2014 DSNWK News

Renovation Project Underway in Norton


A special renovation project is now underway at a residential location owned by Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas in Norton. DSNWK is renovating a home located at 1113 Eisenhower, which will replace the home currently being utilized by the organization at 602 N. Grant Street.

This replacement group home will provide a living environment for 6 individuals with intellectual disabilities. The newly renovated home, which will be called “Our Place”, will have 6 bedrooms on the main floor with a partially finished basement and will sit on a single lot. The accessible floor plan includes two baths, each with a roll-in shower, a large kitchen, living room, laundry room and medicine room. ‘Our Place’ will be fully accessible and include Fire/Life safety requirements built in the design.

In December, Norton community members gathered at Frontier Developmental Center during a special Chamber After Hours to learn more about Our Place. Attendees had the opportunity to listen to a special presentation by Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President, and ask questions. ‘Our Place’, as with all DSNWK group homes, will be a single family residential location and is designed to blend into the fabric of the neighborhood. The individuals that will reside at Our Place will receive 24 hour visual supervision with awake overnight staff.

DSNWK Thanks Area Knights


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas would like to congratulate all of the area Knights of Columbus organizations for another successful Tootsie Roll Drive. For many years, DSNWK has benefited from the generosity and hard work of the Knights. We truly appreciate their kindness and support and feel extremely fortunate to have these extraordinary men in northwest Kansas supporting our efforts. All the money donated to our organization from the K of C go directly to support the people we serve who have developmental disabilities.

What do you need to know about Special Needs Planning?


DSNWK’s Planned Giving Office will offer a two hour seminar entitled: “ SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING”. The cost free seminar will have two separate sessions conducted by Clinkscales Elder Law and Disability Law Firm on:

Tuesday, March 4th. 3pm to 5pm or from 5:30pm – 7:30pm DSNWK Administrative Offices 2703 Hall St (Training Room on south-side)

The seminar will address many issues to include: Special Needs estate planning Special Needs trusts Supplemental care trusts Links to support groups Conservatorships and guardianships for disabled children Life Care Planning We will offer answers and solutions to questions many of us have concerning care of our dependents after we are gone: Here are a few:

How can I pay for the long-term needs of my disabled child while still providing an inheritance to my other children?

How can I protect my assets and still get Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for my child?

What steps are necessary to provide for my child and provide the care he or she needs to live in comfort and dignity?

“Our Place” Receives Grant from Frontier Community Foundation


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas secured a grant for $1500.00 from the Frontier Community Foundation to cover the costs of constructing an accessible ramp for the main entrance of the “Our Place” group home in Norton. Our Place is a replacement group home located at 1113 Eisenhower in Norton for 6 individuals served by DSNWK. This home will be fully accessible, will be a single family residential location and is designed to blend into the fabric of the neighborhood.

DSNWK would like to thank the Frontier Community Foundation for it’s support and generosity.

DSNWK Receives Grant from Russell County Area Community Foundation


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas was recently announced as the recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Russell County Area Community Foundation. The grant award will be used to replace heating and air conditioning units at Pioneer Developmental Center in Russell.

“We are thankful of the grant award from the Russell County Area Community Foundation. Their support of DSNWK and of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is very much appreciated. They not only make a tremendous difference in the lives of the people we serve, but in the lives of many throughout the area,” stated Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President.

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is a private, not for profit organization serving more than 500 individuals with developmental disabilities in the 18 counties of northwest Kansas. DSNWK has been providing quality services and programs to the area for over 45 years.

New ‘place’ will be home for DSNWK residents

By Randy Gonzales, Hays Daily News


“Our Place” will be their place for a half-dozen people served by Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas in this north-central Kansas town. The group home on Grant Street shared by six individuals had been outgrown, and a new home was purchased at 1113 Eisenhower - coincidentally adjacent to DSNWK’s other group home in the community. The house currently being used on Grant has been of service since the late 1980s. Construction to renovate the new house to fit the individuals’ needs is ongoing.

