Monday, August 13, 2012

DBHDD Welcomes New Commissioner

DBHDD Press Release

August 13, 2012                                      
Tom Wilson, 404-463-7649


ATLANTA - The new commissioner of the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) began his tenure today by thanking the agency’s employees and committing to working closely with consumers, their families, and service providers. Frank W. Berry was previously CEO of View Point Health in Lawrenceville and has over twenty years experience serving the people of Georgia. He was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal in June to succeed Dr. Frank Shelp as commissioner.

“Over the past three years, the people of DBHDD have created an organization founded on service and professionalism,” Berry said in his inaugural message to the agency’s employees.  “In this next phase of growth, we’ll continue expanding access to high quality services for everyone we serve, with a focus on strong partnerships and accountability for our providers and ourselves.”

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities was created in 2009 to focus on programs and policies benefitting people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders.

A bio and photo of Frank Berry are available at


Monday, July 30, 2012

Georgia APSE SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT Conference Registration Open!

Announcement from Georgia APSE
Georgia APSE SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT Statewide Conference Registration is open and ready to go!  If you have mailing lists and/or listservs, please share this information as widely as possible.  We look forward to seeing you in Athens!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - Friday, October 12, 2012
UGA Hotel and Conference Center
1197 South Lumpkin Street, Athens, GA 30602
United States
 Welcome to the registration site for the 2012 GA-APSE state conference, "Real Jobs For All: The Expectation, not the Exception!" We anticipate a wonderful conference filled with presentations focusing on moving Georgia forward towards a more inclusive workforce. Changing hearts, minds, and policy to reflect numerous employment options for all people will be a great beginning in our state.
Invited keynote presenters include Dr. Lisa Razzano, Associate Director of Training and Education for the University of Illinois, Chicago, Department of Psychiatry. We wanted to make sure she made it back to Georgia after her rousing speech at The Carter Center SE Forum.
We also look forward to finalizing keynote agreements with Dr. Lori Davis and Michael Callahan, and will feel fortunate to have both of these stars in the fields of Customized and Supported employment available to share their prospective visions.
We anticipate hearing from Rich Toscano and David Lynde, both nationally known employment experts with a wealth of experience, who will share their ideas about the IPS model and how implementation depends not just on the "front line", but also how policy and administrative decisions can positively affect evidence-based supported employment.
We are anticipating a large roster of sessions including an encore appearance by Jennifer McGee, advocate and mother of sons who experience autism. We will have appearances by a well-renown motivational speaker and self- advocate who is also a business person, and a father and son whom will share their ideas about what it takes to make a real life in the community. Ruby Moore, ED of The Georgia Advocacy Office, will present "Real Jobs, Real Lives." Ruby has over thirty years of experience in advocating for people previously considered "unemployable". GA-APSE's own Doug Crandall will share "Creating Communities of Excellence," a panel discussion which is sure to get conversation and ideas flowing. We are working hard to offer meaningful sessions on job development, collaboration around funding for SE, and other topics sure to add tools to the toolbox of SE for all in attendance. The GA-APSE Board of Directors welcomes you to Athens!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dave Blanchard Named DBHDD Deputy Assistant Commissioner

Press Release from DBHDD


ATLANTA -- David Blanchard, a longtime advocate, service provider, and current Executive Director of All About Developmental Disabilities in Atlanta, will be joining the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) as its new Deputy Assistant Commissioner.

“Georgia is in the midst of tremendous change as we work to serve more people closer to home,” noted Dr. Bryce McLaulin, DBHDD’s Acting Assistant Commissioner for Developmental Disabilities. “Dave brings experience and credibility in advocacy, public policy, and management to the task.”

DBHDD is the state agency that’s responsible for policies and programs that serve people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders. The agency is engaged in a five-year project to expand community services for people with developmental disabilities so that they can live as independently as possible in the most integrated settings possible and none have to be isolated in state hospitals or other institutions.

