KSI Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report
KSI experienced an important event during Fiscal Year 2017 that was a testament to the individual efforts and dedication of numerous people. The organization underwent its annual Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS) Quality Assurance Review that revealed no deficiencies, with many positive comments within the DDDS report about KSI and its staff. Even more significant is that KSI’s programs were deemed in substantial compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Final Rule on HCBS Settings stipulating that programs for people with disabilities be delivered in the most community-integrated settings possible. Years worth of effort and program enhancements have helped KSI lead the forefront of Delaware disabilities service providers, for which the organization has its Board of Directors, generous supporters, community partners and dedicated staff to thank. It’s taken a lot of strength and commitment, but KSI is tracking positively in the direction it needs to properly and consistently serve Delawareans with varied abilities for many years to come.
KSI served 305 individuals in FY17 with programs and services to help them reach their employment and community life goals. Work as part of Pre-Vocational training provided 37,982 hours of employment at KSI’s Milford Skill Development Center, as well as 93,540 employment hours at community-based worksites throughout Kent and Sussex Counties. Those we served earned more than $929,000 in wages during FY17 within Pre-Vocational programming, gaining valuable skills and experience to prepare them for independent Supported Employment. KSI was also able to serve a number of businesses and nonprofits with valuable production and janitorial services at their places of business, including Kraft Heinz Foods, Procter & Gamble Dover Wipes, Merck Animal Health, Dover Air Force Base, CHEER, PPG Industries, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Georgetown Fire Company, Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery and others during FY17.
As part of KSI’s Life Enrichment Program, participants took 8,163 community integration trips and 5,846 volunteer trips in FY17. Those individuals gave back 10,142 hours of volunteer service to several nonprofit community partners. KSI transportation provided 134,967 trips to employment and training opportunities, traveling more than 1,015,000 miles in FY17 alone. Those trips included visiting a growing collection of community partners encompassing community centers, theaters, libraries, retail stores, historic sites, museums, cultural venues and much more, all of them welcoming KSI participants with open arms for community inclusion trips.
KSI’s expanding Supported Employment (SE) services helped a growing number of individuals gain and maintain community employment. There were 18 SE job placements in FY17, with six more participants in job development leading up to placement. And there are 33 SE participants currently receiving follow-along support for their success throughout the course of their employment. That’s a lot of employment achievement by individuals who have put forth their greatest abilities to reach higher.
With all these positive outcomes, the organization also faces challenges in the next year. Disability service providers nearly faced steep funding cuts due to severe shortfalls in Delaware’s FY18 budget. However, those budget shortfalls are expected to continue affecting funding considerations in the coming Legislative session leading up to FY19. On the federal level, there are also potential Medicaid cuts in response to recently-passed legislation. Medicaid is a major source of funding for programs benefiting people with disabilities. Our supporters and advocates must continue to be aware of pending legislation and engage their legislators at state and federal levels to help preserve and, ideally, grow funding to help people with varied abilities reach their greatest potential in their communities.
Additionally, Delaware’s disability service providers are intent upon helping federal legislators understand the importance of preserving all living and working choices for people with disabilities, including facility-based, safe employment opportunities such as those KSI has provided for 55 years. An emerging national initiative called A-Team will hopefully be part of helping Delaware’s disability community and its supporters tell the story of how important choice is for people receiving Medicaid-funded services. The final compliance date for the CMS Final Rule has been extended three years to March 2022, so there’s still time to change the shape of our participants’ futures for their greatest advantage.
The organization continues to seek diverse funding in addition to State and business contract revenues to meet the challenges ahead. Increased grant acquisitions, development of relationships with community foundations and personal donation growth has contributed enormously to KSI’s provision of quality programming. Volunteer fundraising through the annual Friends of KSI Quarter Auction and Car Show, personal donations of quality items for raffles, and community nights at Abbott’s Grill and Grotto Pizza in Milford have all provided creative ways to raise funds benefiting KSI’s programs. We welcome information on new funding opportunities, as well as unique fundraising ideas to continue preserving the level of service that KSI’s participants deserve.
KSI was grateful in FY17 for the significant support of families, community members, civic groups, foundations, nonprofits, businesses, agencies and so many more that have made such a difference in our organization’s ability to move forward in challenging times. We and the people we serve could not achieve what’s been accomplished without those enthusiastic and generous community partnerships. KSI also appreciates its staff and its dynamic Board of Directors for their daily efforts and dedication to help participants reach their goals. And we welcome inquiries for personal or group presentations to help more people understand the significance of KSI’s participants and their contributions to the community. In FY18, we want everyone to know the benefits of embracing abilities.