Transition involves change, as someone passes from one stage of life to another. Transition and change can be challenging, but they also offer new possibilities, learning opportunities, and a chance to realize aspirations. Boone County Family Resources has explored how we can better support persons to thrive during the transitions in their lives; to connect with their surrounding communities and resources; and to achieve their goals and vision for a rewarding and meaningful life.
- Last fall we hosted training for staff on the LifeCourse Framework, which can be used as a tool to help individuals with disabilities and families at different stages in life chart paths to fulfilling futures.
- For individuals and families wishing to self-direct their Personal Assistance service, we incorporated a new service – Support Broker – to help them navigate and manage associated paperwork and other requirements.
- In the spring, we co-sponsored a workshop by Erik Carter, Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University, entitled “Transition Matters-Equipping Students with Disabilities for Life after High School,” for students, parents, and professionals.
- We have targeted outreach efforts to promote referrals of school-aged children, particularly youth preparing to transition from high school, which has resulted in a 111% increase in referrals from the public schools this year.
- In planning for adult life, many individuals seek opportunities that lead to employment. BCFR’s Life & Work Connections program has provided these opportunities for many years. The agency added Job Development and Employee Development Services to its CARF International accredited programs this year.
- The agency is a partner in the Columbia Employment Consortium, a coalition of local organizations committed to boosting employment outcomes for people with disabilities in our community. As a partner, we participated in the development of the Abilities for Business website, a tool for job seekers as well as for businesses wanting to hire.
- Persons wishing to transition to a home of their own have told us the lack of affordable, accessible housing is a barrier. Affordable housing wait lists for 1-bedroom apartments in Columbia range from 1 to 5 years. Boone County Family Resources is planning two affordable, universally designed, energy-efficient apartment buildings for our community; 24 of the 28 apartments will be 1-bedroom units.
Agencies, as well as individuals, make transitions. Boone County Family Resources Board of Directors revised its mission statement this past year to clearly and concisely communicate our focus, our direction, our “why” to employees and other stakeholders. In keeping with the Agency’s mission, I hope you enjoy the stories in this report of persons in Boone County thriving in the community, connecting with others and achieving their personal goals.
– Robyn Kaufman, Executive Director