Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and Commissioner of Social Services Robert Allers are pleased to announce the Adult Protective Services Division of the Department of Social Services has been honored with a Certificate of Recognition for "Outstanding Programs and Practices Promoting Protection of Vulnerable Adults" by the New York Office of Children & Family Services (OCFS) for the division’s innovative use of case manager aides. These state awards are designed to identify and publicize innovative ideas and best practices for protecting vulnerable adults that OCFS would like to be replicated across the state.
County Executive Steinhaus said, “Congratulations to all of the employees of our Adult Protective Services division, notably our case manager aides, for this well-deserved statewide honor. This is yet another example of the caring, compassionate work that makes a positive difference in people’s lives done everyday by the employees of Dutchess County Government.”
Dutchess County’s Adult Protective Services division assists those over 18 years old who, because of physical or mental impairments, can no longer provide for their own needs or protect themselves from neglect or abuse, and have no one willing and able to help in a responsible manner. APS provides services designed to prevent or remedy neglect, exploitation or abuse and to strengthen clients’ capacity to function and their ability to be self-directing. Services may include counseling, locating adequate shelter and clothing, arranging transportation, shopping for the homebound and assisting the clients in obtaining other benefits such as Medicaid, Social Security Disability/Retirement, SSI and Food Stamps. The primary objective is to help these vulnerable adults remain in the community. In 2009, nearly 600 adults were referred to Adult Protective Services.
Dutchess County has two Case Manager Aides: Amber Collins, who has been with the Department of Social Services (DSS) for over 21 years and Barbara VanNorstrand who has worked in DSS for 10 years.
Some examples of how Case Manager Aides assist vulnerable adults here in Dutchess County include:
A disabled woman, living alone, who cannot afford a cab to the grocery store every month, receives assistance with transportation, shopping and budgeting of her Food Stamps.
An elderly client with dementia who is still able to function in her home but needs extra assistance, gets help with scheduling doctor appointments, as well as being transported to and from the appointments.
A developmentally disabled client, who lives with her 15 year old daughter, needs assistance with shopping and budgeting. The case manager aide helps both mother and daughter with making smart decisions about purchasing food and personal items.
“Amber and Barbara develop an important rapport with clients and understand their individual needs. Just a little bit of help can make such a difference in someone’s life and our case manager aides are there to offer that extra assistance to allow these vulnerable residents to remain in our community with dignity,” said Commissioner of Social Services Robert Allers.
This is the second time Dutchess County’s Adult Protective Services division has been recognized for its outstanding work. In 2008, OCFS honored the entire division for “excellence in providing services for adults, outstanding protective services for adults casework and supervision and for going the extra mile.”
The certification of recognition will be presented to Dutchess County’s Adult Protective Services Division by New York State Adult Services Director Alan Lawitz at a local presentation next week.