EMFV volunteer appreciation luncheon

Arcare executive director recognized as Honorary EMFV

Earlier this summer, the K-State Research and Extension Master Food Volunteer (EMFV) Program presented Barb Helm, Arcare’s executive director, with the first-ever Honorary EMFV certificate for her support and contributions to its Four-Course Living program. The honor was announced during the Johnson County EMFV annual volunteer appreciation luncheon, which was held at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center.

EMFVs are a designation of volunteers through the extension passionate about healthy living, food and giving back to the community. Back in 2015, two EMFVs, Jean Porter and Sherry Carter, approached Barb about developing a program through the extension catering to adults with disabilities. Barb then wrote a grant through the Arcare Charitable Fund to establish Four-Course Living. Four-Course Living provides adults with special needs information and skills necessary to live safe, independent lives. Classes offered through the program underscore the importance of four specific topics:

Barb Helm
Barb Helm during the Johnson County EMFV annual volunteer appreciation luncheon

Nutrition – Class participants learn the importance of healthy eating and portion control. To encourage healthy choices, students are each given the USDA’s MyPlate food icon as a guide.

Safety – Kitchen tools and appliances can be dangerous to use without the proper training. In safety courses, students are shown how to handle food properly, use basic knife skills and safely prepare meals.

Planning – Planning ahead can make eating on a fixed income less stressful. Students learn how to combine ingredients across multiple meals, grocery shop using a circular and plan their meals in advance.

Prep – Students combine skills from the other courses in this cooking class, in which they work together to prepare a meal from start to finish and enjoy the food afterward.

Information about Four-Course Living’s 2018 classes is available now. Courses can also be tailored for Residential or Day Service Providers interested in learning about managing expenses while also providing healthy options their residents can help prepare. For details, contact Jean Porter at (913) 236-5019.

Grant funding will help hundreds of Johnson County individuals with disabilities secure competitive employment

After being awarded a combined more than $2 million in grant funding, Johnson County Developmental Supports and Johnson County Mental Health will be able to help secure competitive employment for a goal of 320 individuals served by either agency over the next five years. Both agencies have received an End-Dependence Grant from the Kansas Rehabilitation Services division of the Kansas Department for Children and Family Services.

Both JCDS and JCMH will use these grants to improve competitive employment outcomes for Johnson County individuals with disabilities. The target population will be adults served by JCDS or JCMH and require Supported Employment Services to obtain and maintain employment.

The JCDS grant provides 100 percent funding for four employment specialist positions and the grant for JCMH provides 100 percent funding for two full-time vocational counselors, one part-time vocational counselor and one part-time peer support specialist.

“Nationally, unemployment for adults with severe mental illness is estimated at more than 85 percent,” says Tim DeWeese, executive director, Johnson County Mental Health. “Our Vocational Services team receives daily requests from our clients who want to work in the community. We are thrilled this grant will allow us to help an additional 200 clients find work.”

“The End-Dependence grant will allow JCDS to expand our Progressive Employment model which creates temporary-to-permanent work experiences that break down barriers to employment for some of the individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities we serve,” said Chad VonAhnen, executive director, Johnson County Developmental Supports. “We strongly encourage our clients to consider working in the community to increase their level of dependence and self-sufficiency, and are thankful for this grant that will help us with our mission.”

The Kansas Department for Children and Family Services announced this program October, 2014. The goal of the $25 million investment for the state of Kansas is to help 2,000 Kansans secure community employment.

Arcare works closely with JCDS to support positive lifestyle choices of many of our mutual clients.

Photo credit: Johnson County Development Supports

Center for Guardianship Certification

National Guardianship Association certifies Barb Helm

This year, Arcare became a proud member of the National Guardianship Association (NGA). NGA represents more than 1,000 guardians, conservators and fiduciaries from across the United States who share a vision for advancing the nationally recognized standard of excellence in guardianship and protecting incapacitated adults. NGA and its members work to strengthen guardianship and its related services through quality assurance, networking and education.

In October, Barb Helm, Arcare’s executive director, attended NGA’s National Guardianship Conference in Mesa, Arizona, to benefit from the association’s resources and take a comprehensive look at pertinent guardianship issues. Topics included, but were not limited to, elder justice, special needs trusts, protecting digital assets in guardianship and the ABLE Act.

