Rhode Island Department of
Behavioral Healthcare,
Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals
Division of Developmental Disabilities
Community Newsletter
April 2017 Newsletter

Quarterly DD Family Forum Next Week

The next Quarterly DD Family Community Forum will be held on Tuesday, May 2nd at the Newport Campus of CCRI in the Auditorium. The address is One John H Chafee Blvd, Newport, RI 02840. Directions can be found here.

The forum will be held from 4:00 - 6:00 pm.

Developmental Disabilities Director Kerri Zanchi, will attend the forum and is looking forward to meeting those who attend.

*This meeting is accessible to individuals living with a disability. Any individual requiring reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this meeting should contact Thomas Mannock, Ph.D. at 401-222-6377 (voice) or #711 (R.I. Relay) at least two (2) business days prior to the meeting.

     The Director's Corner  
Hi folks,

As you may know, this is a busy time for the Department. My staff and I have spent quite a bit of time at the State House testifying at hearings and/or providing written testimony for various committees.

I want to personally thank the providers and their staff who came out to the House and Senate Finance Committees and testified on behalf of the Direct Service Provider hourly wage bill  

Hope you will be able to attend the Forum in Newport on Tuesday! 

Rebecca Boss
BHDDH Acting Director 

Welcome Dianne Curran!

Dianne Curran is the new RI Consent Decree Coordinator, a position which coordinates the state activities under the Department of Justice Consent Decree.  She brings years of experience in interagency and consent decree work.

Ms Curran served as an advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities early in her career and as attorney for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DOE), where one of her major areas of focus was special education.

Dianne also served for several years as Deputy General Counsel for the Massachusetts child welfare agency. While there she provided support and assistance to agency policy makers and social workers on special education requirements and on requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. She worked collaboratively with MA DOE to address special education issues affecting children in foster care.

We welcome Dianne and look forward to working with her!

Person Centered Supported Employment Program

In January 2017, BHDDH launched the Person Centered Supported Employment Program. DDD and 22 partner adult service agencies are working together to promote the expansion of integrated employment services.  The program has three very important goals:
  • To improve employment outcomes for individuals with I/DD;
  • To increase program capacity within  service agencies to provide supportive employment services for individuals moving toward integrated competitive employment; and
  • To increase the number of certificated employment professionals. 
These 22 agencies have committed to provide enhanced employment services to 516 individuals.  At this time, more than 350 individuals are enrolled in the program; there are 150 slots which are still available.

In the first three months, 40 individuals participating in this program have found employment within the state. If you or a loved one want to find a job and/or want to begin the journey towards employment, please contact Tracey Cunningham, Associate Director or Employment at BHDDH. She can be reached by phone at 401-462-3857 or by email at tracey.cunningham@bhddh.ri.gov
Developmental Disability Awareness Month in March
More than 200 people were at the State House to hear experts, lawmakers, and employers encourage more supports for individuals who live with a developmental disability during the John E. Fogarty Foundation’s March observance of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.  

The event was hosted by Mary Fogarty McAndrew, daughter of the late Rhode Island Congressman John E. Fogarty, who is known for his legendary work on behalf of those living with a  developmental disability.

Kerri Zanchi,  Director of Developmental Disabilities Division, was an invited speaker at the event.  She explained the important changes that are underway for I/DD youth transitioning from high school into the adult service system.  

Ms Zanchi underscored the department's new policy “Eligibility by 17,” developed to ensure that students are receiving the right transition services at the right time.   By determining eligibility at 17 it provides the schools, the Office Rehabilitative Services (ORS) and our division information on who will be eligible to receive certain services. School districts work with ORS to provide students with job skills, development and training; then, our division will work ORS to further enhance job skills and assist in finding employment or help with job retention. As an Employment First state we e mphasize building employment skills for the youth who will be entering the adult Developmental Disabilities system.

We end this newsletter with Mary Fogarty McAndrew's words, as she told the packed audience, “I know that all the people here today get up every day to ensure that individuals living a disability have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

RI Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals
(401) 462-3201

Questions about -

Authorizations:  (401) 462-1833

Transportation issues:  (401) 462-2766

Social Services:  (401) 462-3421