Members of the Barry County Board for the Developmentally Disabled granted a number of financial requests from supporting agencies in the county during the board's regular meeting in April, which was held at Arc of the Ozarks in Monett.
Members approved a request from Robin Boring, director of program services at Arc of the Ozarks, in the amount of $8,220 to allow clients the opportunity to take part in swimming and bowling activities, as well as allow one client to attend the day program in Cassville three times a week. Those funds will cover the activities and program for the remainder of the year.
The board also approved sending two clients to Wonderland Camp at Lake of the Ozarks for a summer camp experience at a cost of $800. One client has raised a portion of the camp fees on an individual basis, and the grant will make up the remaining tuition amount. The camp provides services for mentally and physically challenged individuals of all ages.
Camp Barnabas in rural Purdy will also receive $15,400 for 22 camper scholarships for the upcoming season.
Members discussed an $84,000 shortfall in funding over a three-year period from the Missouri Department of Mental Health Regional Center in Joplin, which serves clients in Barry and Lawrence counties. Part of the shortfall is due to different funding rates between Joplin and Springfield.
According to John Foley, president and chief executive officer of Arc of the Ozarks, the shortfall is a "rate" problem.
"If you have a house for four people and there are only three in it, the costs to run and manage the house are the same," Foley said. "But we are consistently losing money by not having the fourth person occupy a room.
"If we can increase our numbers, the rates would be okay," he said.
Foley said the state was starting to trend away from group homes and toward independent skilled living.
"If you were asked if you wanted to live in a house with eight other people or in an apartment with two other people, which would you choose?" Foley asked.
Foley also told board members it was his eventual goal to have "renovation" homes for clients. The renovation program is a modification program that Foley said has been proven to be effective for those with behaviorial issues.
"It may take awhile, because many of these individuals have a poor self image," Foley said. "They are going to mess up to maintain that image.
"In the renovation program, the client and a staff member develop a personal relationship so that when the client breaks a window or punches a hole in the wall, they will see that it doesn't work," Foley said.
"The other area of great need is with autistic clients," he continued. "The primary focus of autism is on children, but we have adults with autism, too, and they need services."
Foley said he has behaviorial analysts come in and offer advice on individual clients.
"They do good work," Foley said. "I'm hoping to bring the program to Monett soon, but I don't know when that will be."
Foley requested an additional $30,000 in funding to get through the remainder of the year. Foley's request was approved by the board.
In final business, board members transferred unused funds from various projects into the general fund. Those transfers included: $38,063 from the Monett Area Extended Employment Workshop; $36,830 from the Missouri Department of Mental Health; $422 from the Lawrence County Tax Board for the Developmentally Disabled; $225 from the Lawrence County Tax Board for the Developmentally Disabled; $461 from Arc of the Ozarks; $4,036 from Countryside Care; $38,026 from employment services; and $4,550 from Camp Barnabas.
The next meeting of the Barry County Board for the Developmentally Disabled will be held at the Barry County Courthouse in Cassville at 1 p.m. on Aug. 20.