DPS opens brand new One-Stop Support Shop for all parents of students with Special Needs

Detroit Public Schools on Wednesday, Sept. 26, opened a brand new One-Stop Support Shop to serve parents of students with special needs from any DPS school as part of its new Parent Resource Center at Drew Transition Center.

The One Stop Support Shop kicked off with a free half-day event drawing parents from across the district who sampled the services that will be available year-round at the Center.

Parents are participating in mini workshops, receiving information from partners, and hearing from a parent panel.

“Being able to provide a wide array of information and support to our parents and those across DPS – all in one place – will positively impact them and their children,” said Robert Avedisian, principal of Drew Transition Center. “We hope this innovative process will become an urban model that can be replicated locally and nationally based on how we service parents of students with special needs.”

The One Stop Support Shop, which is modeled on an integrated approach to servicing parents, will provide ongoing services from a variety of partners and service providers. Partners include Community Living Services, Detroit Parent Network, Alliance for Families, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Neighborhood Service Organization, PsyGenics and Synergy Partners LLC.

Research shows that students benefit when physical and behavioral health professionals work collaboratively to improve health indicators rather than simply using a referral method, said David Pankotai, MA, LPC, Executive Director at ConsumerLink Network, Inc.

“In a referral model, parents were given information and educators had to just hope for the best,” Pankotai said. “On the health side, it has been proven that outcomes are better when services are more integrated.  At Drew’s One-Stop Support Shop, educators and other professional school staff, such as social workers, psychologists, and occupational therapists will be working more collaboratively with staff from community mental health and counselors from Michigan Rehabilitation Services or the Michigan Commission for the Blind to better meet the specialized needs of  students and provide an integrated educational setting to benefit students.”

Partners say they welcome the opportunity to work together to reach more students and their parents through the One Stop Support Shop and to help parents attain needed resources and navigate complicated systems.

“Being able to go to Drew Transition Center and access all of the services makes sense and is a huge boon to families,” said Penny C. Thomas, LMSW, Unit Director for Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) Life Choices, which provides comprehensive services to persons with developmental disabilities including case management, psychological services, psychiatric services, and family, group and individual therapy.  “We have seen a dramatic improvement in our relationship with the consumers and the families, as the communication has improved.”

The “one-stop” services provided by NSO Life Choices will include information and access to enrollment in NSO services, presentations about various topics that may be of interest to parents, such as guardianship, working with young autistic children or information on how behavior planning helps with a person with challenging behaviors.  NSO staff will be in the building every day.

Jean Herbison, Executive Director of PsyGenics, Inc. stated: “It is time that parents and caregivers of persons with special needs receive the support they deserve without the constant struggle of trying to find appropriate services.  The collaborations of the Support Shop are a model for the State of Michigan and all should take notice to the positive impact it has on families.”

PsyGenics, Inc., an agency dedicated to serving persons of all ages with a developmental disability in a comprehensive, individualized manner, is partnering with Drew’s One Stop Support Shop to help foster positive relationships, create an environment of success, as well as take the “mystery” out of services available to persons with a developmental disability, Herbison said.

PsyGenics will provide staff on site, trainings and support to any parent or caregiver in need.

“This support shop will act as a helpful bridge between educational services and the wide-array of public behavioral health services available to families,” said Cheryl Betz, Chief Operating Officer of Synergy Partners, LLC , which provides all behavioral health services to all persons with developmental disabilities in Wayne County.

Mini-workshops conducted on Wednesday included:

  • How to Navigate the Community Mental Health System
  • Peer Mentoring
  • Play Project/Rethink Autism
  • Time Management
  • How to Support a Support Group
  • Community Mental Health Acronyms

The One Stop Support Shop, one of eight DPS Parent Resource Centers, is professionally staffed and will be open throughout the school year from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and closed Fridays. Drew Transition center is located at 9600 Wyoming. For further information on One-Stop Support Shop programming please call (313) 873-8491.

Drew Transition Center’s One-Stop Support Shop Partners:

Parents will be able to access the following partner organizations at Drew Transition Center’s One-Stop Support Shop.  The partners will provide workshops through the Parent Resource Center, resources, and information.

Community Living Services: Planning support and coordination with housing, employment, resources, access to health and therapeutic service, advocacy and more.

Detroit Parent Network: Resources, referrals, education information, support groups, parenting classes and parent training.

Michigan Alliance for Families: Provides information, support, and education for families who have children (birth through 26 years of age) who receive (or may be eligible to receive) special education services.

Michigan Rehabilitation Services: Works with eligible customers and employers to achieve quality employment outcomes and independence for individuals with disabilities.

Neighborhood Service Organization: Serves consumers across metropolitan Detroit through accessible programs designed to strengthen and empower individuals in their communities, support families and help those in need. NSO strives to be Always Within Reach for the most vulnerable neighbors who are homeless, the elderly, children and adults with developmental disabilities, families struggling with addiction and mental illness, people contemplating suicide, as well as young people, whether they are preparing for success in school or success in life.

PsyGenics: Provides support coordination, respite, housing, transition planning, psychiatric and psychological services, guardianship and more for persons with developmental services and the entire family.

Synergy Partners LLC: A managed behavioral health care plan with a wide-ranging network of providers serving the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance use disorders and their families. Synergy Partners has a MCPN (Manager of a Comprehensive Provider Network) contract with the Detroit Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency and operates a seamless provider network to serve the community’s behavioral health needs.

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