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  1. PEN A Public Engagement Newsletter (PEN) About What’s Happening At DHS! Volume 1, Issue 1, September 30th , 2011 [Covering July/August/September]

  2. As part of our ongoing public engagement efforts, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) is committed to engaging residents to assist us in the development of policy for the department, help increase greater access and awareness of our programs and services, and advise DHS on community issues surrounding our most vulnerable populations. While there are many wonderful and innovative things happening inside of our more than 120 local offices across the state, behind the scenes DHS is also bringing new voices together to create direct dialogue with executives from DHS to help translate those conversations into action. Our new, quarterly Public Engagement Newsletterwill serve as a catalyst to inform you about those public engagement efforts and give you an up-close and personal look at some of those activities, meetings and conversations with groups and individuals that are happening on a daily basis. At the same time, we’ll highlight how our programs and services are changing the lives of individuals and families all across the State from prevention to rehabilitation. In this, our inaugural issue, you’ll hear how provider input helped shape the new “Community Services Agreement,” learn about “DHS’ Unity Day;” get a briefing on the “21st BIG TEN SNAP Education & Training Conference;” find out how our students from ICRE-R placed in the “Special Olympics Spring Games;” and hear about a special visit from Secretary Michelle R. B. Saddler to the Illinois School for the Deaf and the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired’s 2011 Graduation Ceremonies!!! But that’s not all, keep reading to learn more about other public engagement efforts taking place at DHS every day…enjoy!

  3. New DHS Community Services Agreement to Improve Reporting & Performance DHS has established a workgroup comprised of DHS staff and providers to discuss and improve the revised Community Services Agreement (CSA) that DHS introduced this fiscal year. Responding to the sense of urgency to move Budgeting for Results forward within IDHS and capitalizing on the FY12 provider contract process CSAs(delete CSAs), the Department was able to make some changes that will greatly improve alignment with the Procurement Business Case (PBC) goals. ■ Drafted and incorporated a separate article in the FY12 CSA dealing specifically with Performance Reporting requirements. ■Will standardize exhibits across all contracts, so there are designated documents attached to the contract which clearly specify deliverables, performance measures, and/or performance standards. ■Will include Exhibit B, which lists specific performance measures, in every FY12 Community Service Agreement. Performance measures will no longer be incorporated via reference to a program manual, but explicitly identified in the Exhibit. ■ Exhibits pertaining to deliverables, performance measure reporting (and performance standards, if applicable) will be included in the CSA Tracking system making them electronically accessible in a centralized database. IDHS will revisit these contract elements in preparation for the FY13 CSA process to ensure needed adjustments and improvements are implemented.

  4. DHS Unity Day Now in its Seventh year, the Illinois Department of Human Services has partnered with JLM Abundant Life Center in Chicago to present “DHS Unity Day: Overcoming Struggles to Promote Good Health and Well Being through Serving Others.” Parents, young adults, seniors and children gathered from the surrounding Garfield and Austin areas to participate in a day-long event featuring seminars, health workshops, resources for seniors, a gathering of social service agencies, displays from community-based organizations and other governmental agencies, as well as a job fair and free lunch. Despite the ongoing budget battles, DHS Secretary Michelle R. B. Saddler delivered a keynote address to a crowd of more than 350 jubilant participants that focused on the agency’s new mission of “creating a culture of caring for our customers and one another.” If you would like to partner with DHS on next year’s Unity Day, please contact Corey Sullivan at (773) 638-3070 (v), (888) 340-0897 (tty) or by email Infant and Maternal Mortality Summit Last week, the Illinois Department of Human Services, in partnership with several other organizations, sponsored an Infant and Maternal Mortality Summit to facilitate a dialogue and build an action plan with short- and long-term objectives, with the goal of reducing infant and maternal mortality disparities in Illinois: Topics of dialogue and discussion included: ■ Briefing on the 2011 spring legislative session and its impact on MCH ■ The Affordable Care Act and provisions for mothers, children and families ■Regional best practices in infant mortality reduction initiatives ■Breast-feeding and obesity training ■ Illinois’ Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program Partners: The University of Chicago Medical Center; Illinois Maternal & Child Health Coalition; Sudden Infant Death Services (SIDS) of Illinois Inc.; UIC Maternal and Child Health Program School of Public Health; MedImmune; and the March of Dimes.