NGA has also led the way in advocating certification of guardians by forming the Center for Guardianship Certification. This week, Barb earned her National Certified Guardian designation, becoming one of just 2,000 individuals who have earned certification as either a National Certified Guardian or National Master Guardian. As a certified Guardian, Barb can:

  • Let potential clients, the court system and the general public know she is held to specific standards of practice
  • Declare her professional competence
  • Demonstrate her commitment to standards and ethics
  • Have an objective measure and validation of her knowledge
  • Be set apart from non-certified guardians as someone who has met nationally recognized requirements, including training and an examination
  • Potentially meet requirements to practice as a guardian in some states

The certification is yet another representation of Arcare’s commitment to being a knowledgeable, trusted resource for individuals who need such services. We plan to have additional staff members complete the application process and examination required for certification in 2016.

View Barb’s official certification here.

National Business Institute training on special needs trusts

Arcare presents NBI workshop on special needs trusts

Special Needs Trusts expertise is at the heart of how our Arcare staff helps families ensure their loved ones with disability can maintain financial independence without jeopardizing eligibility for important benefits. Because of our team’s familiarity with the issues surrounding creating, funding and maintaining these trusts, we are often asked to participate in trainings and workshops about these planning tools.

Yesterday, Lynn Carter and Barb Helm joined board member Emily Donaldson and strategic partner Stacey Janssen in co-presenting at a National Business Institute (NBI) workshop titled “Protect Your Clients Assets Amidst Changing Healthcare Policy” in Kansas City. The focus of this seminar was on how Special Needs Trusts and private health insurance may be impacted under the ACA, and how that may affect decisions about care for individuals with disabilities. This one-day seminar provided attending legal professionals with continuing education credits and information about how to help clients make sound decisions in establishing special needs trusts.

The agenda for the workshop was broken down into the following categories:

  1. What Is a Special Needs Trust and Does Your Client Need One?
  2. Drafting the SNT – Sample Provisions Review and Analysis
  3. Protecting Eligibility for Public Benefits
  4. Special Needs and the Affordable Care Act
  5. Ethical Considerations

In addition to the attorneys who attended, other participants included paralegals, home care professionals, nursing home administrators, accountants, financial planners and other professionals working with disabled clients. At the conclusion of the workshop, attendees gave all presenters rave reviews for their knowledge and insight on the topics at hand.

National PLAN Alliance

Barb Helm elected to National PLAN Alliance board of directors

As part of the vital role Arcare plays in helping individuals with disabilities and their families, we are a proud member of the National PLAN Alliance. NPA is the only non-profit organization in America dedicated solely to meeting the planning needs of families with adult children having lifelong disabilities.

PLAN (Planned Lifetime Assistance Network) programs were founded to assist families in planning for the future care of loved ones with lifelong disabilities. Established as a tax-exempt non-profit organization in 1997, the National PLAN Alliance is the umbrella organization for 18 PLAN affiliates in 22 states.

NPA provides a variety of vital support services to existing and new programs, such as program and board development, feasibility surveys, fund raising, marketing, conferences and strategic planning assistance to its affiliate PLAN programs.

Recently, our Executive Director, Barb Helm, was elected to the NPA Board of Directors. The Board is comprised of volunteer and staff leaders, as well as family members representing the 22 affiliates. Barb’s leadership, knowledge and experience are a welcome addition to the Board. Because of her involvement in the Arcare Pooled Trust Program, she will be integral to the continued growth and evolution of this aspect of support NPA provides its state PLAN programs.

For more information about National PLAN Alliance, visit http://www.nationalplanalliance.org/.

Arcare Provides Pooled Trusts Testimony

Arcare provides expert testimony on pooled trusts in Iowa

On February 24, Arcare served as an expert on pooled trusts in front of the Iowa Legislature. Our testimony was in support of a new law that would basically negate Section 633C.2 of the existing Iowa law regulating medical assistance trusts.

