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Board of DD Announces Free and Reduced Price Meals Policy

CADIZ – Preschool classes at the Harrison County Board of Developmental Disabilities for the 2017-18 school year will begin on August 28, 2017. Classes are held Monday through Thursday and limited transportation is available.

Breakfast and lunch are available at the school. Breakfast is $1.25 for full price and 30 cents reduced. Lunch prices are $2.25 for students with reduced lunches priced at 40 cents.

For information on the preschool offered by the Harrison County Board of Developmental Disabilities, call Director of Operations Brittany Wood at 740-942-2158 or email brittany.wood@hcbdd.org

Harrison County Board of DD today announced its 2017-2018 program year policy for Free and Reduced-Price Meals for students unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. The school office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

The Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines will be used for determining eligibility. Children from families whose annual income is at or below the Federal Guidelines are eligible for free and reduced price meals.

Application forms are being distributed to all homes in a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free and reduced-price benefits, households should fill out the application and return it to the school. Additional copies are available at the principal’s office in each school. A complete application is required. Households which currently receive Special Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits (SNAP, formally known as food stamps) or Ohio Works First (OWF) funds for a child must provide the child’s name, the SNAP or OWF case number and signature of an adult household member on the application. Households which do not receive SNAP or OWF funds must provide the names of all household members, the last four digits of the Social Security Number of the adult signing the application or state “none” if the adult does not have a Social Security Number, the amount and source of income received by each household member, (state the monthly income) and the signature of an adult household member. If any of this information is missing, the school cannot process the application.

FREE HEALTH CARE: Families with children eligible for school meals may be eligible for FREE health care coverage through Medicaid and/or Ohio’s Healthy Start & Healthy Families programs. These programs include coverage for doctor visits, immunizations, physicals, prescriptions, dental, vision, mental health, substance abuse and more. Please call 1-800-324-8680 for more information or to request an application. Information can also be found on the web at http://jfs.ohio.gov/ohp/consumers/familychild.stm. Anyone who has an Ohio Medicaid card is already receiving these services.

The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used only for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program official. To discourage the possibility of misrepresentation, the application forms contain a statement above the space for signature certifying that all information furnished is true and correct. Applications are being made in connection with the receipt of federal funds. Schools or other officials may check the information on the application at any time during the school year. Deliberate misrepresentation of information may subject the applicant to prosecution under applicable state and federal laws.

Households will be notified of the approval or denial of benefits.

Foster children are categorically eligible for free meal benefits regardless of the household’s income. If a family has foster children living with them and wishes to apply for such meals or milk for them, contact the school for more information.

Under the provision of the policy, Heather Hanson will review applications and determine eligibility. If a parent or guardian disagrees with the decision on the application or the result of verification, the decision may be discussed with the determining official on an informal basis. If a formal appeal is desired, the household has the right to a fair hearing. A fair hearing can be requested either orally or in writing from:

Richard Schoene, Superintendent
Belmont-Harrison Career Center
82500 Cadiz-Jewett Road
Cadiz, OH 43907

The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure.

Households may apply for benefits any time during the school year. If a household is not currently eligible and if the household size increases or income decreases because of unemployment or other reasons, the family should contact the school to file a new application. Such changes may make the children of the family eligible for free or reduced-price benefits if the family income falls at or below the levels shown above.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


BHN Alliance Director Named Child Advocate of the Year

Darlene Pempek is shown accepting the Child Advocate of the Year Award from Vince Gianangeli, Director of the Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services. Pempek is the Director of Community Supports for the BHN Alliance and the award was bestowed on her at the Annual Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Luncheon held April 6 at Undo’s West in St. Clairsville. Also pictured with Pempek and Gianangeli are, from left: Stephen L. Williams, Superintendent of the BHN Alliance, and Commissioner J.P. Dutton, and Judge Frank Fregiato (far right), who was emcee of the program.Darlene Pempek, Director of Community Supports for the BHN Alliance, received the Child Advocate of the Year honor today at the Annual Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Lunch held at Undo’s West in St. Clairsville.

The recognition was given by the Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services and the Belmont County Commissioners.

