Technology Enhancements Improve Services to Birth to Three Families in Connecticut
As a result of CT OPM’s Nonprofit Grant Program award, clients of EdAdvance’s (formerly Education Connection) Birth to Three Program are receiving enhanced services from direct service providers, and the program has improved operational efficiencies through implementation of an electronic documentation system and associated technology upgrades and safeguards.
EdAdvance’s Birth to Three Programs include comprehensive Early Intervention and Autism services, which support the CT Birth to Three mission of strengthening the capacity of families to meet the developmental and health-related needs of their infants and toddlers who have delays or disabilities.
Through NGP funding, all Birth to Three intervention providers are now equipped with tablet computers for use during visits in home and childcare settings, and while they are in the field. This has improved efficiencies in documentation of services as well as timely communications among early interventionists and program administrative and support staff. Importantly, the tablets enable interventionists to engage children and their families in early learning applications during home visits, actively involving parents in their children’s learning and in monitoring their progress. Grant funds also enhanced the Program’s data storage capacity and security through an additional server and backup generator, providing consistent access to data and electronic communications for the program’s administrative, direct service, and support personnel.
The technology upgrades have resulted in a reduction in photocopying and office supply costs, as well as reductions in staff time spent on data entry. In summary, the project has enhanced the quality of care and responsiveness of services to Birth to Three families, as well as provided increased efficiencies in program operations and communications.
Birth to Three Interventionist reviews an assessment of child’s progress using a tablet computer.
Electronic Record System Implementation Enhances Services for DDS Day Support and Residential Consumers
The CT Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Day Support and Residential Consumers served by EdAdvance (formerly Education Connection) are benefitting from an increase in quality time with staff, and the Community Services Program is operating with greater efficiency and enhanced protection of clients’ confidential data, thanks to a grant from CT OPM’s Nonprofit Grant Program. This project featured implementation of Therap® Services web-based Electronic Record and Documentation System.
Grant funds have resulted in a new, more streamlined system which allows program personnel to complete required documentation in a shorter amount of time than before. Staff are now able to spend more direct service provider time with the individuals they support.
Converting the 100% paper record system to an electronic record system has improved monitoring of the records generated; allowed more efficient communication and monitoring of behavioral data between behavioral consultants and staff, as well as more efficient tracking of staff training and certifications; streamlined licensing inspections; enhanced protection of confidential data, and reduced the program’s paper use. In addition to reducing staff documentation time, implementation of the new system has reduced both photocopying time and costs, as well as other office supply expenses.
“Staff and managers now have an improved way to communicate with each other to more efficiently and effectively meet the needs of the people we support,” comments Program Director, JodiLynn Binkley.
EdAdvance provides residential and day support services to DDS-supported individuals throughout western CT. Direct support professionals strive to ensure each individual’s personalized support plan goals and objectives are met.
Program Director JodiLynn Binkley using Therap.
Improved Transportation Services for DDS Residential Program Consumers
CT Department of Developmental Services (DDS) residential program consumers in western CT are experiencing an enhanced quality of life thanks to CT OPM’s Nonprofit Grant Program. The Community Services Program at EdAdvance (formerly Education Connection) received NGP funding to improve the program’s transportation services. This funding allowed the agency to replace two aging minivans transporting residents of two established group homes and to purchase an additional van for a new Continuous Residential Support Program.
According to JodiLynn Binkley, Program Director, “with newer vehicles, less time is being spent in repair which means that we are able to provide more opportunities for individuals to participate in recreational, social, or other community events. This means a better quality of life.” The two aging vehicles required costly maintenance and repairs. With less money being spent to repair older vehicles, the program has been able to enhance community-based activities for adults with disabilities served by the program.
Residential Group Home Client with van.
The purchase of the third van has increased the number of residents and staff of the Continuous Residential Support Program that are able to be transported at the same time. Several of these residents were experiencing difficulties getting in and out of regular passenger cars, limiting their participation in activities.
Residential group homes operated by EdAdvance provide 24-hour supervision and a spectrum of high quality direct supports for adults with developmental disabilities. Along with transportation services, program staff provides assistance with personal hygiene and activities of daily living; medical, psychiatric, behavioral and nursing care; medication management; life skills training; socialization; recreation; nutritional counseling; nutritious meals and skill development in food preparation, and medication management.
Transportation Services for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program Families
EdAdvance (formerly Education Connection) received funding from the CT OPM Nonprofit Grant Program for two minivans for its state-funded Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, the Nurturing Families Network. The vans have expanded the continuum of services provided to high need pregnant women and their families to include transportation services. All clients of the Nurturing Families Network are residents of Torrington and Winchester located in the state’s remote northwest corner, and many do not have access to reliable vehicles. Public transportation is also quite limited in this part of the state, so the vans have made a significant impact on their lives.
Since the vans have been in use, Network families have benefited from more consistent health and human service appointments and the ability to participate in education programs. Many clients who previously were unable to adhere to the recommended frequency for prenatal, postpartum, and pediatric health care appointments are now able to keep their appointments, due to the availability of safe, reliable transportation. The minivans have also enabled women with high-risk pregnancies to receive specialized prenatal care.
The grant-funded vans have also facilitated clients’ participation in educational and supportive activities such as parent group meetings, special programs for fathers, children’s playgroups, and presentations by Spanish-speaking parent educators more frequently.
Nurturing Families staff with the program’s passenger van.