633C.2 Disposition of medical assistance special needs trusts.
Regardless of the terms of a medical assistance special needs trust, any income received or asset added to the trust during a one-month period shall be expended as provided for medical assistance income trusts under section 633C.3, on a monthly basis, during the life of the beneficiary. Any increase in income or principal retained in the trust from a previous month may be expended, during the life of the beneficiary, only for reasonable and necessary expenses of the trust, not to exceed ten dollars per month without court approval, for special needs of the beneficiary attributable to the beneficiary’s disability and approved by the district court, for medical care or services that would otherwise be covered by medical assistance under chapter 249A, or to reimburse the state for medical assistance paid on behalf of the beneficiary.

This restrictive clause hinders persons with disability to benefit from distributions currently allowed through special needs trusts by federal regulation.

To view the complete testimony, click here.

Providing food prep skills for individuals with disabilities

For adults with special needs, living independently is a challenge. On yesterday’s edition of Up To Date on KCUR, Steve Kraske interviewed Sarah Mai, executive director of The Mission Project, a local organization dedicated to helping adults with developmental disabilities live on their own. Also joining the conversation was Beverly Palomba, the author of a cookbook specially designed for their needs.

Sarah shared information about the benefits and opportunities The Mission Project provides its residents. She also spoke about how the group is looking for ways to expand its offerings to various locations throughout the Kansas City area and beyond to help a larger population of individuals with disabilities. But overall, the focus of the conversation fell on the importance of teaching food preparation and planning skills to help them live independently and safely.

Listen to the 20-minute program by clicking on the video below.

In addition to learning from the YouTube channel Sarah has created (available online here) that provides “how to” videos on everything from popping popcorn in an air popper to preparing for guests in the home, the individuals in The Mission Project are also benefitting from a new program offered by Master Food Volunteers through the K-State Johnson County Research Extension.

This program is being supported by a grant from the Arcare Foundation, and we are thrilled to be part of its growth and evolution. Run by Jean Porter and Sherry Carter, the to-be-named program will allow individuals with disabilities to develop culinary skills and increase their knowledge about nutritious meal planning for just a few dollars per class. Jean and Sherry hope to get other organizations like The Mission Project involved to expand their reach and help more adults with disability live successfully on their own.

Check our Arcare Charitable Fund page for more information as the program takes shape!

JCDS helps vulnerable population of adults lead fulfilling and independent lives

Connecting the community to a loyal, reliable workforce

The Summer 2014 edition of JoCo, The Johnson County Government Magazine, featured a wonderful article about our friends at Johnson County Developmental Supports (JCDS). Since 1972, this organization has been offering its JCDS Community Employment program in which it recruits, places and trains adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities into jobs around the KC Metro area.

Although a job washing dishes at a restaurant, stocking shelves at a grocery store or mowing lawns for a hospital may not seem like something to rave about, for many adults with disabilities it truly is. These jobs allow this vulnerable population to live fulfilling, independent lives by earning a consistent paycheck. The pride these individuals and the companies who hire them feel is well deserved, and Arcare is pleased to see this dynamic program continually gaining recognition.

“Community employment is critical because it allows individuals to reach their highest levels of independence and productivity,” said casino online Chad VonAhnen, executive director, Johnson County Developmental Supports. “We all want to be part of our community and contribute in a meaningful manner. This program allows us to help people with disabilities get where they aspire to go.”

To read the complete article, view pages 8 and 9 of JoCo here.

Arcare works closely with JCDS to support positive lifestyle choices of many of our mutual clients. If you have any questions about the Community Employment program, call 913.826.2626 or visit www.jocogov.org. For other questions, contact Arcare directly.

Photo credit: JoCo Magazine

Arcare Logo

Welcome to the new Arcare website!

Although Arcare has been around for more than 30 years, we’re working diligently to try and expand our reach to a growing number of families with a need for our services. As part of our effort to continue building the Arcare brand, we’re excited to launch our new website!

Take a few moments to browse through the site to find out more about our organization, its services and the ways we can help families planning for the future of a loved one with a disability. Then, continue to check back as we add information about upcoming events in which Arcare participates, as well news and information to help families stay on top of changing regulations as they manage care for their loved ones.

If you have any questions, feel free to submit them through our contact form. For more pressing matters, simply call or email us. We look forward to hearing from you and utilizing the site to keep you informed of the issues that matter most.