The new home, to be called “Our Place,” is expected to be completed in the spring. “The needs of people from the 1980s has changed,” said DSNWK President and CEO Jerry Michaud. “As people age, that accessibility and those issues are paramount, which really is the motivation behind ‘Our Place.’ ” The new intermediate care facility will have six ground floor bedrooms, one for each individual, an outdoor patio, as well as a basement which, among other things, can be used as a storm shelter. DSNWK borrowed money to purchase the new home. “We’re doing it because we must, to meet the needs of folks,” Michaud said. “It is expensive … It is going to be a several hundred thousand dollar project.” It is undecided what will be done with the current house once the move has been made. Michaud said he is excited about the project. “The excitement really is for the folks there,” he said. Steve Keil, director of development for

DSNWK, also is excited about what the project means for the people they serve. “It’s just going to be nice for them to have their own bedroom on one level,” he said. “Being right next to the other home will be nice. It’ll be a nice home that anybody would be proud to live in.”

Donations Needed for Benefit Sale


DSNWK’s Employment Connections will be holding a benefit sale in June and is in need of donations. This is a great way to clean out your storage closet and support people with disabilities at the same time! Contact Employment Connections at (785) 626-2018 if you have something to donate and to arrange a pick up time.

Shining stars light up night

By Matthew Kenwright, Hays Daily News


A group often overlooked had the starring role at a red carpet affair Saturday night at North Oak Community Church. Ken Ediger, church pastor, said the Your Night to Shine program honored individuals with developmental disabilities. Adults from such agencies as Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas, Bethesda Place and New Age Services joined others for a night of festivities. Attendees were treated to introductions on the red carpet, a shoe-shine stand, music performances and a lasagna dinner.

“A lot of times, people in the community, they see them as marginalized,” Ediger said. “We feel like that they are created in God’s image just like we are, and that they’re special people just because they are, not because of their handicap, not because of their disability. They’re a live person, and they are creations of God.”

The program, which marked its second year, began in 2012 after the idea emerged during Advent 2011. The holy season made the congregation want to shift the focus away from material goods to giving more of themselves, Ediger said. The special-needs community was identified as a group deserving appreciation. “They are certainly worthy of our love, they are worthy of a night like this to honor them, make them feel special,” he said. Debbie Breeden, chairwoman of the program’s committee, said, “I’ve worked with special-needs all of my adult life, and it’s just such a blessing to see my church family coming together and honoring individuals that oftentimes don’t get honored in our lives.” Luke 14 says Christians should invite people to a banquet who cannot necessarily invite them back, Breeden said. Dustin Rupke, Hays, said his 16-year-old daughter, Haley, sang Katy Perry’s “Firework” during the program. He said his daughter, who has autism, is fearless on stage, and her motivation is simple — Skittles. “To watch these people that are just unique in their own way, God’s creation, and to watch them celebrate ... it’s so much fun,” Rupke said.

Ryan Hoag said it was his second year attending the program. He returned because the whole evening was a “blast.” Vernon King, founder of Motivating Youth Co., said he was asked to provide hosting, entertainment and motivational services for the program. He staged a skit encouraging the pursuit of dreams in which a spelling bee participant gained confidence as he spelled words correctly. King also filled a glass vase with golf balls, asked the audience if it was full and added water and sunflower seeds to show no one ever should underestimate themselves. King said he travels nationwide, and the event is needed everywhere to remind members of the special-needs community they all have a purpose. “My thoughts on the program are overwhelming. Overwhelming,” King said. “I was in tears probably throughout half of the program while trying to provide the entertainment and motivational part because it was such a thoughtful program for those individuals.” Ediger said there were two other components in the celebration.

Your Night to Dine was a dinner hosted in March for 60 to 70 parents and caretakers of developmentally disabled, and church members will visit group homes this week with gifts to thank those who serve the disabled community.

Unified Softball 2014 Play begins April 27th


Spring marks the beginning of one of the areas most inspirational events of the year - DSNWK’s Unified Softball. Unified Softball is a unique opportunity for children with disabilities and their non-disabled peers to join together and participate in a game of softball. A total of four teams participate in several days of fun and true sportsmanship. After providing each child with a team shirt and trophy, all additional funds raised will go into DSNWK’s Children’s Special Needs Fund. This fund helps families who have children with disabilities and limited resources, help pay for the high costs of equipment and other needs.

Sports Auction Raises Over $7,500.00 for Consumer Medical Fund


DSNWK’s Sports and Celebrity Auction has officially been concluded with over $7,500.00 being raised for the Consumer Medical Fund. The auction was conducted through Ebay as an online auction. DSNWK would like to thank all of the individuals and businesses who sponsored the auction, as well as thank all of those individuals from across the United States who bid and purchased the memorabilia. Plans are currently underway to solicit new items for an auction to take place in January of 2015.