All About Developmental Disabilities (AADD) is an Atlanta-based non-profit that provides support services to families of people with developmental disabilities, allowing individuals to experience personal empowerment, family stability, and community participation. With more than 50 years of service, it’s one of the longest-serving organizations for developmental disabilities in Atlanta and the state. Blanchard has worked with AADD in various capacities since 1999 and has been Executive Director of the organization since 2009.
- more -

DAVID BLANCHARD – page 2 of 2

Blanchard is a member of the Boards of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute and the Georgia American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. He holds an MS in Family Studies from Auburn University and an AB in Psychology from the University of Georgia.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network Conference Coming Up!

The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network 
21st Annual Summer Conference 

Working Toward Wellness Through Coaching 
August 21-23, 2012 
Epworth by the Sea 
St. Simon's Island, Georgia 

Conference Information
Conference Date
August 21-23, 2012

Conference Location
Epworth By The Sea
St. Simons Island, Georgia

Registration Deadline
All Registration Forms must be
received on or before August 1, 2012

Conference Check-In
Check-in will begin at Epworth on
Tuesday, August 21st at 2:00 pm in
Strickland Auditorium

PLEASE NOTE: Everyone is responsible for their own lunch on Tuesday.
Supper is included in the conference cost.

Conference Questions
All questions regarding the 2012
Conference should be directed to the
Georgia Mental Health Consumer
Network office:
Tel: (404) 687-9487
Fax: (404) 687-0772

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DBHDD June 19, 2012 press release regarding Developmental Disabilities

 DBHDD Commissioner names Acting Assistant Commissioner for Developmental Disabilities

June 19, 2012
ATLANTA - Today Dr. Frank E. Shelp, Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, announced that Dr. Bryce McLaulin will now serve as Acting Assistant Commissioner for Developmental Disabilities in addition to his current role as Assistant Commissioner of Behavioral Health. A national search will be conducted to identify permanent leadership for the division of Developmental Disabilities. The department thanks Beverly Rollins for 20 years of faithful service to the state of Georgia and wishes her all the best as she pursues new opportunities outside the Agency.
Contact Information: 
Kristie N. Swink,

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

280 jobs cut as patients leave Milledgeville hospital

By: Andy Miller Published: Jun 1, 2012

A state agency announced Friday that the remaining patients with developmental disabilities will be moved out of the state psychiatric hospital in Milledgeville into community residences by July.

Click to Read More

Monday, June 4, 2012

Two Minute AJC Medicaid Video: Watch it

Carrie Teegardin Medicaid Video -- Stories

MUST READ ARTICLES ON Georgia Medicaid and Medicaid Redesign

Carrie Teegardin and Misty Williams did an incredible job illustrating the story of people who are living meaningful lives in the community through Medicaid.  These articles demonstrate the importance of increasing Medicaid Waivers and community supports through any redesign of Medicaid.  Most of the individuals featured in the articles are former Atlanta Legal Aid Society clients who were willing to be interviewed.

Medicaid More than Medical, Misty Williams and Carrie Teegardin, AJC, June 4, 2012

Reshaping Medicaid Care to Affect Many, Carrie Teegardin and Misty Williams, June 3, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

Last 16 Men and Women with Developmental Disabilities Leaving Central State Hospital

The following is a press statement from DBHDD

Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities
Frank E. Shelp, M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner
Office of Communications
Two Peachtree Street NW, Suite 22.224, Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3142  ~ 404-657-2254

CSH Developmental Disabilities Program

Georgia’s success helping people with developmental disabilities find homes and services in communities across the state means more individuals are living as independently as possible and fewer are relying on institutional care. As a result, on June 30, 2012, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) will discontinue the developmental disabilities program at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville. Six months ago there were approximately 120 people with developmental disabilities being served by that program; by the end of May, there were 16. By June 30, all of them will have chosen new homes and service providers appropriate to their needs in communities. With the participation of their families and the support of Medicaid waivers from the State, each of them will have moved into their own or their family’s homes, host homes, or group homes, while still receiving the therapeutic and living supports they require.

