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Office of Autism sponsoring Parent Summit in May

The Commission's Office of Autism is sponsoring the 2015 ASD Parent Summit: Advocacy through Partnerships. The summit takes place Friday, May 8, and Saturday, May 9, at Barren River State Resort Park and is open to parents and caregivers of individuals with Autism, professionals and self-advocates.

The keynote speaker is MaryLee Underwood, Executive Director of the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities. Ms. Underwood is the parent of a child with special needs and will discuss the important of collaborative advocacy.

The weekend will include round table discussions and breakout sessions on topics including parent advocacy, IEPs, partnering with professionals, and supported employment, among others.

For more information contact:
Heidi Cooley-Cook, heidi.cooleycook@louisville.edu, (502) 852-6401, or
Mike Miller, mike.miller.2@louisville.edu, (502) 852-7799.

Registration is available online: https://reg.abcsignup.com/view/view_month.aspx?as=47&wp=116&aid=KATC

Event Flyer

Bullying Prevention Task Force Meeting Is Set For April 8th.

The next meeting of Governor Beshear’s Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force and its subcommittees will be:
April 8, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Central Time
Western Kentucky University, Downing Student Union Building
Meeting Rooms 3023, 3024, 3025
1524 Avenue of Champion, Bowling Green, KY, 42101
Please note the above times are Central. The morning will consist of meeting time for the Task Force’s committees, and the afternoon will consist of public testimony. There will be ample time for public comment, and we strongly encourage interested parties to submit comments in writing to the Task Force beforehand.

Comments or questions can be sent to Mike Bartlett, Deputy Policy Advisor, Office of the Governor.

Feedback Needed for Planning of Parent Summit

The Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs Office of Autism will be hosting a Parent Summit on May 8-9. The cost is $15 per person. We would like your feedback about this first-of-its-kind event to help us meet the training needs of families and professionals affected by autism in Kentucky.

Please take a moment to complete this short survey about the training needs of parents of persons on the autism spectrum. 

Survey results will be compiled by the Kentucky Autism Training Center and used to help identify workshop topics. The exact location for the summit in the Bowling Green area will be announced in early spring.

Foster Families Have a New Health Services Provider

For Immediate Release

Contact: Anya Armes Weber, 502-564-6786, ext. 3104;
Sarah Lyons New, 502-429-4430, ext. 2083; or
Jill Midkiff, 502-564-7042, ext. 3465

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 1, 2014) – The Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs (CCSHCN) is announcing changes to the services available for children in out-of-home care placements.

As of Oct. 1, children in out-of-home or foster care will be able to receive primary care at HealthFirst Bluegrass locations in Lexington instead of the CCSHCN’s Thomas H. Pinkstaff Medical Home Clinic at 333 Waller Ave. in Lexington.

The change is a result of the upcoming retirement of clinic pediatrician Grace Maguire. The clinic, a partnership between CCSHCN and the University of Kentucky, cannot provide services without a full-time pediatrician on staff and will close.

Judy Theriot, MD, CCSHCN medical director, said the staffing changes required a new collaboration for the commission and a decision was made to partner with HealthFirst Bluegrass.

“We are very excited about the move,” Theriot said. “We have found a wonderful medical home with increased hours and more services for patients.”

HealthFirst Bluegrass is a federally credentialed medical home which will provide continuity of care even if a child’s home placement changes. All a foster child’s medical needs can be coordinated through its pediatric clinic. HealthFirst also can provide expanded hours, an on-site pharmacy, dental and behavioral health services.

Part of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, CCSHCN serves youth ages 21 and younger who have special health care needs.

Deborah Stanley, medical director of HealthFirst Bluegrass, said she and her staff are optimistic about the move.

“HealthFirst Bluegrass is fortunate to have well-trained pediatric providers that deliver quality medical care with a high level of compassion,” she said. “These pediatric providers look forward to providing medical care to the children and families being referred by Lexington CCSHCN as these children and families make HealthFirst Bluegrass their medical home.”

Steve Davis, MD executive director at HealthFirst Bluegrass, said staff is ready to provide consistent, comprehensive services to families going through a lot of changes.

“We are so very blessed to be a part of the lives of these children with special health care needs,” he said. “We look so forward to showing our love for the children and for them to know just how much we care.”

