EATON — While there have been (and continues to be) many changes taking place in the delivery of services to individuals with developmental disabilities across Ohio and locally over the past 43 years, there has been one constant – the Preble County Board of Developmental Disabilities remains dedicated to supporting individuals with developmental disabilities offering them the best opportunities to live, learn, work and socialize as they choose.
PCBDD is committed to providing accountability and choices for individuals and families who receive services through the board. With these choices, however, comes change.
Compared to the early years when individuals with a developmental disability were thought to be non-citizens, many new and exciting opportunities exist today. This is occurring across the United States, in Ohio and in Preble County. Listed below are private providers who support individuals who receive services through PCBDD.
All of these providers are reflected in PCBDD’s vision of assuring individuals that they can choose to lead the kind and quality of life they want.
Two major changes of note are among many milestones in the history of PCBDD. When Senate Bill 79 passed unanimously in both Ohio houses of the legislature in 2009, the term “mental retardation” was dropped from the name in all 88 county boards and at the state level. For more than 40 years, this term had been used in a negative and hurtful way to describe individuals with developmental disabilities.
And, in keeping with providing more opportunities, the PCBDD Board of Directors voted on Sept. 10, 2013, to make L&M Products, Inc. an independent/private provider of services in Preble County. L&M officially became a private provider on July 1, 2014.
Preble County was not alone in the privatization process. In 2013 (see map), there were 14 counties that had already privatized and seven counties (including Preble) were in the process of doing so.
Today, 27 counties are privatized and 24 are in the process of privatizing. The remaining Ohio’s counties are discussing their future plans to come into compliance.
The reasons for these changes came about as a result of federal and state level initiatives, including conflict-free case management. Under the guidelines established by the Center for Medicaid Services (CMS), county boards are no longer allowed to provide direct services through workshops or industry programs while providing SSA case management services. The traditional model of the County Board providing direct services through workshops or industry programs had to change, which is why L&M became a private provider. If the board had not voted to make L&M a private provider, the board would have ultimately lost federal and state funding.
These are only a few examples PCBDD has experienced over its storied history. PCBDD traces its beginnings to a grassroots effort by parents who wanted an education for their sons and daughters with developmental disabilities. For about a century, through 1950, parents of children with developmental disabilities in Ohio had two choices:
1) They could send their child to a large state institution to receive services, giving up daily contact, or;
2) They could raise their child at home doing whatever they thought was right. Parents in Ohio continued to seek help for their children – for their education and for a better life. In 1952, the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) was founded. The Association’s first duties were as advocates, developers, organizers and providers of transportation to children with disabilities. The ARC continues today in many counties throughout Ohio.
In July 1967, as a result of Senate Bill 169, Ohio established County Boards of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities known as “169 Boards”. These are the forerunner of today’s Boards of Developmental Disabilities.
Locally, the Preble County Developmental Training Center (DTC) was established in 1971 by parents of multi-handicapped children. In 1975 Congress passed Public Law 94-142 (now know as IDEA) in order for school districts to receive federal fund and state funds requiring them to implement policies and procedures that assured a free and appropriate education to all children with disabilities. The DTC was created to address an unmet need for families – prior to the changes in federal law. By establishing a training facility within the county, children had the opportunity to benefit from modern training and facilities without being removed from their beneficial influences of their home and community environments. The Developmental Training Center provided individualized training programs for Preble County children, birth through age 21.
The Preble County 169 Board held its first meeting in January 1973. In June 1978, a levy was passed to support the operations and that would become the first local tax dollars used to support local residents with developmental disabilities. By 1979, the number of individuals receiving services had grown to 41.
In August 2008, Preble County residents showed their support again for the PCBDD by supporting a 1-mill levy. This passage allowed services to continue for the entire program.
PCBDD has an Early Intervention childhood program that provides services to children (birth through age 2) and their families in a family-focused home setting, emphasizing parent participation. Children in the program range in age from birth to two. Children are provided opportunities to develop to their fullest potential.
Recently, the PLAY Project began in Eaton, National Trail and Preble Shawnee preschool and kindergarten classrooms. PLAY (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) is a program designed for children with autism and provides training to parents and educators. It is an evidence-based autism, early intervention program.
The Service and Supports Administration Department (SSA) provides opportunities to assist people with disabilities to define and pursue a quality of life he or she chooses. SSA team members work with eligible individuals age three and older to provide information to help people make choices throughout their journey in life. SSAs serve as the primary point of coordination for individuals and assist with the development of their person centered plan, free choice of provider, monitoring of health and welfare and crisis intervention services (24/7). SSAs promote and support individuals choices in how they want to live, work, learn and socialize in their communities.
1973 – Preble County Adult Workshop incorporated by State of Ohio, enrolling 14 people.
1978 – Educational program charters for school-age and preschool programs given to county boards.
1984-85 – Ohio Association of County Boards of MRDD established.
1986 – Case management (now known as Service, Support Administration) becomes mandated county board service with state funding.
1990 – President George Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
1991 – Supporting full inclusion, school children were transitioned from the PCBMRDD school program to their local school districts where they lived.
2001 – PCBMRDD serving over 275 individuals.
2002 – PCBMRDD forms Community & Support Services Department. This action combines case management and community residential services, adding quality assurance and more.
2005 – PCBMRDD serving over 287 individuals.
2005 – People First self-advocacy group forms.
2007 – Special Olympics return to Preble County for first time in 14 years.
2008 – PCBMRDD celebrates 35 years of service.
2008 – Kylie Person Memorial Garden and Susan Melzer Memorial Walking Path dedicated at 201 E. Lexington Rd., Eaton. This beautiful area was created with no taxpayer dollars.
2009 – Passage of SB 79 paves way for county boards to drop the term “mental retardation” from their names across Ohio. The new name is Preble County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
2013 – PCBDD celebrates 40 years of service to the Preble County community.
2014 – The Brooke-Gould A.S.K. Accessible Playground is dedicated at 201 E. Lexington Rd., Eaton. The playground is totally accessible and was built using no taxpayer dollars. Many generous donations from the community and grants made the playground possible.
2014 – After more than 40 years of PCBDD being a service provider, L&M Products, Inc. becomes an independent provider. This came about as a result of new guidelines established at the federal government level from the Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding conflict-free case management. Under these rules, county boards are no longer allowed to provide direct services through workshops or industry programs while providing SSA case management services at the same time. Thus, L&M became a private provider.
2015 – PLAY Project begins in Eaton, National Trail and Preble Shawnee schools. PLAY (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) is a program designed for children with autism and provides training to parents and educators. It is an evidence-based autism early intervention program.
2016 – Ranging in age from birth through 91, PCBDD provides supports for more than 375 individuals.
PCBDD has a proud history of providing quality services to individuals with developmental disabilities. PCBDD supports all eligible individuals by increasing community relationships through collaboration, information, education and participation. As the agency celebrates its 43rd anniversary, one thing is for certain – it continues to proudly support individuals who are making a positive difference in their lives and in the community!
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories about the Preble County Board of DD and the many services and opportunities individuals gain through the agency. Next, the series will explore how funds are used to support these individuals. For additional information, refer to the PCBDD web site at www.prebledd.org.