This month’s non-profit in the spotlight is an organization whose focus is helping families find resources and individuals gain independence. Resource Connections, Inc (RCI) is based in Lanham, Maryland; and currently only serves residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Who They Are
Resource Connections Incorporated (RCI) provides coordination of community services (families like mine are probably more familiar with resource coordination, same thing). The services they provide are funded primarily by State & Federal funds; and paid by the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) – families are not expected to pay out of pocket.
The approach they take has almost become buzz-words, but having met the staff and leadership I’m comfortable asserting they truly embrace these terms and incorporate them into their daily operations. The person-centered, community-based and cost-effective approaches are highlighted when staff members focus on what those they serve need; they don’t just check the boxes – they think outside the box to find creative solutions.
What They Do
RCI provide services, after referral from the DDA, in four areas – Eligibility Assistance, Waiting List Coordination, Resource Coordination and Waiver Enrollment. I’d also like to point out if they cannot directly help a family or individual, they will do their best to provide referrals to appropriate resources.
RCI cannot make the determination regarding service eligibility and need, this is done solely by the DDA. However, RCI can help families by processing applications to DDA – completing interviews with families and requesting copies of required documents. Once the individual/family has been placed on the waiting list – RCI provides a Waiting list coordinator to locate and connect with community resources. Again, the level of service provided is determined by the category of service need established by the DDA.
Resource Coordination comes in to play when families are receiving DDA funded services. Coordinators help them by; identifying desired outcomes, connecting them to the appropriate providers/community resources, work with the support team to develop a realistic and effective plan, monitoring the plan’s implementation and the individual’s/family’s satisfaction with the provided services. Coordinators take time to get to know the individuals/families, to ensure the plans created are meaningful and centered on their (the individuals’) goals and achievement objectives.
Medicaid Waivers are programs provided by Maryland allowing people to maximize funding for services provided in the community – including Waiver services for those deemed DD eligible and authorized for services by the DDA. It can be daunting to determine which, if any, waivers someone may be eligible for – so RCI provides Waiver Specialists to help identify and apply for benefits like Medical Assistance and Social Security.
What Else Should I Know
When a family becomes eligible it may be challenging to determine which organization to select – RCI is one of (6) provider agencies in Prince George’s County; so why should someone select RCI. What appeals to me, as a parent, is RCI’s commitment to becoming an expert in one County, and developing deep relationships with providers. This allows RCI, in my opinion, to really be clear on a provider’s philosophy and culture – which is important to me as a parent because I want to know more than what I can read on their website.
To me, the only way to really understand is taking the time to get to know the providers; time will lead to dropped guards and transparency – not that I think organizations maliciously hide things; but I do believe it’s human nature to put our best foot forward and hide the dirty laundry (which we all have, and it doesn’t make us bad). It’s important (again, this is my opinion) to understand the good, the bad and the ugly – because when someone is receiving services they won’t just be exposed to the good.
I am not an employee of Recource Connections Incorporated (although at the time of writing I am a Board member – 11/26/17) and any errors noted are my own. If I have misrepresented, or misstated anything please provide constructive feedback so I may make the appropriate change(s). All opinions and views are my own.