DSNWK’s Consumer Medical Fund assists the individuals served by DSNWK in paying for medical needs that are not covered by their Medicaid, such as dental care.

Dash for Disabilities Set for May 24th!


The Hays Recreation Commission will once again be holding their annual Dash for Disabilities Fun Run! The event is scheduled for Saturday, May 24th at 9:00 a.m. Pre-registration is due by May 21st. Entry Fee is $10.00, $12.00 after the deadline.

This run will consist of your choice of a 1 mile run/walk or a 5K run/walk. The run is for people of all abilities, will not be timed, and the proceeds will go to help support the programs coordinated by the HRC that support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Fun Run is sponsored by DSNWK and the ARC of Central Plains.

Memorial Gifts are a great way to honor a loved one


As Memorial Day approaches, DSNWK would like to share the opportunity for you to honor the memory of a loved one and support our programs and services at the same time. Memorial gifts are always a great way to ensure their memory lives on and continues to make an impact in the lives of people with developmental disabilities. Your gift can support DSNWK through Project Rose (DSNWK’s general fund) or can benefit a specific program or location. It can also benefit one of our many funds established to benefit the lives of the people we serve such as the Medical Fund, Personal Needs Fund or Children’s Special Needs Fund. Memorial donations are a meaningful remembrance as it works to help DSNWK provide the excellent, quality support of people with disabilities in northwest Kansas.

McMurtrie Golf Tournament Set for August


The date has been officially set for the Esther McMurtrie Memorial Golf Tournament. Friends of DSNWK are sponsoring and coordinating the tournament to held on Saturday, August 23rd at the Ellis Golf Course. The golf tournament is a four person scramble beginning at 10:00 a.m. and will once again benefit Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas

DSNWK Awards Luncheon Set


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas will host its annual Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. The event will take place at the Ellis County Fairgrounds in Hays. Awards will be presented to DSNWK employees for years of service with five receiving Employee of the Year honors. Recognition will also be made for the achievements made by men and women in DSNWK services. These awards will be for employment and independent living accomplishments, with special awards giving for individual achievement. DSNWK will also present awards to several community members for their support of people with disabilities through opportunities in employment and other community support.

Donate Your Vehicle Today: The Most Important Miles Are Yet to Come


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is now a part of a new donation program. Vehicle owners can now turn their unwanted but usable vehicles into valuable profits for DSNWK. Your car, truck, motorcycle or boat can be donated at any time and the process is easy. The proceeds of each donation benefit DSNWK and people with developmental disabilities in northwest Kansas.

Developmental Services uses support from the vehicle donation program to benefit the individuals it serves in the many programs and services that they provide. The process is simple, call 1-866-628-2277 to speak to a representative or go on-line to www.dsnwk.org to fill out a donation form. The vehicle is usually picked up in 3-5 days at the donor’s convenience. Please provide a clean title and make sure the vehicle has no major damage. A receipt for the donation will be sent as a follow-up in the mail which can be used for tax purposes.

Unwanted but usable vehicles accepted include cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, RVs, and more. Some restrictions apply.

New Web Site for Family Members to Report KanCare Experiences


A new web site has been created for parents, guardians and families of people with intellectual disabilities to share stories about their experience with KanCare, the state of Kansas’ managed care program for Medicaid services.

The site, kancareddwatch.com, was developed and funded by a group of parents and families, and is intended as a place for people to share stories and anecdotes, read links to news articles about KanCare, and access resource information. Anyone submitting stories on the site can choose whether his or her name and information will be visible to the public. This will be the first central gathering point for KanCare stories from the intellectual and developmental disability community. The steering committee for its development is comprised of parents from throughout Kansas. Several moderators will verify posters’ identity and review content, to ensure a civil and authentic exchange of information.

The new site will be promoted in a variety of ways, but the first step is to encourage families to tell their stories. If you are an individual who receives intellectual/ developmental disability services, a parent or guardian, or a family member who has been closely involved with the KanCare program, please visit kancareddwatch.com.

The Gnarly Neon Run is Back!


The Hays Recreation Commission, DSNWK, and Mobile Game Dens of Wichita are back offering you our second GNARLY NEON 5K run. Come dressed wearing your whites, get showered in neon colors throughout the race, and enjoy the after party. You will rock out to a DJ in your GNARLY sunglasses, temporary tattoos and headbands which will be handed out prior to the start of the run. This is a 5K run for all speeds and ages.