CCSHCN staff will ensure a smooth transition by working closely with staff from HealthFirst Bluegrass and the CHFS Department for Community Based Services. Nurses and social services staff in the CCSHCN Lexington office are available to answer questions to make the change as easy as possible for patients.

“What matters most is that every child gets the care he or she needs,” Theriot said. “That was the purpose of the medical home program at the CCHSCN and it continues to be the purpose going forward.”

Starting Oct. 1, foster families should contact HealthFirst Bluegrass to make general medical appointments and when they are referred by commission staff. The main clinic locations are at 650 Newtown Pike and at 2433 Regency Road, both in Lexington. HealthFirst Bluegrass also has clinics at several Lexington schools. For information or to make an appointment with HealthFirst Bluegrass, call 859-288-2425. For after-hours care, call: 859-335-7200.

HealthFirst Bluegrass will provide data to CCSHCN about services provided to children in out-of-home care.

Learn more at the about CCSHCN website.


The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state’s human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.

CCSHCN seeks feedback on block grant application

Each year, states are required to submit an application and annual report for federal funds for their Maternal and Child Health Services Title V Block Grants. The Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs, as the provider of services for children and youth with special needs, is asking for feedback from the public about our application.

The CCSHCN provided and promotes family-centered, community-based, coordinated care (including care coordination services) for children and youth and facilitating the development of community-based systems of services.

Documents for review

The two-page summary which provides an overview of the application

The full 25-page application and report

To comment please use the link to Survey Monkey in the full report or e-mail Mike Weinrauch at the CCSHCN. Comments will close May 30, 2014.

Community meetings planned to discuss finds of Autism Spectrum disorder focus groups.

The Department of Behavioral Health Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID) is hosting five community meetings across the state to discuss the findings of regional task force groups focused on children from birth to age 8 with autism spectrum disorder. The first community meeting takes place May 2, 2014, in Elizabethtown. The full list of community meeting dates is here.

In 2013, Kentucky’s Division of Behavioral Health and the Division of Developmental Disabilities and Department of Public Health sought to identify challenges to early identification, diagnosis and intervention for children from birth to age 8 with an autism spectrum disorder.

Partnering with the Center for Systems Change, 14 regional forums were hosted to gather feedback from the community. At those forums, each region formed the beginnings of a task force, who then completed the regional assessment and planning tool. Those assessments have been gathered, summarized and are ready to report to Kentucky’s leadership. We would like to share those results with you. 

Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend, and to hear about the findings for Kentucky as a whole as well as the region specific data. We will also be sharing the recommendations that Center for Systems Change made to help the state support regional efforts to meet the challenge of autism.

The Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs is proud to support the DBHDID and to serve as part of the Kentucky Advisory Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorder.

CCSHCN celebrates National Registered Dietician Nutritionist Day

March is National Nutrition Month and the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs is spreading the word about healthy eating through two registered dieticians on our staff. The CCSHCN is proud to have Meredith Evans and Amy Turner on our team as we mark Registered Dietician Nutritionist Day on March 12, 2014.

Meredith Evans is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University. As the clinical dietitian of the Western region of Kentucky, Meredith provides nutritional assessment and counseling for patients receiving care through our CCSHCN specialty clinics. Meredith develops nutrition materials for patients and families to help them follow through on their nutritional plans at home. She also acts as the wellness champ for the agency by participating on the state government wellness committee. As the agency's wellness champ, Meredith promotes wellness activities that can benefit coworkers and their families. Meredith also works closely with community partners and initiatives that promote healthy eating for kids such as the Partnership for a Fit KY. In addition, Meredith serves as volunteer faculty for the University of Kentucky Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition and supervises interns in the Dietetic Internship and Coordinated Program. 

Amy Turner is a graduate of Morehead State University with a bachelor's degree in clinical dietetics and the University of Kentucky dietetic internship. As the clinical dietitian of the Eastern region of Kentucky, Amy provides nutritional assessment and counseling for patients receiving care through our CCSHCN specialty clinics. Amy develops nutrition materials to help patients and families follow through on their nutritional plan at home. She also collaborates with community partners and initiatives that promote healthy eating for children such as the Partnership for a Fit KY. In addition, Amy supervises interns from the University of Kentucky Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition Dietetic Internship and Coordinated Program.

