Though the COF acronym in COF Training Services actually stands for Coffey, Osage and Franklin counties, that acronym easily lends itself to COF’s determination to take Control of Our Future. While all of the elements for the quintessential “perfect storm” of decreased funding have been converging, COF has decided to learn to navigate in the storm instead of hiding its head in the sand hoping that the storm will pass. This storm will not be passing any time soon. COF recognizes that these converging events are forcing changes in the way social services of all types are funded and delivered,  and has chosen to boldly embrace this simple fact.  Legislators and other elected officials have the demanding task of having to allocate ever scarcer resources to ever increasing demands upon those ever scarcer resources. The problem at hand is one of arithmetic, demographics and allocation of scarce resources.

While demands on government resources are increasing, resources available to all levels of government are decreasing in direct correlation to higher rates of unemployment, under-employment and the consequent decrease in taxable wages.

At COF, we know of only one option: to Control Our Future.

The demands on increasingly scarce government resources are compounded by the aging of the unique demographic phenomena known as the “baby boomer generation.” In the social services industry we are experiencing a contraction in our niche of the markets due to unavoidable funding decreases. At the same time, though, demands for social services are increasing. In a nutshell, this is precisely the crux of the funding problems facing all types of social services organizations including COF Training Services, Inc.

At COF we accept as a sacred trust our responsibilities to protect and care for the people we have been entrusted to serve. The circumstances into which each of the people we serve were born and their life stories are as unique and different as everybody else’s is among the so-called “normal” population. Their personalities are as unique and varied as all of the unique and varied personalities all of us encounter in our day-to-day lives among the so-called “normal” population. Their dreams, their aspirations, their basic day-to-day existence, and their perceptions are no less real or valuable to them than to rest of the so-called “normal” population.

People with intellectual/developmental disabilities have gradually been able to move themselves forward as a group. Though their achievement has been more gradual than some other citizen groups with challenges, it has been remarkable. Progress has been made possible through the efforts of devoted parents, family members, advocates, and organizations such as COF.

Now looms the ominous possibility of losing ground due to converging circumstances that will undoubtedly change how social services are funded and delivered. Currently, as with most other social services, COF’s primary source of funding is Medicaid. Medicaid is unsustainable. As unsettling as impending changes to the way social services are funded seems to be, the sustainability of Medicaid is simply a function of arithmetic , demographics and allocation of increasingly scarce resources.

COF’s response to these changes is to Control Our Future. In so doing, as occurs in the capital market systems, we are absolutely committed to doing whatever it takes to adapt to the converging “market” forces in order to continue providing essential services without disruption and in perpetuity to the vulnerable people whom we proudly serve.

At COF we will not waver nor will we yield in our dedication to the delivery of services as best we can to people who are intellectually/developmentally disabled in Coffey, Osage, and Franklin Counties.

We at COF collectively go forward courageously with the utmost determination to Control Our Future for the sake of those people who have come to rely upon us for those services that enable them to succeed in leading healthy, fulfilling lives. Letting down the people who depend on us is not an option, but neither is continuing down the same historical operating path.  In short, if you feel drawn to help us in any way, please feel free to contact us. If you can think of a mutually beneficial collaborative opportunity let us know. It is our sincere wish to attract creative thinkers from all walks of life whose minds are as open as their hearts to join in the noble cause of the provision of social services.   In so doing we are confident in achieving a highly desirable outcome.

Chris Patton, CEO