As we approach the start of summer, I hope you’re enjoying the weather and all our region has to offer. It’s been a busy year, and as we look forward to the rest of 2023, I want to share a few updates about our work.
I’m proud to present our 2022 Annual Report to the Community. This year’s report showcases the impact we had last year as we pursued our mission to promote and support opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to live, work, learn, and fully participate in their communities. The highlights and information in our annual report are deeply connected with the focus areas identified in our 2022-2024 Strategic Plan and the action steps found in our 2022 Annual Plan. I hope you’ll take some time to look through this important document and learn more about our success last year which wouldn’t be possible without our employees, provider and community partners, and the people we support and their families.
I’m also excited to share that we’ll be adding a new team in our Office of Early Intervention (EI). In our Strategic and Annual Plans, we set a goal to increase outreach to families who might qualify for EI services. Those efforts to better connect with families have led to more families accessing this critical service from our agency. This expanded team will include new evaluator positions and additional developmental specialist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and speech language pathologist roles. We started to post some of these job openings and will continue to share others during the summer. Our EI team has been working hard to keep up with growing needs while maintaining quality services, and adding an additional EI team will help us provide the best possible services to children and families.
Finally, we continue to support the efforts of our partners in a statewide budget coalition to educate lawmakers about the need to increase wages for direct support professionals (DSPs). Members of the Ohio Legislature and Governor DeWine’s administration have shown a strong interest in supporting DSPs as they continue to work through the budget process, and we hope the final approved budget will include significant increases to DSP wages. Throughout this process, local advocates have shared their testimony with lawmakers in Columbus. This process is not yet finished, and we will continue to advocate on behalf of our DSPs and our provider community. The House of Representatives has passed its version of the budget, and the Senate is currently considering its own version. The House and Senate will need to agree on a final budget that must be signed by the Governor by June 30. If you would like to submit testimony and make your voice heard, you can learn more here.
Thanks again to all our stakeholders who play a role in building a strong community of support for people with developmental disabilities in Hamilton County.