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FY 23 Quality Enhancement Plan Results and FY 24 Goals

FY 23 Quality Enhancement Plan Results and FY 24 Goals

Quality Enhancement Planning (QEP) at Search is a comprehensive, agency-wide process for making continuous improvements to the services and supports we provide. The process involves a diverse group of stakeholders, including the people we support, their families and friends, community employers and other community partners, as well as leadership and staff members from all levels of the organization.

Our FY24 QEP goals build upon the success of FY23 and allow us to continuously develop our programs and services. Our goals this year represent initiatives to improve outcomes for the people we support. The goals are organized according to the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) 10 Basic Assurances, which are a balance between concerns for individual Health, Safety and Security and the necessity of social constructs such as Respect, Natural Supports and Social Networks to ensure sustainable outcomes for people. Basic Assurances are essential, fundamental and non-negotiable requirements for all service and support providers; and demonstrate successful operations in the areas of health, safety and human security, forming the bedrock of social stability.

Priorities within these assurance areas are communicated to us by all of our stakeholders including Search leadership, Direct Support Professionals, and the people and families Search supports to establish our goals. We identify these priority areas through satisfaction surveys, demographic information, goal progress results and conversations with our stakeholders. These goals are detailed in our full FY24 QEP plan.

About our FY 23 Outcomes and FY 24 Goals, our CEO Cory Gumm shared that, “We are excited to launch a new Quality Enhancement Plan this year focused on continuous program developments, the growth of social enterprise and positive outcomes for everyone Search supports.  It’s going to be a year of innovation and growth!”

We are excited to share our FY 23 Outcomes and FY 24 Goals with our Search community.

FY23 Outcomes

As a team, we made great strides this past year. Every Search team member worked collaboratively to make substantial progress on several initiatives related to our programs and services. We achieved or made progress on 100% of the goals we set for FY 23.

Outcomes for our FY 23 QEP goals spanned the entire Search organization and included:

Accessibility Improvements: Ensuring Accessible and Safe Environments

Search continued to improve its properties with a focus on accessibility throughout the fiscal year. FY23 highlights included the completion of a renovated, accessible bathroom at our Kildare home with the support of CDBG funding from the Village of Skokie. The following homes had new concrete installed to improve the accessibility of sidewalks, driveways, stoops, ramps and stairs: Concord, Gross Point, Kildare and Hamlin.

In addition to the renovations to our Supported Living homes, we focused on improving the use and accessibility of new technology for all people supported and staff members. Near the end of FY 23, over 30 iPads were purchased to support the needs of staff members and individuals in our supported living sites. These will be deployed in early FY 24. New computer labs were constructed at our Mt. Prospect and Lincoln Avenue adult learning sites to improve access to technology for program participants.

Planning work was completed with the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities to renovate the entrance at our Lincoln Avenue Adult Learning Program site to improve accessibility for people at the site. Once project permits are received from the City of Chicago, the entrance project will move forward with an anticipated completion date early FY24.

Finally, a new sensory emersion room was built at our Warren home, the third of its kind and specialized for the home’s residents. These spaces are designed for people with diverse sensory needs to help individuals learn to self-regulate their sensory inputs and outputs, improve focus and enhance fine and gross motor skills. Being in this type of environment also helps to improve visual, auditory, and tactile processing.

Disability Awareness Trainings and NeurodiVERSED Continue to Drive Community Impact

 In FY 23, Search provided 15 Disability Awareness Trainings (DATs) to community institutions such as The Art Institute, Goodman Theatre, Loyola Academy, the Museum of Science and Industry, among others. Post training surveys showed that 98% of employees and students said they would use person-first language, and 99% of employees said they felt more disability-aware after participating in their training.

Building on the success of the DAT program, we piloted new NeurodiVERSED trainings in FY 23. NeurodiVERSED, launched in FY 21, is an awareness campaign designed to give people who think differently a platform where they can share their voices and educate the community on mental health and intellectual disabilities. In FY 23, Search also created and shared 6 videos to communicate the importance of community and relationships for people with disabilities. We’re excited about the continued growth of this initiative and the DATs.

Career Services Exceeds Expectations

We remain committed to creating pathways to job placement and vocational support for people through our Career Services program. There was a total of 16 new job placements in FY 23.

Expectations were exceeded on Performance-Based Contracts with the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) leading to expanded capacity allotments from the State for FY 23. These additional funds will enhance our outreach to the communities we serve and lead to even greater outcomes for our future job seekers in the coming year.

Visibility Arts Provided Teaching and Mentoring Opportunities

In FY23, Visibility Arts focused on offering teaching and mentoring opportunities for artists to share their time and talents with others, as well as traditional community art showing opportunities. There were 19 events this fiscal year. Visibility Artists provided art education at both Studio 3 in Evanston and City Elementary in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago throughout the year. Community art shows were held at Uncommon Ground in Chicago, Dittmar Gallery at Northwestern University, Planet Access and many other community locations and events.

Search for Adventure Resumes

Finally, Search for Adventure (SFA) officially resumed travel in FY 23. Individuals traveled to Santa Barbara, California, Orlando, Florida and Disney Land, as well as Camp Dewan in Wisconsin. In total, 62 people participated in SFA this year!

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Search

In FY 23, Search launched a committee to support its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts throughout the organization. This committee is comprised of administrative, management and direct support staff members, as well as a program participant. A total of 27 DEI discussion topics were shared via Zoom including Disability Pride Month, Senior Citizen Appreciation Month, World Mental Health Day, Kwanzaa, Hanukah, Native American Heritage Month, LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, amongst many others.

FY24 Quality Enhancement Goal Highlights

Search has established 12 quality enhancement goals for FY24. Each goal will be monitored for progress on a quarterly basis. A few highlights of this year’s goals include:

  • Improve and grow Search’s community education portfolio by revamping Disability Awareness Training and the Hop on the Bus curriculum and developing trainings in the areas of NeurodiVERSED and Visibility Arts. (Rights Protection and Promotion)
  • Expand the impact of Career Services by launching a Youth Initiative in partnership with the Department of Rehabilitative Services. (Dignity and Respect)
  • Conduct a comprehensive supported living site review to identify priority homes for downsizing home capacity, creating single-bedrooms and ensuring fiscal sustainability. (Dignity and Respect)
  • Research and identify opportunities to provide behavioral health services to a broader group of people with disabilities. (Best Possible Health)
  • Strengthen the knowledge of individuals supported regarding the annual planning process.
  • Create and launch a Search staff mentoring program to positively impact the retention of staff members. (Staff Resources and Support)
  • Conduct a property search and develop a project plan for a second location for Planet Access. (Continuity and Personal Security)

Thank you for being a part of our Search community! Our team looks forward to learning and growing as an organization this coming year.

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