Forty representatives from 20+ LSA-DN member organizations gathered in Chicago at the ELCA headquarters for the Summer 2015 meeting on August 6 & 7. Network members learned from each other and several expert speakers about emerging trends in supports for people with disabilities. The network also celebrated the upcoming retirements of both Cindy Schroeder from Mosaic and Bill Nolan from KenCrest. Bill and Cindy have been the backbone of LSA-DN for many years and will be truly missed!
George Klauser, Executive Director of the Altair ACO from Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, shared best practices and lessons learned from the project’s initial implementation. Altair is comprised of six of Minnesota’s leading social service providers, including fellow LSA-DN member Mount Olivet Rolling Acres, and a health care practice specializing in care to individuals with disabilities. Altair serves as the mechanism to manage collaboration across organizations and services and create quality measurement and data sharing tools to track outcomes and share best practices.
Dr. David Mank, Director of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University, spoke to new research and pilot programs to increase competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities. Furthermore, Dr. Mank outlined the federal government’s current efforts to encourage employment for people with disabilities through the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities. Dr. Mank is the chair of this committee.
Ilsa Flanagan, Director of the Reframing Initiative at the National Human Services Assembly (NHSA), explained the results and lessons learning from NHSA’s extensive research into public conceptions of social services. Working through concrete examples, Ilsa discussed how current messages could be reworked to better build public support for the services provided by LSA-DN members. Ilsa will be returning to our February meeting to conduct a half day workshop for DN members who are interested in more in depth work on this topic.
In addition, 15+ representatives attended an innovation tour of Evanston's Center for Independent Futures (CIF). CIF is a unique model of completely person-centered support in the community for people with disabilities that is primarily driven by families. LSA-DN members met with staff from every program area at CIF and then toured multiple homes to meet with supported individuals.
Thank you to the ELCA and LSS of Illinois for their hospitality and assistance with meeting planning!