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FY21 Quality Enhancement Plan Results and FY22 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 serve, their families and friends, community employers and other community partners, as well as leadership and staff members from all levels of the organization.

This past year, as we continued to navigate the impacts of the pandemic our team continued to move forward with our organizational priorities.

The FY 22 QEP goals build upon the success of FY 21 and allow us to continuously develop our programs and services.  Our goals this year focus on the priorities communicated to us by all of our stakeholders including Search leadership, Direct Support Professionals, and the people and families Search supports.  These goals are detailed in our FY 22 QEP Plan.

This year, all QEP goals are organized around the CQL 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. Basic Assurances are demonstrations of successful operations in the areas of health, safety and human security. Basic Assurances form the bedrock of social stability. 

FY21 Outcomes

Our Search team was hard at work this past year. Everyone worked together to make substantial progress on several initiatives related to our programs and services.

FY 21 QEP goals spanned the entire Search organization and included:

Virtual Opportunities in All Search Programs

In FY 21, with pandemic restrictions in full force, significant work was done to increase access to and utilization of technology by the individuals served by Search. With day programming occurring primarily in the homes, these efforts were mainly focused on enhancing internet access and increasing tech devices in each residential site. Portal TV devices and 55-inch smart TVs were installed in every home to enhance the online experience for individuals during programming. Additionally, 15 homes received full network upgrades to eliminate connectivity issues. Through Search's participation in the Knowledge Owl curriculum database, Adult Learning Program Managers were given access to an extensive library of online activities.  The Knowledge Owl curriculum database was launched in FY 21 through a supporting grant from the Coleman Foundation.  Search was a participant in the creation of database content and is now a user.  

Clinical Services also jumped aboard the move to virtual service offerings.  In FY 21, a service contract was signed with Station MD for implementation at Central Park, Gross Point and Golfview CILAs.  Station MD is a 24/7 telemedicine platform comprised of all board-certified emergency medicine doctors with considerable expertise in caring for vulnerable populations.  Our first staff training was held on June 23, 2021 and our first service utilization occurred just one day later.  

Supported Living Program (SLP) Enhancements

The SLP underwent a total staffing redesign early in FY 21. Staffing schedules were consolidated into 3 different models with each home having the opportunity to choose the model that best fits their unique needs. The redesign provided a more efficient staffing pattern and embedded both ALP and SLP staff members into the home staffing schedule.  Alternative staffing schedules explored in FY 21 included weekend live-in staff, weekday live-in staff, a combination of live-in and shift staff, and Q/Coordinator support positions.  Near the end of FY 21, the lead staff hourly rate was increased by $2.00 over the base hourly wage to increase recruitment and retention key SLP positions.

In the area of accessibility, our physical plant team worked with Designs for Dignity to complete a home improvement project at our Karlov CILA. Individuals living in the home selected all new living room and dining room furniture. Additionally, accessible ramps and deck landings were installed at our Enfield and Sycamore homes with the support of CDBG funds. Another CDBG grant was used to fund a roof replacement at our Pin Oak home.

Adult Learning Program (ALP), Employment & Social Enterprise Growth

In March 2021, Virtual Day Services (VDS) formally began for a group of ALP participants living in the community. VDS was further adapted to include "hybrid classrooms", with individuals participating virtually along with in-person, onsite attendees. Throughout FY 21, virtual program schedules were established and consistently delivered to groups in Search homes. 

In Career Services, a video was produced at Planet Access Company (PAC) and shared in the classrooms of several partner school districts. The video featured a tour a virtual tour of the PAC Warehouse, as well as an overview of warehouse safety precautions, and the different types of jobs offered by the warehouse.

Additionally, seven individuals were placed in community-integrated jobs in FY 21. Starting in mid-November, many individuals took leaves of absence from their workplaces due to COVID safety concerns. No individuals lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

JJ’s List successfully shifted to offering virtual Disability Awareness Trainings (DAT) in FY 21. Using the promotional video that was produced in February 2020 and an updated script, the DAT transitioned to a virtual format and presented to 60 staff attorneys at the Bronx District Attorney's Office in September 2020.  A virtual DAT was then presented for the staff at Chicago's Mayors Office for People with Disabilities in January. In quarter 4, virtual DATs were presented for KPMG, the Village of Arlington Heights and Garfield Park Conservatory.

Though in-person Hop on the Bus to Independence Workshops were suspended throughout FY 21, JJ's List and PACE collaborated to create a virtual workshop that will be presented via Zoom beginning in early FY 22. This workshop will include video and live presenters, much like DATs.

Finally, Visibility Arts participated in 7 community shows throughout FY 21. These included two virtual showcases streamed on Facebook Live from Planet Access retail space and our Evanston site. In addition, there were art installations at the Evanston and Mount Prospect libraries, the Evanston Made Makers Market and the Evanston Art Center. The Evanston Library also contracted with two artists to teach a virtual portrait class in April.

Community Engagement and Organizational Knowledge

In an effort to increase our organizational knowledge of racial equity and healing, 25 Search managers, administrators and DSPs participated in United Front webinars. United Front founders and leaders were driven by hope, passion, and a desire to see their own community of Fort Wayne, IN improve in the areas of racial diversity and inclusion; United Front offers a year-long virtual program that provides a safe environment for participants to learn a shared humanity, a common language, and philosophy that will change the trajectory of the community for generations to come.  Each quarter, our United Front participants meet to discuss how we can integrate the concepts of equity, diversity and inclusion with Search’s broader organizational culture.  This initiative will expand into FY 22 and beyond.

FY22 Quality Enhancement Goal Highlights

For FY 22, Search has identified 15 quality enhancement goals. Each goal has a desired outcome with measurable milestones that will be monitored for progress on a quarterly basis.  A few highlights of FY 22 goals include:

  • Create a website improvement plan for JJsList.com to increase the accessibility and functionality of this critical online resource. (Rights Protection and Promotion)
  • Improve and grow the use of technology within all Search program sites. (Natural Support Networks)
  • Create partnerships to strengthen the presence of Visibility Artists in local communities. (Natural Support Networks)
  • Create and implement a comprehensive plan to expand Station MD utilization within homes. (Best Possible Health)
  • Build and advance organizational knowledge and understanding of racial healing and equity at Search through active participation in the United Front initiative. (Staff Resources and Supports)
  • Recreate ALP program schedules to allow flexibility of services for people supported. (Positive Services and Supports)
  • Grow fundraising revenue for Search and raise a minimum of $383,000 throughout the year. (Continuity and Personal Security)

Search looks forward to learning and growing as an organization in FY 22.

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