North Dakota institution takes steps to decrease admissions
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota institution for people with disabilities is formulating a new strategy to reduce admissions.
Life Skills and Transition Center administrators in Grafton have included additional funds in the center's proposed 2019-21 budgets to create a statewide team, The Bismarck Tribune reported . The group is called the Clinical Assistance, Resources and Evaluation. CARES, a program that has existed since 1995, would work with community providers to help keep people with development disabilities in their homes.
The request to expand CARES would total about $970,000 and include 7.5 full-time positions. The full-time jobs would likely be placed at the eight regional human service centers across the state, according to the Department of Human Resources.
"I definitely think anytime we can put resources into communities to help with crisis intervention, it's a positive thing," said Pam Mack, director of North Dakota Protection and Advocacy.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum included funding for the CARES team expansion and additional funding for the institution in his budget proposal.
Sue Foerster, superintendent of the Life Skills and Transition Center, said the request to expand the CARES team will move available resources from the institution to communities.
An attempt to expand the CARES program during the 2015-17 bienniums failed due to high costs, according to Foerster.
The LSTC had to eliminate 20.5 full-time positions for the next two-year budget cycle, Foerster said. But, the institution would get back 7.5 full-time employees, if state lawmakers approve the request to expand the CARES program.
Republican Sen. Nicole Poolman introduced a bill that would study replacing the LSTC during the last Legislative session, but it failed in the Senate.
Poolman said she doesn't plan to introduce any legislation specific to the LSTC this session, but, as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she intends to "push" DHS for a plan to improve crisis level care across the state.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com