Pempek is well-known across the county from her work in the Commissioners’ office from 1989-2005, serving as the Board of Commissioners’ Clerk for 10 years.

Pempek joined the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities in 2005 where she oversees the coordination of supports for families of children with disabilities in Belmont, Harrison and Noble counties (BHN Alliance). She also represents the Alliance at the county Clusters where she collaborates with the other agencies to serve youth at risk.

In presenting the award, Belmont County DJFS Director Vince Gianangeli noted Pempek’s strong support of county agencies when she was still in the commissioners’ office. He also pointed out the influence of Pempek’s older brother, the late Chet Kalis, who served as Director of Belmont DJFS and later District Manager for the State of Ohio Job and Family Services. He said that she credits him with helping her find her purpose and calling through his example of selfless commitment to others.

In accepting the honor, Pempek said she was blessed to be part of a collaborative team across Belmont County that works together for the benefit of children.

“In order for effective treatment to occur and families to remain together, coordination is imperative,” Pempek said.

She noted the positive influence one person can have on an abused child looking for hope.
“Any one of us can be that hope for a child – any one of us by our actions, our words, can be the one that touches a young life and enlightens that hope,” Pempek said.

Pempek and her husband, Gary, are the parents of two adult daughters and grandparents to two grandsons.


Preschool Open House a Success

Retired teacher Wanda Swelbar and her student, Jeremy Thompson were two of those who enjoyed seeing one another again at the Harrison County Board of DD Preschool Open House on March 8th. Former students and teachers were invited to attend and many did. Dozens of class photos lined the walls and many paused to reminisce and search for themselves in the pictures. The open house was followed by the annual basketball game between Mattern Tire and Harrison Special Olympians.


County Boards of DD Mark 50 Years of Support

The Ohio Legislature created a unique and vital resource for people with developmental disabilities in 1967 and that resource continues to be a lifelong support 50 years later.

Always There 50 YearsOhio’s County Boards of Developmental Disabilities are celebrating their 50th Anniversary in 2017. The year-long theme - Always There - reflects the continuity of support, promotion of opportunity and history of partnership county boards have offered to the people they serve throughout the past, in the present and in the future.

Throughout the next year, the Belmont, Harrison and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (BHN Alliance) will be sharing stories of what people are achieving in their community.

“Our goal with any effort like this is to build awareness and understanding around what people with disabilities are achieving and how we are there to support their efforts,” said BHN Alliance Superintendent Stephen Williams.

County Boards are responsible for the coordination and funding of quality supports and services people need and this can begin at birth and continue throughout a person’s entire life. Supports funded or provided by the county boards include early intervention for infants and toddlers with developmental delays; transition services to help young adults successfully move from school to work; job-related skill training and employment for adults; and personal growth, residential and transportation services.

Williams noted that some people have intensive needs requiring constant care while others are more independent, living, working and contributing to their community with minimal supports from the County Board.

“We believe in the inherent right of all people to make their own decisions about what they want out of life,” Williams said. “Our mission then is to be there as a support as they seek what matters the most to them.”

The BHN Alliance is a partnership between the three county boards that share a person-centered approach to identifying, coordinating and delivering supports to more than 700 eligible children and adults in Belmont, Harrison and Noble counties.

Former Students, Families Invited to Preschool Open House

Preschool teacher Kim Davia and former student Randy McMillen are looking forward to the annual preschool open house at the Harrison County Board of DD on March 8th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Former students, families and staff are encouraged to attend and reminisce with one another. Old photos will be on hand to look at and refreshments served. The preschool is located at 82480 Cadiz-Jewett Road, Cadiz.CADIZ – Former students, families and staff who have been part of the Harrison County Board of Developmental Disabilities Preschool are invited to return for its annual open house on Wed., March 8, 2017 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The preschool is located at 82480 Cadiz-Jewett Road, Cadiz, and the public is also invited to attend.

Director of Operations Brittany Wood said staff has been reminiscing about former students this year and wanted to invite them back.
“Our teachers and staff have been going through old photos and will have them available for visitors to see at the open house,” said Brittany Wood, Director of Operations.
The first preschool class was offered by the Harrison County Board of DD for the 1983-84 school year.