Approximately 280 DBHDD employees associated with the developmental disabilities unit and support services will be affected by the closure of the program. Each will have 30 days notice before their employment is ended and the department will be offering job fairs, resume workshops, and other services to help them find new employment, including any jobs that are available at CSH and other state hospitals. The Georgia Department of Labor will also be onsite throughout the month of June providing employees with information about available resources and re-employment services, a strategy DBHDD and DOL have used successfully in the past to help staff find new jobs.
In 2011, Georgia passed legislation to end admissions to state hospitals for anyone whose primary diagnosis is a developmental disability. Since that time, individuals have been provided with housing, community services, and family supports to prevent hospitalization. By ending admissions and continuing to help people with developmental disabilities move into community settings, the state will make it possible for everyone who can be served in community settings to move out of institutional care by July 1, 2015. This transition is in keeping with the State’s 2010 settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice – and the aspirations of people with developmental disabilities, their families, and advocates.

Although the role of Central State Hospital in Georgia’s behavioral health and developmental disabilities system has and is changing, Milledgeville’s role in human services for the State of Georgia continues. New facilities, including the 280-bed Bostick Skilled Nursing facility, are opening, and legislation passed by the General Assembly this year will establish a redevelopment authority for the Milledgeville area, including the substantial land and building resources associated with Central State.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

HUD Makes Available $85 Million to Fund Housing for Extremely Low-Income Persons with Disabilities

HUD Makes Available $85 Million to Fund Housing for Extremely Low-Income Persons with Disabilities
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development makes $85 million available to state housing agencies to provide affordable supportive housing for extremely low-income persons with disabilities. This is the first time in the history of HUD’s Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program ( that funding will be offered to state housing agencies that meet new eligibility criteria, including having a partnership with a state health and human services and Medicaid agency to provide essential support and services. The Notice of Funding for the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance was posted on here.
Entities have until July 31, 2012 to apply for funding, which is expected to provide housing for 2,800 extremely low-income persons with disabilities.
“The reforms the Obama Administration has made to the Section 811 program will strengthen HUD's efforts to provide affordable, supportive housing to thousands of the most vulnerable low-income persons with disabilities," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “HUD and the Department of Health and Human Services are also seizing the opportunity to support innovative state-level strategies to transform and increase the availability of affordable housing, matched with needed services and supports, that will help keep people with disabilities out of institutions and integrated into the community.”
“We are excited about this new opportunity for housing with services for people with disabilities,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “Our collaboration with HUD is critically important to helping people with disabilities lead productive lives as members of their communities.  This is a priority for our Department, which is reflected in the recent creation of the Administration for Community Living.  This agency provides leadership within HHS and across the federal government to make sure that people with disabilities have the opportunity to live in the community with the right mix of services and supports."
To ensure this at-risk population gets quality, cost-effective service, HUD and HHS are aligning housing and healthcare services at the state level. Under new eligibility requirements, only state or local housing agencies that are currently administering affordable housing programs are eligible for these funds. In addition, these entities must have established a formal partnership with a state health and human services and Medicaid agency to provide for referrals, tenant selection and perform other casework activities to ensure that individuals with the most critical need receive this supportive housing assistance. The funding must be used for rental assistance only and not for construction or rehabilitation.
“The Section 811 Program is a lifeline for people in the disability community who want to live normal lives in society, but cannot afford the cost of even modest rental housing.  These reforms make the program even more significant to improve the lives of thousands more people with long-term disabilities access to services in the community," said Andrew Sperling, housing Co-Chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force.
This round of funding will also target the assistance to "extremely" low-income persons with disabilities – those who are at or below 30 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) – and limits to only 25 percent the number of apartments that can be set-aside for supportive housing for persons with disabilities in a building.  These measures, and other reforms to the Section 811 program, are the result of the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010 – groundbreaking legislation President Obama signed on January 4, 2011 to revitalize and reform the program to improve services to this population.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 18th Carter Center Georgia Mental Health Forum

Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum

Seventeenth Annual Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum:
"Building Quality Behavioral Health Community Services and Supports
for All Georgians"
May 18, 2012
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The Carter Center