  5. DHS Appoints New Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities We are pleased to announce the appointment of Kevin T. Casey as the new Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities Kevin began his career as a special education teacher. He has 41 years of experience in serving people with developmental disabilities. He served from 2003 through early 2011 as Deputy Secretary with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. There he led the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) including service programs, business operations, and contracting with outside community organizations. He was Executive Director of the statewide Disability Rights Network in Pennsylvania from 1989 to 2003. Casey also has experience serving as Executive Director of two other provider organizations, Encor and the McLean County ARC. He was Vice President of Bethage which provides services to persons with disabilities in Texas, Connecticut and Iowa. Casey has a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Sciences and a Masters Degree in Special Education from Illinois State University. Kevin's knowledge and expertise in budgets, strategic planning and administering state and federal regulations will be invaluable in leading the division during such challenging economic times. Kevin T. Casey, Director Secretary Saddler Visits New Forensic Unit at McFarland Mental Health Center Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler visited Andrew McFarland Mental Health Center in Aug. and met with staff and toured the facility.  She received a first-hand look at the newly renovated forensic unit that is scheduled to open this fall in the 45 year old Lincoln Hall North.  McFarland currently serves 40 counties in Central Illinois with 82 civil beds and 24 forensic beds located on 89 wooded acres. The hospital’s mission is to provide recovery within a safe, empowering environment that encourages wellness. McFarland MHC’s violence reduction initiative has successfully reduced restraint and seclusion use. The hospital had a 54 percent reduction in restraint episodes from FY 10 to FY 11. In August, DHS Secretary Michelle R. B. Saddler tours the new forensic unit at McFarland Mental Health Center in Springfield.  Pictured (left to right) are DHS Secretary Saddler; Karen Schweighart, MSN, Hospital Administrator of the McFarland MHC; Dr. Robert Vyverberg, Chief of Staff, DMH; and Jordan J. Litvak, LCSW, Executive Director, DHS/DMH Regions 3 and 4.

  6. DHS Touts Vocational Rehabilitation Success Stories Through Outreach Campaign The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program provides an array of services to people with disabilities including vocational counseling, college and vocational training, job placement, as well as employer consultations and financial incentives.  More than 30,000 customers have found employment in the past five years. To engage and encourage more people to succeed, DHS is spreading the word about DRS’ VR program through a multi-media public outreach campaign funded through a grant supported by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) dollars.  “We want everyone to know about the many services DHS provides through the VR program.  We are working to build partnerships with employers to help more people with disabilities find good jobs.” said IDHS Secretary Michelle R. B. Saddler.  “We hope that by hearing these amazing stories, people find out about how DRS vocational rehabilitation services have helped others and realize that their success could be your success.” DRS recorded testimonials from several customers who have successfully entered the workforce and employers who have worked with the VR program and hired persons with disabilities.  The department partnered with the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) to produce public service messages that started airing in July on 20 TV and 200 radio stations throughout the state.  The theme of the spots is “Could their success be your success?”  Additionally, this fall DHS is also working with outdoor advertisers to display 18 billboards throughout the state featuring some of the DRS success stories. The theme is “Have a Disability and Need a Job? My Success can be Your Success.” Interested persons may call toll-free at (877) 761-9780 (v), (866) 264-2149 (tty) or by video (866) 588-0401. More information is available on the IDHS/DRS web site: 

