Columbia organizations see promise in disability services

Related Story

COLUMBIA - According to a national report by United Cerebral Palsy, Missouri ranks third in the quality of services given to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Services for Independent Living is a nonprofit organization that provides care for young kids dealing with these kinds of disabilities. Mark Ohrenberg, a community service and youth advocate at the organization, said he thinks services are improving.

"It's been exciting to see the Partnership for Hope reaching out to more people, and that's been because the state has matched what the community has brought," Ohrenberg said.

Partnership for Hope is a Medicaid program that provides in-home and community-based services for people with developmental disabilities in Missouri. Ohrenberg also said the county board system is beneficial.

"It becomes more individualized and more community specific," Ohrenberg said.

The county board system works where every taxpayer in Boone County pays a tax to support people with developmental disabilities. The money then goes through the Department of Developmental Disabilities and is passed on to Boone County Family Resources.

Executive Director for Boone County Family Resources Robyn Kaufman said more focus should be put on employment opportunities for kids with developmental disabilities.

Cynthia Floyd, a youth advocate and independent living specialist at Services for Independent Living, agreed with Kaufman's view.

"I think we need to have more of a focus on the out-of-school youth," Kaufman said. "They seem to sometimes get lost after high school."

The full report can be found on the United Cerebral Palsy website