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MR Update #07-03: College of Direct Support, PP&A Merger With DLP, Thaler at NASDDDS, and Upcoming Draft MR Bulletins
February 1, 2007

College of Direct Support
Pennsylvania’s Office of Mental Retardation (OMR) was one of the first states to purchase and use the College of Direct Supports (CDS) web-based learning system for staff training for those providing services to persons with mental retardation. Currently there are 18,231 learners registered in this system; however, the level of lesson completion is low. The department is reviewing this issue and encouraging providers, counties, and supports coordination agencies to use this tool for direct care and frontline supervisor/management training options. Each completed lesson will count as one hour of required training.

CDS was developed as a collaborative project which included the University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center on Community Living/Institute on Community Integration. Courses are updated annually and include a variety of evaluation tools for skill sets, tools for recruitment, retention, and job satisfaction, and may also be completed for college credits.

OMR is preparing additional CDS courses addressing individual support plans, revised fire safety lessons, and review of first aid and infections criteria to assure adherence to universal precautions. A document will be developed to provide information about what has and has not worked for agencies implementing CDS. For additional information or to answer questions contact OMR Consultants Sarah Rollin (srollin@pattan.net) or Jeannie Goryl (jgoryl@pattan.net). CDS information is available at www.collegeofdirectsupport.com/pa.

PP&A and DLP Merge
Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy (PP&A) and the Disabilities Law Project (DLP) have merged to form the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania (DRN). Effective February 1, DRN will provide the full range of legal, policy, and advocacy services necessary to protect and advance the rights of persons with disabilities. Ilene Share, PP&A’s chief executive officer, will serve in the same capacity with DRN. DLP Executive Director Mark Murphy will become DRN’s legal director. DRN will provide services with more than 50 staff working from offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Legal and advocacy services include technical assistance, individual and policy advocacy, and systemic-impact litigation. For additional information contact DRN at 800-692-7443.

Thaler Joins NASDDDS
Pennsylvania’s former deputy secretary for the Office of Mental Retardation, Nancy Thaler, has been chosen as the new executive director for the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services in Alexandria, Virginia. Thaler served as OMR deputy for 11 years during downsizing and closing of large, state-operated centers and expanding home and community-based services. For a copy of the press release contact Linda Drummond.

Upcoming Draft Bulletins
OMR is working on several draft bulletins to be released for public comment. These will include the supports coordination bulletin, which may have a requirement for CDS training, and individual supports plan, which has been revised based on previous public comments. PCPA will forward this information to members when received and compile comments for submission to OMR.

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