HONESDALE – The Wayne County Commissioners proclaimed March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
Members of Wayne County Behavioral and Developmental Program/Early Intervention (BDP/EI) and several individuals who receive services were present in honor of the occasion.
“This year we...have our supports coordinators here,” said Peggy Wilson, ID Program Specialist, Wayne County AE and BDP/EI. “Those are the folks that people see.
“They're the folks that the consumers work with...The families work with our coordinators and the coordinators help to arrange services for our consumers.”
She added each year during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, the department highlights a different service.
“This year we have highlighted our Lifesharing, or family living services,” Wilson said.
“These are folks that open their homes, take our consumers in and our consumers become part of a wonderful, caring family.”
Staff from the Human Resources Center were also present. Wilson said they help these individuals have an “everyday life.”
“They help them, they integrate them in their families, they take them on vacations,” she said.
“Many of our Lifesharing folks have been with their families in excess of 10 years. They truly become a part of that family.”
Commissioner Brian Smith thanked the organizations for all they do.
“I think it's fantastic that we have people who care so much to open their homes and make a home environment...and make a meaningful experience,” he said.
“I really do appreciate that.”
Commissioner Jonathan Fritz added there is a sense of “teamwork and cooperation and looking out for the greater good.”
“The fact we have so many caring households it just warms my heart,” he stated.
“We have awesome staff at the County of Wayne...we're so very proud to be apart of the same team.”
The proclamation states that one to three percent of individuals are affected by developmental disabilities.
There are between 500 and 1,500 people in Wayne County.
BDP/EI focuses on the “provision of quality supports and services, which allows people with developmental disabilities to live everyday lives.”
Because of services that are provided, these individuals are “fully integrated” into the community.
The proclamation also states there are efforts to “embrace and promote” the potential for employment for those with developmental disabilities.
Those who are unable to live in their homes also have the opportunity to stay with families in the Lifesharing program.
There are currently 239 individuals who receive services for developmental disabilities. Nine of them currently reside in supportive family households.