  7. Asians with Disabilities Outreach Project Think-Tank (ADOPT) Two years ago, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) took the proactive step of creating an initiative to reach out to Asians with disabilities. In the process, DHS’ Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) chose to partner with UIC to develop the Asians with Disability Outreach Project Think-Tank (ADOPT). Over the last 18 months, ADOPT and DRS has partnered with 40 organizations, including the Minority Business Development Agency and the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, to increase knowledge and opportunities for hiring Asians with disabilities. As of result of these partnerships, in April 2011, Chicago’s first disability business forum was held. More than 100 participants from various sectors, including local businesses, government, academia, and nonprofits, joined this multi-agency movement. We were also fortunate to have Commissioner Daphne Kwok of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. At the forum, speakers discussed several advantages of hiring Asians with disabilities: an increased employee retention rate, better productivity, and insight into a multibillion-dollar overlooked market. Considerable time was spent combating myths about disability in the workplace. For example, persons with disabilities are NOT more likely to require more of a supervisor’s time, increase legal costs, or be absent from work. Please consider contacting us to learn more about the many options available for improving your profit margins by hiring someone with a disability. We will connect you to relevant information about tax breaks and to local community and government agencies. You can do good (in our society) AND do well (financially) by hiring someone with a disability, and we are here to help you navigate the process. For more information, contact Rooshey Hasnain, Ed.D. at (312) 413-0416 (v), (312) 413-0453 (tty) or by email Partners: Ability Chicago; Access Living; Asian American Institute (AAI); Asian Human Services of Chicago (AHS); Chinatown Chamber of Commerce; Chinese American Service League (CASL); Chinese Mutual Aid Association (CMAA); Community Counseling Center of Chicago (C4); Commission on Human Relations; Council on Asian American Affairs; Help at Home Inc.; Disability Works; Great Lakes ADA Center, UIC; Individual Advocate; Midwest Asian Health Association (MAHA); Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA); Chicago Regional Office; Organizations for Chinese Americans (OCA); Standard India Restaurant; and the Tony Gourmet Group. Interested individuals can also access DRS program information and complete an online referral by visiting our website at  or for more information call (877) 761-9780 (v) or (866) 264-2149 (tty).

  8. 21st Big Ten Snap Education & Training Conference The DHS Division of Human Capital Development hosted the 21st BIG TEN SNAP Education & Training Conference at the Hyatt Regency at McCormick Place, Aug. 2 through Aug. 4, 2011. DHS Secretary Michelle R. B. Saddler welcomed more than 350 participants to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) conference, which included USDA/FNS Undersecretary, Kevin Concannon; Jessica Shahin, Associate Administrator for SNAP; and more than 200 staff from out-of-state. Twenty-four workshops were offered to participants with a curriculum ranging from maximizing production capacity to improving customer service. The BIG TEN SNAP collaborative is a joint partnership between the USDA Midwest Regional Office of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and the six Midwest States (Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan). The focus of the Regional BIG TEN SNAP initiative is to promote improvement in SNAP payment accuracy and the administration of SNAP benefits. The BIG TEN SNAP Education & Training Conference also gives out awards to local offices who have achieved high levels of payment accuracy in SNAP. With more than 864,000 SNAP households and a total of 1.8 million people, Illinois turned in an exceptional performance for FFY 2010, with the Highest Payment Accuracy in the nation and was awarded $3.4 million in bonus money. The following Family Community Resource Centers were awarded plaques for achieving accuracy rates of 98% or higher: ■ Woodlawn 100% ■ Food Stamp E & T 100% ■ Will 99.7% ■ Roseland 99.7% ■ Northern 99.6% ■ West Suburban 98.7% ■ Southeast 98.4% ■ Lake 98.3% ■ Winnebago 98.1%

