Another Success Story: Former Woodward Residents Employed, Active In Community After Transition

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

February 4, 2021

Iowa Department of Human Services

Another Success Story

Highlighting the successes of the Iowa Department of Human Services

Three Former Woodward Residents Employed, Active In Their Community After Transition

Hidlebaugh, Matt

In 2019, three residents of Woodward Resource Center embarked on a journey to become integrated into the community, and Matt Hidlebaugh (pictured at right), Area Director at REM, was instrumental in their transition.

REM stands for Robert E Miller who founded the organization in 1967. REM Iowa has locations across the state of Iowa and offers a variety of services to meet the complex needs of those with disabilities. REM is forever evolving and assessing new ways to close the gaps in today’s service models and meet the challenging needs of those who find it difficult to obtain appropriate services.

In 2003, REM partnered with The MENTOR Network, a national network of local human service providers. With nearly 60 years of combined service, The MENTOR Network and REM joined together to offer an even greater array of options for people with developmental disabilities.

The transition for these three gentlemen began when Hidlebaugh and Program Director Maxcine Keller received information on the three men living at Woodward State Resource Center. After an in-person visit in July of 2019 to their home, all three came to Waterloo, Iowa, in August 2019 to tour a 4-bedroom house REM had rented. Once all three indicated their desire to move, the admission process began. This included comprehensive training for staff from Woodward staff, and Money Follows the Person (a state-funded grant to assist individuals move to a less restrictive environment) specialist Jo Schumacher on the unique needs for all three.

Jo Schumacher and Woodward personnel participated in Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) meetings to help develop service plans that would best support the individuals, and assist them with purchasing needed items for their new house. Woodward staff came to REM offices on multiple occasions to train REM staff and talk with them to ensure their needs and wants were communicated and included in their service plans.

Two of the three men were able to move to the house in Waterloo in October of 2019, and the third in November, making for a successful transition for all. Each has their own bedroom and shares responsibilities of maintaining and cleaning their home.  

“Woodward Resource Center did a fantastic job of working with these three gentlemen to prepare them for moving back into the community,” Hidlebaugh says. “While they were residing at Woodward, all three participated in a number of activities to prepare them for community placement, from programming, group participation and developing a safety plan for each. Woodward’s staff were (and still are) available for guidance, and follow-up with any issues that may arise.”

The three men were very motivated to be successful once they transitioned back into the community. They have participated in their goals, developed positive relationships with each other and others in the community, and all three have secured community employment.

Hidlebaugh gives them the most credit for their success, and to the dedicated help, training and continued communication of Woodward staff.

“They (the three former residents of Woodward) actively participate in their service plans, look at areas for improvement, review their safety plans and have developed quality relationships with their staff. They are all comfortable in reaching out for help or guidance when faced with an issue and take feedback well,” Hidlebaugh says.

Since their transition into the Waterloo community, COVID-19 has put a slowdown on community activities, but they still find ways to get out of the house. Beyond their community employment, all three participate in REM Developmental Services day programming a couple of days a week.

All three participate in grocery shopping and other necessary shopping, all while taking the normal COVID-19 precautions such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. They look forward to more options when it’s safer to participate in them.

“Bowling, basketball and grilling at the park are all options,” Hidlebaugh says. “All three are very active and want to participate in community activities.”

Hidlebaugh shares the following perspective and words of encouragement for anyone considering a transition to community living.

“I have been working with Woodward Resource Center for many years. I have helped (with the support of Money Follows the Person) transition numerous individuals from WRC to our programs across Iowa (Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha, Marion, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Mt. Vernon, Marshalltown, and more). WRC is very supportive during the transition offering training at WRC and/or the individual’s new residence. They offer a wealth of experience, programming and safety measures that help to set individuals up for success once they move.”

For more information on the Department of Human Services' community integration efforts, visit our website's Community Integration Strategic Plan page.