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A Word from the President
November 19, 2007
A New Role of Leadership with PAR
As Keystone Human Services prepares to celebrate 35 years of service, I find myself reflecting on our tradition of community-based support. In this process, one realizes with increasing conviction that social services and human rights activism are inherently linked within this dynamic arena. While advances for the rights of individuals with disabilities in this country have been immense, every new victory also ushers in a host of new obstacles, requiring a continuing focus on emerging fronts of action, creativity and innovation.
I have been honored to be asked to serve as board chairman for the Pennsylvania Association of Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disabilities (PAR), a not-for-profit organization of human service agencies devoted to ensuring that the quality of autism and intellectual disability support is continuously improving. Keystone has been a member of PAR, which represents over 140 community agencies in Pennsylvania that serve over 40,000 persons with intellectual disabilities and autism, for 35 years. Almost all PAR members are nonprofit community agencies with volunteer boards, often led by family members.
I accepted this position in response to a long-term commitment to quality services and the important role government, the private sector and the nonprofit sector have in building comprehensive systems of care.
Pennsylvania is in the midst of a multitude of critical policy issues. Among them are the design of a comprehensive system of care for persons with autism, the provision of funding for 7,000 persons with intellectual disabilities currently waiting for services, and the definition of a reimbursement system and fiscal policy for a billion dollar service system. Pennsylvania is also confronted with the need to comply with federal regulations that require a statewide system with consistent policy, services and access. In addition, Pennsylvania needs to develop a responsible human resource policy that provides compensation and benefits, adequate to recruit and retain the talented direct support professions essential to our mission.
This is a time of great opportunity, and the people who are dependent on our services and their families need the best thinking, experience and participation each of us has to offer. PAR is also working to assure that consumers and family members receiving services have a voice and influence in these important matters.
For all of us, the challenge is how to build an enduring system of care that will be there for the lifetime of a family member, providing quality care that is individualized and responsive to personal dreams and choice.
Each of us are stewards of the resources entrusted to our care, and each of us must utilize our knowledge and experience to guide the development of policy and programs that will impact human services for decades to come. The state of Pennsylvania has recognized the need for unified, systemic programs of care for people with autism and intellectual disabilities. Keystone has been an entrusted provider of such services for over three decades, and our perspective is a valuable resource in this endeavor.
Keystone is honored to have our Senior Vice President Charles Hooker III serve on the National Board of ANCOR and Dr. Janet Kelly serve on the board of the Pennsylvania Community Providers Association.
Keystone Human Services is committed to the responsible stewardship of the resources entrusted to our care. From individual program assessment to global project development, from new roles of leadership to policy advocacy, we are continually striving to confront the challenges of human service from every possible perspective. By developing a strong, unified, multifaceted voice of action, we can effectively articulate our vision of all people being valued, participating and contributing members of society.