  9. Beginning the Conversation: A Statewide Policy Summit on Advancing Bidirectional Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration Never before have the changes and the implications of decisions and policy formulation for healthcare been more dramatic, fast moving and impactful. That’s why this past June the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health partnered with the Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and sponsored, “Beginning the Conversation: A Statewide Policy Summit on Advancing Bidirectional Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration” in Chicago, IL. The goals for the Summit included: ■ Providing a compelling business case and highlighting the other benefits for integrating behavioral health services to the administrative and clinical leadership at all healthcare providers including hospitals, mental health centers, substance abuse providers, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Centers (RHCs), physician groups and other social services support organizations and physical healthcare organizations ■ Reinforcing the need for bidirectional integrated care delivery within each local community; and ■ Jumpstarting the discussion and strategic planning between primary care and behavioral health providers and policymakers necessary to activate collaboration across our State. Because of the contributions of the hundreds of participants, we believe the goals of the Summit were achieved by bringing together a diverse group of healthcare providers, all of whom share our mission to assume bidirectional integrated care delivery within local communities. Throughout the day, formally and informally, the Summit jumpstarted the discussion and strategic planning among primary care and behavioral health providers and policymakers. A “Summary of Small Group / Technical Assistance Recommendations” plus a “Summary of Summit Evaluations” will be added to the website shortly. Please continue to send your comments and suggestions to Michael S. Pelletier via e-mail at And if you were not able to make it to the Summit, we have added several newitems to the website: Here you will find the links to: ■ A “Final Summit Agenda and Workbook” ■ A list of all in-person “Summit Participants” ■ Videos of the entire day at “Summit Speaker Presentations – Web Links"

  10. Students From DHS’ ICRE-R School Participate In Special Olympics Spring Games Fifteen students from the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education –Roosevelt (ICRE-R) along with staff and volunteers braved the cold weather on the lakefront at Soldier Field for a day of competition at this year's Special Olympics Spring Games.  These students were excited seeing old friends and were entertained again this year by the Jesse White Tumblers. They were very enthusiastic and eager to participate in their respective competitions. Some of the events the students participated in included the standing, as well as wheelchair softball, tennis ball throws, 50M Motor Slalom for power wheelchairs, 100M and 200M wheelchair races, 400M Race and the 800M Walk Racetrack events. Congratulations to all who participated! ICRE-R students finished up their day of competition with a total of 19 Gold Medals, 4 Silver Medals and a Participation Award!

  11. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Celebration in Chicago The Illinois Department of Human Services, along with other agencies and participating councils, hosted the state’s “ADA: Keeping the Promise of Equality” event commemorating the 21st anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), highlighting the various ADA titles of the federal civil rights law. The commemorative event was held July 14, 2011 at the James R. Thompson Center (JRTC) in Chicago, Illinois.    Two formal workshops were presented to interested participants in Chicago with teleconference/videoconference connections to Springfield locations. The workshops entitled “Americans with Disabilities Act Update” and “Know your Rights:  Housing and Employment Disability Rights” featured speakers from Equip for Equality, Attorney General’s Office, Illinois Department of Human Rights and the ADA Great Lakes Center.  As part of the main program, honored guest speakers welcomed those in attendance and included Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary, Michelle R. B. Saddler; Rocco Clapps, Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights (DHR); Marc Miller, Director of Natural Resources; State Representative Kelly Cassidy (14th District); and Karen Tamley, City of Chicago Commissioner, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.    On the plaza, those present were captivated by the three-on-three wheelchair basketball exhibition done in collaboration with the Northeast DuPage Special Recreation Association and the Chicago Park District. The outdoor afternoon program featured seven different performances by entertainers with disabilities that included dance and song.  In the lobby, the “Arts and Access” component, as coordinated by Sharon Hyson, featured an art exhibit by artists with disabilities, artist demonstrations, a hands-on-art workshops and art tours. All artwork that was on display was for sale with proceeds going directly to the participating artists.

  12. Students From ISD and ISVI Celebrate 2011 Graduation Ceremonies Earlier this spring, Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Michelle R. B. Saddler visited students from the Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD) and the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired (ISVI) during their 2011 Commencement Ceremonies. ISVI honored nine graduates and ISD honored 43 graduates for their struggles and accomplishments during their high school years; ISD named Daniel Saavedra as the class Valedictorian. It’s Back to the Books at ISVI after Nine Graduates Say Goodbye to Friends and Teachers! DHS Secretary Michelle R. B. Saddler congratulates Ezekiel Adams from Chicago!