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and then the color starts flying at 9am on August 30th at the Bickle Schmidt Sports Complex. Entry Fee is $35.00 for individuals, $30.00 for groups and $25.00 for kids. Proceeds will benefit the Hays Recreation Commission and Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas as they create activities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

To register, go on-line at www.gnarlyneon5k.com or call 623-2658 for more information.

DSNWK Receives United Way Grants


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce that The United Way of Ellis County has allocated $23,033 for the Job Placement Follow-along program for next year. An allocation of $79,385 has also been awarded by the CARE Council for ACCESS Transportation. These allocations are contingent upon The United Way reaching their 2014 campaign goal of $490,000. DSNWK would like to thank the United Way of Ellis County and the CARE Council for their continuous support

Teams are forming now for the Esther McMurtrie Golf Tournament


Teams are forming now for the Esther McMurtrie Memorial Golf Tournament. Friends of DSNWK are coordinating the tournament to held on Saturday, August 23rd at the Ellis Golf Course. This is a four person scramble beginning at 10:00 a.m. and will once again benefit Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas. The event will include flight prizes for the top three teams, and a chance to win an E-Z-GO golf cart with a hole in one. If you would like to form a team, be a hole sponsor or support the tournament with a contribution, contact Belinda DeWerff at 785-621-2230, Marla Weigel at 785- 259-0720 or Steve Keil at 785-625-5678.

Fallfest Set for October 28th


DSNWK’s Fallfest event has been officially set for October 28th. Thanks to the generosity of Nex-Tech, Conrade Insurance and Hays T’s, Fallfest returns to the Ellis County Fairgrounds in Hays. Fallfest will begin at 10:00 am. and will include carnival games, a dance, and barbecue lunch. “We are truly grateful to Conrade Insurance and Hays T’s for their support of this special event. Fallfest always proves to be an fun and exciting event for everyone” stated Steve Keil, DSNWK Director of Development

DSNWK to hold dinner and dance for “Our Place” project


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas will be holding a special dinner and dance on September 6th to raise money and awareness for their Our Place project in Norton. This event will be held at the Eagles Lodge, 16614 Eagles Road in Norton. Dinner will be at 6:30 p.m. and include pulled pork and several sides with the dance at 8:30 p.m featuring the music of Mark Nebel and the MarKey Band. The dinner will be a free will offering and the dance will be $5.00 admission. The event will include a silent auction with several great items up for bid as well as a raffle with the chance to win a Traeger Grill. Our Place is a replacement group home located at 1113 Eisenhower in Norton for 6 individuals served by DSNWK who have developmental disabilities. This home will be fully accessible, will be a single family residential location and is designed to blend into the fabric of the neighborhood. For more information contact: Steve Keil at (785) 625-5678

Golf Tournament Raises $16,000 for DSNWK


Organizers of the Esther McMurtrie Memorial Golf Tournament are pleased to announce that over $16,000 was raised from the event for Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas. The 4 person scramble tournament was held on Saturday, August 23rd at the Ellis Golf Club and organized by “Friends of DSNWK”. Proceeds are being used to benefit several DSNWK group homes.

Colors Fly at Gnarly Run 2014


The colors were flying as more than 350 people took part in the second running of the Gnarly Neon 5 K Run on August 30th at the Bickle Schmidt Sports Complex. . The run, sponsored by the Hays Recreation Commission, DSNWK, and Mobile Game Dens of Wichita, included people from all walks of life, young, old, fast, slow and many in between. DSNWK and HRC both benefited from the proceeds as they create a variety of activities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

DSNWK Receives Grant from Dane G. Hansen Foundation


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas (DSNWK) was recently announced as the recipient of a $270,000 grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. The grant award will be used in the renovation of “Our Place”, a residential home for persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Norton. “We are always very appreciative of the Hansen Foundation for their ongoing support of DSNWK and the people we support with developmental disabilities. This grant award is a tremendous support of our Mission of providing the highest in quality services for northwest Kansans with developmental disabilities,” stated Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President

