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Introduction to Community Bridges for Legislators


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An introduction to the role that Community Bridges plays in supporting the lives of people who experience disability in the towns and neighborhoods of Merrimack County.

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Introduction to Community Bridges for Legislators

  1. 3. Our History <ul><li>Established in 1982 as a private, not-for-profit corporation and designated as an “area agency for developmental services” for Merrimack County </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Developmental Disabilities (DD) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mental retardation (MR), autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or a specific learning disability requiring treatment similar to that required for MR </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  2. 4. Our History <ul><li>We help plan, provide and oversee the quality of long-term care support to over 1,900 local citizens. </li></ul><ul><li>Our mission: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Community Bridges will advance the integration, growth and interdependence of people with disabilities within their home communities and be a leader in the deliver of and advocacy for innovative supports to individuals and their families” </li></ul>
  3. 5. Our History <ul><li>We have learned that disability is a natural part of the human experience. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It can occur as a result of a variety of causes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Developmental impairment </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Chronic Illness </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Traumatic Head Injury </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The natural results of aging </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Community Bridges helps people address the risks associated with disability by providing a community-based approach, relying on the strength of families, helping to build and retain relationships with others, keeping our communities whole so that we are all stronger as a result of the inclusion and contributions of people of all abilities. </li></ul>
  4. 6. Our History <ul><li>How do we meet out mission? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Infants and toddlers (birth to age 3) – intensive family-centered early intervention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support to families with children experiencing disabilities while they are in school – respite, information, advocacy, life planning, in-home support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adults with disabilities to help experience a good life in the community – planning, specialized foster care, staffed homes, day-time support, job development and consultation, in home support to elders, resources to families to self-direct the care provided to a loved one. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resource and support to communities to advance inclusion </li></ul></ul>
  5. 7. Our History <ul><li>We have renewed our designation as an Area Agency since 1982 after a comprehensive review of performance by the Bureau of Developmental Services (BDS). </li></ul><ul><li>We have been designated as an Other Qualified Agency to provide in home support to elders by the Bureau of Elder and Adult Services (BEAS) since January of 2008 </li></ul>
  6. 8. Our History <ul><li>We are part of a network of 10 area agencies in the state of New Hampshire </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Designed as a “public-private partnership” where local communities have a voice in the unique design of services for their area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boards of Directors have at least 1/3 representation by consumers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integrated with other area agencies through the CSNI corporation to achieve efficiencies in insurance purchases, training, quality outcome measurements and common intake practices </li></ul></ul>
  7. 9. Ten Regions
  8. 10. Our History <ul><ul><li>Initial task was to partner with the State of New Hampshire to convert the system of support for people experiencing developmental disabilities from a high-cost institutional model to an efficient system of local community supports. In 1991 all Merrimack County residents who were living at the institution were returned home! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New Hampshire was the first in the nation to completely transition from institutional to community-based services through the area agency model of support (only eight other states have done so) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 11. Cost <ul><ul><li>While NH moved ahead after 1991 to refine our community-based service system most other states have remained in an expensive, segregated or facility-based model </li></ul></ul>
  10. 12. Cost <ul><ul><li>Even when compared to surrounding New England states with similar models, NH comes our ahead in providing a lower average cost. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 13. Who are the people in need of new services?
  12. 14. New Applicants <ul><ul><li>Young adults needing continuing support after graduation from High School </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Family care-givers who can no longer sustain the level of support provided in the past and need additional help </li></ul></ul>
  13. 15. Young Adults <ul><ul><li>Young adults graduating from public schools often continue to be supported by their families </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>80% of those we support through Community Bridges live with their families </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Without assistance after graduation, a parent – usually the mother – must quit work in order to stay home and provide essential care or supervision. Often the gains experienced through school are lost. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 16. Older Caregivers <ul><ul><li>Older caregivers who support their children at home eventually experience the strains of aging. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Failing Health </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Physical frailty </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increasing impoverishment </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Added to this is the emotional stress over what will happen to their children when they no longer can provide care. </li></ul></ul>                                                                                                                                                              
  15. 17. Adults & Children with Complex Behavioral Needs <ul><ul><li>Complex behavioral and medical needs are an increasing category. This includes the increasing rates of diagnosis for Autism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Total care & supervision </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sophisticated medical equipment to monitor </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Children who cannot be left alone for safety reasons </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Without adequate support family stability can deteriorate forcing parents to seek more expensive out-of-home options. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A better option – trained respite care, regular in-home support, appropriate day activities, working with parents to self-direct the care provided in the home. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 18. Learn more about us: <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Meet us on </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More information on our home page </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Call: Roy Gerstenberger, Executive Director </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>225-4153 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul>
  17. 19. Thank You <ul><li>Martha Perske from PERSKE: PENCIL PORTRAITS 1971-1990 (Nashville: Arbingdon Press, 1998) </li></ul>