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Separation — one year later

By Norwalk Reflector Staff • Jul 25, 2017 at 9:00 PM

The Huron County Board of Developmental Disabilities (HCBDD) and Christie Lane Industries (CLI) finalized a carefully planned and gradual business separation in July 2016 that was more than two years in the making.

The split — brought about because of state and federal rule changes — resulted in CLI becoming a completely independent provider of adult day services, no longer associated with HCBDD in a business sense, although it continues to lease the building next to the county board’s offices on South Norwalk Road through an interagency agreement with HCBDD and the Huron County commissioners.

“We provide funding for services from multiple providers chosen by the people we support,” said HCBDD superintendent Kari Smith. “CLI is no different from any other provider now that they are not connected with us.

“They decide how to do business, what properties they want to purchase, the events they choose to promote and what their overall philosophy and approach will be. The change has been complicated to explain at times, especially since ‘Christie Lane’ has been such a defining name for all the services to people with developmental disabilities for so many years in Huron County. And HCBDD still operates Christie Lane School here in Norwalk, which may add to some of the confusion about the relationship between CLI and the county board.”

Another area that may be unclear to taxpayers after the separation, said Smith, is the continued need for local funding for Huron County Board of DD services.

“We pay for services provided to over 600 people every year, before birth and throughout all life stages,” she said. “The number of people in need of our services doesn’t decrease, no matter who the providers might be. We make use of local levy dollars to draw down Medicaid funding; for every $40 of local tax money we collect, we’re able to get another $60 through Medicaid waiver programs to pay for more services for more people over the course of their lifetimes. We’ve been fortunate to have great support from Huron County taxpayers in those efforts throughout our more than 60-year history. That support will always be both needed and appreciated.”

HCBDD continues to offer Help Me Grow Home Visiting, Early Intervention, the Christie Lane School program, service and support administration, Family Support Services, job development, community recreation, community connections, self-advocacy group, Aktion Club, provider relations and recruitment and monitoring of all services.

The county board also pays for the PLAY Project and physical, occupational and speech therapies for children, Artists’ Open Studio, adult day services, job coaching and follow-along, transportation, and Medicaid waivers that provide for transportation, home modifications, adaptive equipment, and in-home supports from provider agencies. 

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