Commissioner’s Message

Welcome,

    to the Department of Disabilities Aging and Independent Living’s website. This year has brought us much to celebrate and continued to challenge us to work hard to improve services and supports for older Vermonters and Vermonters with disabilities. We embrace the understanding that the community we work to build is one which respects the unique strengths and gifts of each of us, that celebrates the inclusion of all, and that it is inherently stronger when each community member is a part of the whole. We are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of people’s lives and to partner with providers, the legislature and the administration in support of all Vermonters.

We have accomplished some important things over the last year. After completing a statewide needs assessment for older Vermonters which represented both individuals and our providers, we crafted a new State Plan on Aging for Vermont which will take us into 2022.  We were excited to receive a federal TBI State Partnership grant award which will enable us to work with the Brain Injury Association of Vermont to strengthen our delivery system for services. We have embraced the use of technology to offer more options for independence for individuals with disabilities, utilizing remote supports to create new models of service.

We are maintaining a focus both on youth newly entering the world of work and on building career pathways for individuals.  Our oversight of nursing homes and residential care homes has been instrumental in avoiding negative outcomes for residents and has challenged us to imagine new and stronger licensing and regulatory approaches to this oversight work. And we have continued our focus on overall accessibility.  This year, we’ve focused most intently on our written documents and all our communications, working internally to ensure they are accessible and consulting across the state with other departments and agencies to educate them on standards for accessible documents.  We have also had the opportunity to partner with the Department of Labor to make recommendations for specialized equipment to create accessibility on the job for their participants seeking employment. Our efforts to get the word out about our mission and vision and to acknowledge work and accomplishments across the state has been a huge success; our website and Facebook page have created pipelines for information, news and messaging.

DAIL maintains its focus on outcomes- we launched the National Core Indicators (NCI) survey for Choices for Care and in our Traumatic Brain Injury program, paralleling the NCI survey and outcome work we already do in developmental services.  Process enhancement and improvement complements our examination of our outcome measures; where we see opportunities to improve our processes to achieve better results, we embrace them and engage staff and stakeholders alike in the assessment and visualization. Our Developmental Services system has launched a full-scale effort to review our payment system to create a transparent and accountable system for service delivery.

We anticipate a continued focus on strengthening and improving our systems and look forward to working with the administration, the legislature and our stakeholders across the board to identify where to put our energies and which updates are most critical to Vermonters.

The staff at DAIL remain our most important resource. They are the engine that drives our work and fuels our continued passion to make a difference in the lives of Vermonters.  We are infinitely grateful for the support we receive from leadership in the Agency of Human Services, at the Governor’s Office, in the legislature, and from our community partners. We work always to honor choice, inclusion, independence and community.  I believe fully in the mission of the Department and in our capacity to work, together, to bring it to fruition.

 

Monica Caserta Hutt

DAIL Commissioner

 

Please check out the DAIL 2018 Annual Report for more highlights about our programs, stories of accomplishment and success and facts and figures about the populations we serve here in Vermont.