For more information about CCSHCN programs call 1 (800) 232-1160.

CCSHCN collaborates with DCBS and Home of the Innocents for Open Arms Program

Statewide News Release

Media Contact: Anya Armes Weber, 502-564-6786, ext. 3104; or
Jill Midkiff, 502-564-7042, ext. 3465
Home of the Innocents Media Contact: Meredith Pack, 502-596-1023 or 502-553-8054

Center will offer comprehensive medical care to foster children
Project is collaboration of state agencies, Home of the Innocents

(Oct. 30, 2013) The Kentucky Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs (CCSHCN) and the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) are pleased to announce a new collaboration with the Home of the Innocents to serve the medical needs of children in foster care.

Open Arms Children’s Heath, a service of Home of the Innocents, will provide primary care services to children in the Louisville area who are in out-of-home placements. The goal of the center is to meet the needs of children who often miss routine health care in a one-stop setting.

The CCSHCN will provide care coordination to DCBS foster families who receive services at the center. Care coordination ensures that children receive all the services they need, while reducing duplication. It is especially important for children in foster care or with special needs.

CCSHCN and DCBS are agencies of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Both departments share a goal to support the health and well-being of children and youth.

DCBS Commissioner Teresa James said the comprehensive care is needed since greater numbers of children with increasingly complicated and serious physical, mental health and developmental problems are coming into foster care.

“All children in foster care need to receive initial health screenings and comprehensive assessments of their medical developmental status," she said. “Pediatricians have an important role in all aspects of the foster care system. This partnership with the commission and Home of the Innocents ensures that role will be strong.”

CCSHCN Executive Director Jackie Richardson said the pairing is a perfect fit.

“CCSHCN has the medical expertise to assist DCBS with its medical services needs," she said. “Providing health care to foster children may take extra care and attention. These nurses and doctors are prepared to ask the right questions and provide necessary care even when little specific medical history is available."

Open Arms provides integrated health care including medical, dental, hearing, vision, radiology and behavioral health services for children with exceptional health care needs.

James and Richardson said their agencies are proud to work with Home of the Innocents.

“Home of the Innocents has long been a significant partner to this cabinet because of its commitment to caring for children,” Richardson said. “By providing comprehensive medical care for foster children, Open Arms Children’s Health is yet another model of its advocacy for child well-being.”

The center will offer services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, until 8 p.m. at least one night a week and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at least two Saturdays per month.

About 7, 000 children are in out-of-home care in Kentucky.
See the DCBS website for more information about becoming a foster parent, log on to  or call (800) 232-5437 -- (800) 232-KIDS.

CCSHCN has 12 regional offices in Kentucky, including Louisville. The CCSHCN serves children and youth with physical disabilities to age 21.

For information about services through the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs, call 800-232-1160.

For information about Open Arms Children’s Health or to schedule an appointment, call 502-596-1040.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state’s human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.

CCSHCN office can help you Kynect with health care

The Commission for Chlidren with Special Health Care Needs has kynectors in each office to help navigate the system and answer questions.

kynect is making it possible for Kentuckians without health insurance coverage to find plans that are affordable, regardless of pre-existing conditions. In its first week, more than 10,000 people completed applications through kynect.

To learn more about kynect, visit the website. For information through a CCSHCN office, visit our Commission Staff page.

Youth Forum 2013 happening on Oct. 19

The Youth Forum 2013 is an exciting event to help teens with special needs as they plan for the future. The Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs and the Human Development Institute at UK are partnering for the forum on Oct. 19, 2013, in Louisville. The forum will be held at The Ramada Plaza Hotel, 9700 Bluegrass Pkwy, Louisville, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Youth with disabilities can sometimes have a difficult time transitioning from high school to the adult world. The forum will bring together young adults ages 21 to 30 with special health care needs who have successfully transitioned from high school. They will share their experiences in managing their transition to work, higher education and independent living. Topics for the forum include: education, relationships, finances, housing, career, mobility and transportation, and adult health care.

Participants in the forum will also have the opportunity to apply to become peer mentors to youth with special health care needs who are preparing to transition.

Register for the forum

Event flyer


Last Updated 4/13/2015
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