Harrison CBDD preschool offers all-day classes for children with and without disabilities five days per week. Rene’ Walsh, Kim Davia and Amanda Glasure are the teachers.

Also taking place on March 8th is the annual basketball game between Mattern Tire and Harrison Special Olympians, who will face off at 6:30 p.m. in the gymnasium.

The Harrison County Board of Developmental Disabilities is the primary funder of supports for more than 100 children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. Supports include early intervention for infants and toddlers; preschool and school-age supports; transition from school to work; job-related training, employment, personal growth, respite, residential, transportation and 24-hour emergency assistance. For more information, call 740-942-2158 or log onto www.hcbdd.org 






Rising Above Trauma Focus of Training

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – People with disabilities experience more abuse than others, yet their needs often go undertreated or minimized, even though the trauma continues to have an impact on their lives years after the abuse occurred. This fact has led the BHN Alliance to adopt a Trauma-Informed Care approach to supporting people with disabilities and why it is bringing two leading authorities on trauma-informed care to its annual staff in-service in March.
Mary Vicario and Carol Hudgins-Mitchell of Cincinnati-based Finding Hope Consulting will address the gap in training available to communities by turning current brain chemistry research into practical interventions for people with developmental disabilities who have experienced trauma.

Through her ongoing trauma training at Harvard Medical School, Mary Vicario, LPCC-S takes the latest trauma research and works with her audience to share and develop interventions that can be used in a variety of settings by those who work most closely with traumatized people of all ages and abilities. She has trained on trauma worldwide for 25 years.

Carol Hudgins-Mitchell, M.Ed., LSW, NBCCH is a Certified Trauma Specialist who works with children and families around issues of trauma, grief and facilitating attachment.

Carol has over 30 years of experience in trauma treatment with a specialty in early childhood, relational and play therapy.
The BHN Alliance Staff In-Service will be held at Thoburn United Methodist Church in St. Clairsville on March 28th. Lunch will be provided for the all-day training.
A limited number of seats are available to provider partners across the Alliance. For more information, call Darlene Pempek at 740-695-0407, ext. 330.

2017 DD Awareness/Advocacy Day

Mark your calendars now for the annual DD Advocacy and Awareness Day that will be held March 8, 2017 in Columbus. This is an annual event at the Ohio Statehouse designed to educate and empower people with developmental disabilities, their families, and community members. The morning program features speeches from prominent advocates, state policymakers, and community leaders. The event is funded by a grant through the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council.

Pre-registration is required for attendance, and a limited number of tickets are available. Registration for the 2017 event has not opened.


DD Board’s Preschool Earns 5 Star Rating

Pictured is the 5-Star Quality staff of the preschool program operated by the Harrison County Board of Developmental Disabilities. From left: Lainey Rinkes, teacher assistant; Kim Davia, teacher; Marchita Deyoe and Sandy Rose, teacher assistants; Rene’ Walsh and Amanda Glasure, teachers; and Brittany Wood, Director of Operations for the Harrison County Board of DD.Following a rigorous review of its practices and standards, the Harrison County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ preschool program has been awarded a 5-Star rating from the State of Ohio.

Step Up To Quality is a Five-Star Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System created to recognize and promote early learning and development programs that meet quality standards over and above the health and safety licensing requirements.

SUTQ is established by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Ohio Department of Education. The 5-Star Award is the highest rating granted.

“Our little preschool program receiving five stars shows the amount of work, effort and dedication the staff put into the program,” said Brittany Wood, Director of Operations for the Harrison County Board of DD. “When it comes to working with children, families and our community, we don’t just do the minimum.”

For several months, ODE reviewers pored over documents, procedures and other information provided about the overall program, staff, and community before an unannounced on-site visit took place in September. Staff interviews and classroom observations were part of the on-site review.

“Each year we make a promise to provide a high quality education to the children and families we support,” said Harrison CBDD Superintendent Stephen L. Williams. “The 5-Star Award proves that we are living up to that promise.”

