COF Training Services, Inc provides supports and services to approximately 140 people who have intellectual/developmental disabilities, enabling them to live in houses and apartments that are integrated into typical middle class neighborhoods in typical rural communities in Coffey & Osage & Franklin counties. Making the choice of a provider of residential services is a tough and daunting decision with far-reaching implications to the care, health, safety and general well-being of the person for whom services are being sought.
There are other competing organizations that provide these same types of services in COF’s three county service area. COF, however, is the only organization providing residential services as a not-for-profit organization.
COF owns and operates through its subsidiaries eight 8-bed group homes, six 3-bed group homes and an apartment complex. These homes are what are known as HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) financed properties. Because they are HUD financed properties, the individuals who reside in these homes pay only one third of their income for their housing and utilities. Any equity that is accruing in these properties is explicitly applied to the betterment of the not-for-profit organization and its mission. In the case of the for-profit organization that is providing residential services, those homes and properties which are being paid for by the government with tax payers’ dollars are building equity for the personal wealth of the owners and/or their business associates. No “owner” will ever derive any personal benefit from the HUD properties owned and operated by COF.
These living spaces are homes, not institutions. When you walk in the front door, you enter a living room, not a check-in station. There are no beepers, call lights, or rolling service carts. Our homes are decorated just as your home is — each individual has the freedom to add their own personalities to the decorations in the homes.
When making your decision regarding which provider of residential services to choose, do not hesitate to ask what the starting wages and the average wages are of the people who are providing direct care services. Don’t be afraid to ask what, if any, benefits direct care staff receive. Don’t be surprised to discover that people providing direct care services in for-profit enterprises may not have any substantive benefits and may be working for lower wages than people who are working in not-for-profit settings doing the same work. Yet, whether “for-profit” or “not-for-profit”, the revenue source and the rates of reimbursement are precisely the same. The difference lies in how the money provided by the government from tax payers’ dollars is allocated.
We Provide Upper Level Management and Supervision In Our Homes
When choosing a provider of residential services and supports consider whether or not there is active, ongoing, professional-level management and supervision in the homes. Many providers of residential services and supports leave the operation of their homes during evenings and weekends to direct support staff without providing much, if any, management oversight. COF provides a layer of supervision and management for its residential services that many other organizations simply do not provide. These managers are required to be mobile and to work non-standard hours. They are required to be in and out of homes on an ongoing basis. Every weekend there is a designated on-call manager who is required to visit all homes each and every weekend. Additionally, COF has nursing staff available at all times.
Leaving vulnerable individuals without strong management presence is a not an option at COF. While rate methodologies do not allow for round-the-clock, in-house management for each and every home, COF has addressed that problem by allocating considerable resources to a professional-level layer of managers and by requiring mobility and flexibility from its managers. In the provision of residential supports and services to people who are intellectually/developmentally disabled the health and safety of those individuals are paramount. When making your selection of a provider of residential services, health and safety should be the primary consideration. Registered nurses are available to assist the individuals receiving services and the staff of COF twenty-four hours a day, 365 days each year.
COF provides a full continuum of residential services and supports options based on the needs of the individuals being served. Some of the homes, for example, are operated with 24-hour shift staff which means that there will always be an adequate number of direct care staff at any and all times that the people residing in the homes are present. However, there are people who reside in other homes who do not need 24-hour-supervision, but they may need “intermittent” staff supports and supervision in varying degrees in accordance to their needs. At COF we use individualized person centered plans (PCP) and provide the supports and services in accordance to the needs and the wishes of the individual who is receiving the services.
We Enjoy Being Integrated Into Our Communities
If you reside Coffey or Osage or Franklin counties, you have probably encountered persons receiving COF’s residential services fully participating in the communities in which they live. You may have encountered these people at church, in restaurants, at stores, volunteering their time, participating in community functions, at local sporting events, or anywhere else that you might encounter any one of your so-called “normal” friends or neighbors. COF holds forth as a hallmark of their services the concepts of integration and normalization. We do whatever it takes to ensure that the people we serve are as fully integrated as they can possibly be into the communities in which they live.
COF believes that each person who receives services should be treated with respect and dignity. Each person who receives services receives individualized, person-centered learning opportunities which occur within a natural environment, and which are based upon that individual’s needs, wishes, and desires. Each person who receives services is given opportunities to achieve personal growth and satisfaction through the excitement of accomplishing individualized goals, through experiencing optimal physical and mental health, and through the enjoyment of family, friends and community-based activities.
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