DSNWK Celebrates Successes at Awards Luncheon


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas hosted its annual awards luncheon in Hays on September 30th. Awards were given throughout the afternoon to staff, persons served, and community members. The first awards of the afternoon were given to employees of DSNWK for their years of service. Those staff recognized and listed by location, were: Atwood - Marsha Eastep, Ellen Horinek, Rebecca Lang, Kimberly Leitner, Stephanie Pelkey, Merry Reeh Colby - Denise Mentlick, Jane Mentlick Hays - Eileen Anderson, Paul Arias, Jeffery Baczkowski, Jonathan Baumfalk, Jennifer Brungardt, Valarie Corwin, Joshua Farrington, Jeremy Grizzle, Dale Haag, Cindy Harwood, BJ Hiser, Patti Hoffman, Marlene Irwin, Brooke Kee, Steve Keil, Jeannie Komarek, Deanna Leiker, Kristi Luetters, Devon Meyer, Dan Miller, Joseph Moos, Johanna Musgrove, Janet Naegele, Nicholas Pfeifer, Dilene Reinhardt, Tami Rummel, Ryan Ruth, Wanda Schlegel, LeeAnn Schmidtberger, Kristen Shewey, Barbara Smith, Denise Stritt, Mark Tomanek, Angela Wahlmeier, Maria Whitesell, Paul Wildeman, Andrew Wishon, Kelli Winder Hill City - Justin Hrabe, Danny Jackson Norton - Mary Ahlemeyer, Dorothy Becker, Lisa Shearer Hoxie - Avis Herl, Harriet Richardson Oakley - Pat Lysinger Russell - Marsha Niehoff, Dawn Rose, Herb Shumaker Stockton - Laura Kolb

DSNWK gave special recognition to three staff members who made successful efforts in coming to the aid of persons served by DSNWK in need and providing emergency assistance. Those recognized were: Virginia Carver of Colby, David Musgrove and Murrae Rebarchek of Hays.

Special recognition was also paid to two staff members for their outstanding work with persons with disabilities. Dorothy Becker of Norton, and Dawn Marlett of Hays were presented with the Employee of the Year Awards.

Two $100 scholarship awards were presented to Edith Murguia and Kayla Drake of Hays. These awards were given from the Jerelyn Becker Memorial Scholarship Fund for employees studying in higher education in a field related to serving people with developmental disabilities.

Several awards were given to individuals served by DSNWK for achievement through employment and independence. Those receiving awards and listed by location were: Atwood - Melvin Betzner, Danny Clark, James Goscha, Cheryl Hartzog, Scott Holub, Tallas McNabb Hays - Richard Graf, Ryan Hoag, Michael Lee, Eric Legleiter, Anita Rogers, Shannon Sander, Brett Skinner, Chuck Stansbury, Joshua Watford, Jason Watkins, Tammy Zadina Hill City - Jenny Cronn

DSNWK presented two Individual Achievement Awards to individuals served by DSNWK. Tyler Jones of Hays and Scott Holub of Atwood were presented these awards which go each year to one youth and one adult who have shown tremendous individual progress throughout the year.

The individuals receiving services in Hoxie were presented with one of DSNWK’s Good Neighbor Awards for their community volunteer efforts.

Several awards were presented to members of area communities during the afternoon. They were: Wal-Mart of Hays, who received DSNWK’s Employer of the Year Award for their outstanding support of people with disabilities in the workforce. The Community Support Award, which was presented to an entity who has shown DSNWK outstanding support, was given to Norton Oak Community Church in Hays.

Finally, DSNWK’s second Good Neighbor Award was presented to Jan Dysart of Hays who has shown outstanding support to an individual served in DSNWK’s Supported Living program.

DSNWK awarded three year CARF accreditation


Based on an intensive three day on site survey process conducted by CARF, Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas was recently notified that they received a three year accreditation for its programs which provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities. This accreditation outcome represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows DSNWK’s substantial conformance to the standards established by CARF. By receiving a Three Year Accreditation and putting itself through a rigorous peer review process, DSNWK continues to demonstrate that its programs and services are of the highest quality, measurable, and accountable.

“We take great pride in this achievement,” DSNWK President Jerry Michaud said. “Receiving a three year accreditation by CARF was made possible because of the tireless dedication of our staff. It is through their hard work and commitment that DSNWK continues to maintain a high level of quality programs and services for people with developmental disabilities, even amidst these most difficult times.”

CARF sent five surveyors to review DSNWK over a three day period. The surveyors came from all over the country and looked at DSNWK’s programs and services. “The organization has distinguished itself as a quality provider through its person centeredness; creativity; and the high degree of satisfaction expressed by persons served, families, referral sources, and community partners,” the CARF Survey Summary reads. “The organization is commended for its highly regarded program and services, strong leadership, and dedicated staff,” the survey continues.

