Hello Tahoma’s Associates!
And a Happy 2017 to you all! We’ve seen a busy and productive year for 2016, providing over 69,000 hours of Vocational Training and Job Supports to 139 individuals. Residentially, we provided an additional 41,761 hours to the persons served in our Group Home and Supported Living programs. As you can see, Tahoma’s services are a labor intensive proposition, requiring staff who are competent, qualified, and committed to our causes. My thanks go out to our Staff for your continuing caring and service to our Associates. YOU are Tahoma!
The 53 persons in our Individual Employment Services experienced a 78% employment rate, averaging $641 in earnings and 58.1 hours per month in 2016; compared to the most recent State averages available of 65%, $592 in earnings, and 51.7 hours worked. While ahead of the State average outcomes, Tahoma is committed to developing and strengthening our IE staff and services in 2017.
Tahoma’s GSE-Crew Training programs provided 100% of our 51 Associates an average of $268 and 71.2 hours monthly in 2016, compared to State averages of 97% in service having $374 and 57 hours of work. Our Pre-Voc/Shop services provided 100% of our 18 Associates $25 in earnings and almost 40 hours of paid work time, compared to our State’s average of $127 and 54 hours of work. Those in PVS received 67 hours of programs/supports monthly, compared to the State average of 54.
Our outcome statistics show we are a solid service provider within Pierce County and Washington State; at or above typical success indicators for a State ranked as one of the highest in the nation. Yet what is truly important is each Individual. Tahoma’s purpose is the support the Individual in achieving their own level of success and happiness.
Both Washington’s DDA and Tahoma recognize the primary, critical role each Associate’s family plays in their life- in their services and supports. Our organization was created by loving families, dedicated to assuring their ‘associate’ was at the center of their own services, speaking up for themselves as to what is needed and most appropriate. I am thrilled as well as honored to see families today standing up for their loved one’s needs and desires. You families are truly what gives us power and strength. Thank you for your kind words, your advocacy, and your never ending efforts to improve peoples’ lives. You Rock!
Tahoma’s central goal continues today, to support and enhance the lives of our Associates. RCW 71A states in part: The legislature recognizes the capacity of all persons, including those with developmental disabilities, to be personally and socially productive. The legislature further recognizes the state's obligation to provide aid to persons with developmental disabilities through a uniform, coordinated system of services to enable them to achieve a greater measure of independence and fulfillment and to enjoy all rights and privileges under the Constitution and laws of the United States and the state of Washington. And further,: A pattern of facilities and services should be established, within appropriations designated for this purpose, which is sufficiently complete to meet the needs of each person with a developmental disability regardless of age or degree of handicap, and at each stage of the person's development. The Objective of these services is to: provide every eligible person with habilitative services suited to the person's needs, regardless of age or degree of developmental disability. It states: A person who is receiving a service under this title or the person's legal representative may request the secretary to authorize a service that is available under this title in place of a service that the person is presently receiving.
The Associates of Tahoma and their Families are demanding that our service system ‘step up and deliver’ on the promises of this statute. Individuals are declaring their right to be at the center of planning for their services. Individuals and Families are demanding that their needs and preferences should drive their services, and it should be their personal Choice as to which service they receive. We will continue to applaud and support these efforts on behalf of our Associates to preserve choice in services such as Group or Pre-Vocational. It’s not about these particular services- it’s about the right to choose a service that meets your needs.
This spring’s legislative session brings our opportunity to help shape the service system into one that is responsive to the individual and their choice in service and supports. We will continue our efforts to forge regulatory guidance that embraces Individual Choice. We will continue to support you in your objective of accessing services which meet your needs and preferences.
2017 looks to be another challenging, clarifying year in our world of DD services. I am excited by our prospects for the future and your boundless commitment to supporting Tahoma Associates to assure the array of programs and supports people want and need are provided as a part of our State’s coordinated system of services. We look to you for guidance. We look to you to help us grow Tahoma in ways that serve your needs and choices. We look to you as leadership for our future. If you are interested in an active role in our decisions, I would invite you to consider offering your services as a Board member!
Thanks! We're going places in 2017! Scott