From The Superintendent Ryan Braun March 30, 2021

From The Superintendent

In March HCDDS joined others around Ohio and the United States to celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Although we share success stories all year, this dedicated month is another opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of people with DD, promote our services, and join in a larger conversation around accessibility and inclusion. Throughout March we highlighted people with DD and their families at all stages of life, and you can find those stories on our website and social media accounts.

March also marks a full year since COVID-19 upended nearly every aspect of our lives. This year has been incredibly difficult for so many people in our community. Many of us have lost loved ones, experienced isolation, and watched as hopes and plans for 2020 were shattered. Fortunately, we also found ways to come together and help each other as we navigated these challenging times. My heart goes out to those who have experienced challenges or loss throughout this pandemic, and I hope the coming year will be better for everyone.

Despite the ongoing difficulties, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is finally providing a reason for optimism. As you know, HCDDS has collaborated with Hamilton County Public Health to inoculate people we serve, DSPs, and caregivers who qualify in the early stages of Ohio’s phased vaccine distribution plan. So far, we’ve administered first doses to more than 1,800 people and fully vaccinated more than 1,500 people. Seeing people we serve receive their vaccines and breathe a sigh of relief has been incredible. I’m so thankful to Hamilton County Public Health and to our amazing staff members who have made our clinic a resounding success.

We also realize the pandemic has been difficult for our partners in the provider community. The past year has strained staff, decreased revenues, and increased costs for providers who have worked hard to continue to serve people while maintaining everyone’s safety. For the people we all serve, it’s critical that we maintain the vibrant and diverse array of provider options that currently exist in Hamilton County. In recognition of their increased costs and the importance of our provider community, HCDDS will be issuing sustainability grants in the coming weeks to every active provider in Hamilton County in good standing. Providers will receive more information about these grants soon.

Finally, I want to acknowledge our employees’ dedication to our mission and to families in Hamilton County. Our staff has found innovative ways to support people safely, used technology creatively and efficiently, and maintained the excellent service people expect from HCDDS. While many of our operations will remain remote until it is safe to fully return in-person, the skills and knowledge we’ve acquired during the past year will forever change our operations and the ways we support people. Our leadership team is actively planning for the future to ensure we incorporate these lessons and the skills we’ve acquired into our agency’s long-term plans.