DSNWK provides services and programs to those with developmental disabilities in an 18- county area in Northwest Kansas. Developmental centers and offices are located in Atwood, Hays, Hill City, Hoxie, Norton, Oakley, Russell and Stockton. CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process that centers on enhancing the lives of the persons served. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. DSNWK has been accredited with CARF since 1976.



DSNWK would like to invite you to view the annual art exhibition “Art Abilities ... Natural Talents” on display in the gallery at the Hays Public Library. Come out and see some of the exceptional talent on display from both staff and individuals served by DSNWK. The exhibit will held until November 26th.

Fall Fest is Special Day for All


More than 350 people from across the area, came together on October 28th for one of DSNWK’s most anticipated days of the year - Fall Fest. Cool temperatures did not cool the spirits of the large crowd who came to the Ellis County Fairgrounds for a day of fun and friendship.

Fall Fest, which was made possible through the generosity of Conrade Insurance, Hays Tees and Nex-Tech included a dance, a variety of games, a barbecue lunch. and for the first time a opportunity to go to the Copper Farms corn maze. “DSNWK would like to thank all of our sponsors for making Fall Fest possible, stated Steve Keil, Director of Development. Fall Fest is a very special day for the individuals we serve.”

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas would like for you to join us for a special Open House and help us celebrate 25 years in the Russell Community!


Friday, December 12th 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pioneer Developmental Center 15 N. Maple Stop in, learn more about the services we provide to people with developmental disabilities and enjoy some cake and punch! Tours of the Center and of the homes will be provided.

Employer Appreciation and Holiday Open


House Employment Connections 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Tuesday, December 16th 660 Commerce Parkway Enjoy refreshments, games, activities and visit with Santa.

Chronic Underfunding Forces DSNWK to Reduce Services Once Again


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas has announced that they are undergoing a restructuring of some of its services in NW Kansas in an effort to balance a deficit budget, brought on by chronic underfunding of community services for many years coupled with rising costs. DSNWK, a community based service provider for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, will be condensing its services and reducing its presence in some western Kansas communities.

This fall, DSNWK announced to individuals and their families the coming change with the elimination of its agency directed supported home care services. Most recently, DSNWK has announced an additional change to recipients of services in Oakley that they will no longer be able to continue making day and residential services available in the Oakley community, a location in which DSNWK has been providing services since 1993. Notice has been provided that these Day services will continue in Oakley through the end of December 2014 and these Residential support services will continue through the end of January, 2015. DSNWK is working with affected individuals and their families on understanding their options and assisting in the transition efforts.

In Hill City, DSNWK will be consolidating services through the is closing of one of their group homes serving six individuals. As a result, individuals will be moving to other locations with openings or offered alternative services. Other changes occurring throughout DSNWK include eliminating positions and reducing employee hours in Hays, Norton and Russell. Freezing capital expenditures and reducing monthly expenses agency-wide have also been implemented.

“These changes have been some of the most difficult steps we have had to take; action brought on by the chronic under-funding of the community support system. Our mission driven effort to provide services and supports has been relegated to reducing some of the very services and options for families and developed to meet the real needs of people and their families here in Northwest Kansas. The State Administration and the Legislature are those empowered to appropriate adequate and reasonable resources to address the essential needs of our most vulnerable Kansans. These setbacks are causing harm to core services and are negatively affecting the lives of people we have supported for decades, their families, and our staff who have been dedicated to implementing our Mission in their work efforts,” stated Jerry Michaud, President of DSNWK.

DSNWK has been faced with continuous funding shortages for many years. DSNWK’s core funding (HCBS Waiver) has not seen a rate increase since 2008. In 2008, because of funding shortages or cuts, DSNWK was forced to close their Colby location, consolidate residential service settings throughout their service area, and eliminate many staff positions to remain fiscally balanced.

“Unfortunately these changes are very necessary and reflect the real effect of what funding cuts and inadequate rates do to the community service network across the State of Kansas for persons with developmental disabilities. We appeal to our State Legislators, the Governor and policy makers to recognize the damage taking place, halt actions that may cause further damage and address the flat rates and push for the long overdue adjustments needed to course-correct the downward path of these essential services,” stated Michaud.