11/6/19 Parent Engagement Night Recap

On Wednesday, October 30th, the School District of Fort Atkinson held a free Parent Engagement Night for families of children with special needs in grades 4K to 5th grade.  Dinner was provided for attendees, along with free childcare, and a Spanish translator.

The group first heard from Barbara Gang from Jefferson County Human Services.  Gang began by explaining that the Children’s Long Term Support Program (CLTS) is a federal and state-funded waiver program that provides funding for disability-related services for children who have substantial limitations in their daily activities and need support to remain in their homes and communities.  She reiterated that CLTS is considered the funding source of last resort and that all other funding sources must be utilized before accessing waiver funding. Gang then shared what services can be funded by CLTS such as adaptive aids, counseling, and therapeutic services, and specialized medical and therapeutic supplies.  To make a referral to CLTS in Jefferson County, one must contact Compass Wisconsin to be screened for eligibility at www.compasswisconsin.org or 608-288-9808.

Barbara Gang also shared information about Family Voices of Wisconsin with the group.  This group helps guide families through the healthcare system so they can find services for their child’s needs.  They also translate healthcare language so that families can understand and find resources to reduce their stress and expenses.  For more information, please visit www.familyvoiceswi.org 

The next speaker was Brad Holman from the Southeast Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs.  This group serves families and providers who care for children from birth to age 21 with special health care needs or disabilities.  They can also help problem-solve issues related to health insurance and coverage issues, connecting families to support groups, parent to parent matches and training, and much more.  For more information, please visit www.southeastregionalcenter.org or call 800-234-5437.

The final speaker was Brian Kenney, who works for the Transition Improvement Grant and is the Southern Regional Director serving CESA’S (Cooperative Educational Service Agencies) 2 and 3.  Kenney stressed the importance that even if your student is in 4K to 5th grade, it is imperative to begin planning for their future now.  He provided attendees with a copy of the Wisconsin Transition Resource Guide which is a resource for families and youth with disabilities transitioning to adulthood.  For more details, please visit www.beforeage18.org.  

Kenney then introduced the WiTransition App.  The Transition Improvement Grant has designed a transition app to increase self-direction and self-advocacy for all Wisconsin youth as they participate in their Postsecondary Transition Plan.  The app guides youth and families through the transition process as they plan for their future beyond high school in the areas of employment, postsecondary education/training, and independent living.  This app is free to use and can be found in both iTunes and Google Play stores. It can also be accessed by going to www.witransition.com

Jefferson County Children’s Long Term Support Program is currently looking for qualified Respite providers.  If you are interested, please contact Barbara Gang at 920-674-8715 or barbg@jeffersoncountywi.gov 

Coordinators Mark Peterson and Kimberly Sullivan plan to hold a similar session for families with middle and high school-aged students next semester, and another 4K-5 event next fall.  If you are interested in learning more about these sessions, please reach out to Mark Peterson at petersonm@fortschools.org or Kimberly Sullivan at sullivank@fortschools.org