the Administrative Offices on September 11th as DSNWK hosted a luncheon in appreciation for their dedication and service.



Latest News

December 3, 2019

DSNWK Receives grant from Hays Lions Club

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce that they have received a $500.00 grant award from The Hays Lions Club for the vision needs of the people they serve who have developmental disabilities. The grant will go to support DSNWK's Consumer Medical Fund which assists individuals with the cost of medical items and care that are not covered by Medicaid such as eye glasses and other vision needs. DSNWK would like to thank the Hays Lions Club for their continuous support of people with developmental disabilities.



November 5, 2019

DSNWK Recognizes Success at Awards Luncheon

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas hosted its annual awards luncheon in Hays on October 22nd. Awards were given throughout the afternoon to staff, persons served, and community members.


November 1, 2019

Dechant Recognized by InterHab

Alyssa Dechant with Styles Dance Centre in Hays, was recognized by InterHab with the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award for 2019. The award was presented at InterHabs’ Annual Power Up Conference in Wichita on October 19th at the Hyatt Regency. Dechant was recognized for her work in creating the Dancing Together for DSNWK event held each April at Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.

____

September 11, 2019

VISTA Volunteers recognize first responders

A large crowd of First Responders filed into DSNWK’s Schoepner Room at the Administrative Offices on September 11th as DSNWK hosted a luncheon in appreciation for their dedication and service.



Latest News

November 5, 2019

Dechant Recognized by InterHab

Alyssa Dechant with Styles Dance Centre in Hays, was recognized by InterHab with the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award for 2019. The award was presented at InterHabs’ Annual Power Up Conference in Wichita on October 19th at the Hyatt Regency. Dechant was recognized for her work in creating the Dancing Together for DSNWK event held each April at Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.

____

September 11, 2019

VISTA Volunteers recognize first responders

A large crowd of First Responders filed into DSNWK’s Schoepner Room at the Administrative Offices on September 11th as DSNWK hosted a luncheon in appreciation for their dedication and service.

____

July 11, 2019

DSNWK receives grants to renovate, expand group home

A $279,000 grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation and a $50,000 grant from the Robert E. and Patricia Schmidt Foundation will help Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas make needed repairs and improvements, the most costly being the renovation and expansion of an Ellis County group home.

____


Latest News

September 11, 2019

VISTA Volunteers recognize first responders

A large crowd of First Responders filed into DSNWK’s Schoepner Room at the Administrative Offices on September 11th as DSNWK hosted a luncheon in appreciation for their dedication and service.

____

July 11, 2019

DSNWK receives grants to renovate, expand group home

A $279,000 grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation and a $50,000 grant from the Robert E. and Patricia Schmidt Foundation will help Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas make needed repairs and improvements, the most costly being the renovation and expansion of an Ellis County group home.

____

July 1, 2019

Making learning fun at Reed Developmental Center

The Reed Center is finding new ways to share the fun of learning! Through a grant awarded by the Beach Family Foundation, DSNWK was able to purchase virtual goggles to be used in the classroom.

Latest News

September 11, 2019

VISTA Volunteers recognize first responders

A large crowd of First Responders filed into DSNWK’s Schoepner Room at the Administrative Offices on September 11th as DSNWK hosted a luncheon in appreciation for their dedication and service.

____

July 11, 2019

DSNWK receives grants to renovate, expand group home

A $279,000 grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation and a $50,000 grant from the Robert E. and Patricia Schmidt Foundation will help Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas make needed repairs and improvements, the most costly being the renovation and expansion of an Ellis County group home.

____

July 1, 2019

Making learning fun at Reed Developmental Center

The Reed Center is finding new ways to share the fun of learning! Through a grant awarded by the Beach Family Foundation, DSNWK was able to purchase virtual goggles to be used in the classroom.

News Archive

Latest News

December 3, 2019

DSNWK Receives grant from Hays Lions Club

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce that they have received a $500.00 grant award from The Hays Lions Club for the vision needs of the people they serve who have developmental disabilities. The grant will go to support DSNWK's Consumer Medical Fund which assists individuals with the cost of medical items and care that are not covered by Medicaid such as eye glasses and other vision needs. DSNWK would like to thank the Hays Lions Club for their continuous support of people with developmental disabilities.

November 5, 2019

DSNWK Recognizes Success at Awards Luncheon

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas hosted its annual awards luncheon in Hays on October 22nd. Awards were given throughout the afternoon to staff, persons served, and community members.


November 1, 2019

Dechant Recognized by InterHab

Alyssa Dechant with Styles Dance Centre in Hays, was recognized by InterHab with the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award for 2019. The award was presented at InterHabs’ Annual Power Up Conference in Wichita on October 19th at the Hyatt Regency. Dechant was recognized for her work in creating the Dancing Together for DSNWK event held each April at Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.

____

September 11, 2019

VISTA Volunteers recognize first responders

A large crowd of First Responders filed into DSNWK’s Schoepner Room at the Administrative Offices on September 11th as DSNWK hosted a luncheon in appreciation for their dedication and service.