The preschool staff is comprised of teachers Kim Davia, Rene’ Walsh and Amanda Glasure. Classroom assistants are Lainey Rinkes, Marchita Deyoe, and Sandy Rose. The preschool is also staffed by administrative assistant Heather Culbertson; custodian Margie Mazgaj; Business Manager Lori Balvin; EI Developmental Specialist Cortney Yarish; and Continuous Improvement Coordinator Dawn Miller.

ODE currently requires each preschool program to enroll in and complete Step Up to Quality.


STABLE accounts let people save money without losing benefits

For the first time ever, people with disabilities can now save and invest in their futures without losing government benefits.

For Lorri and John Phillips of Scio, that means being able to put money aside for their daughter Staci’s future with confidence.

This ability to save is offered through STABLE Accounts, made possible by the federal ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act and administered in Ohio by State Treasurer Josh Mandel.

A STABLE Account is an investment account that allows people to put their money in up to five different saving and investment options. Balances and distributions do not affect needs-based benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The investment option was the appeal of a STABLE account for Lorri and John.

“Stocks and bonds are really exciting to me and since we are investing long-term, her money will hopefully grow,” Lorri said.

The maximum yearly contribution limit is currently $14,000 with a maximum lifetime contribution of $414,000.

Staci’s STABLE account is an investment in her future, yet it is so much more.

“(STABLE) is not just for the future, it can be used for education and other things Staci wants and needs now,” Lorri said.

She’s right.

The money can be used when needed and the investment earnings are tax-free when used to pay for qualified expenses, like housing, transportation, employment training, health and wellness, and others.

Account set up and enrollment is done online and participants can monitor their investments, make contributions and request withdrawals, all online.

Lorri learned about STABLE accounts more than a year ago and was ready to go once they opened on June 1, 2016, making Staci the first person in the BHN Alliance to open a STABLE Account.

Lorri said the process was easy. When she made an error in the application, she called the toll-free number and a representative helped her correct it.
Staci Phillips and her mom, Lorri, look over a brochure explaining Ohio’s new STABLE Account that lets people with disabilities save and invest money.

Staci’s parents considered a trust, but they felt more secure with a STABLE account.

“We are not going to be around forever and we want things to be available for Staci when she gets older,” Lorri said.

To learn how a STABLE Account might benefit you or someone you know, call 1-800-439-1653.

To enroll, go to www.stableaccount.com



Make the Connection
By Stephen L. Williams

How connected are you?

We don't often think about our connections, yet they are how things get done. Our first and most important connection is to our family, the people we love, nurture and support. After our families are community connections – our friends, coworkers, the people we worship with and volunteer alongside. Connections are in the fabric of our lives, so when we pause to answer the question, it's easy to see that a life without connection is not much of a life at all.

For some time now, the Belmont, Harrison and Noble county boards of developmental disabilities have been at work connecting people to their community. This purposeful effort started by asking the people we support what they wanted and then listening - really listening - to their answers. Their answers included statements like "I want a job where I can make more money" and "I want to live closer to my family" and "I want to learn how to drive a car."

Armed with those answers, we set our course to make these goals and ambitions happen. We do this by connecting people with disabilities to their community and we are seeing real results. Every day someone else is engaged in their community and everyone is better because of it.

You see, connections are not about programs, processes, or systems. They are about relationships, the kind that link people to what matters the most. What does this look like? It looks like a young man whose goal is to help senior citizens so he finds a job in a nursing home. It looks like a young woman who collects toys so children without can have a happier holiday. It looks like an adult who has always wanted to read and then finds the Adult Basic Education teacher who will take the time to teach him. These ambitions are all accomplished through connections.

The 2015 awareness theme we have chosen is MAKE THE CONNECTION. Ready. Willing. Able. It is a call to action that our community is already answering. Business owners, churches, schools, civic organizations and neighbors are embracing what the people we support have to offer and our community is better because of it.

Consider becoming a connection for someone today. It will have a lasting impact on you, the person you connect with, and your community.

Make the connection and make a difference in the life of someone you have yet to meet.


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