2023 promises to be an important year at Murray Ridge Center, and I am excited to share some of what lies ahead.
In recent years we have seen a steady increase in our youngest service recipients, and in 2022 Murray Ridge provided Early Intervention (EI) services to 945 infants and toddlers who have developmental disabilities or delays. In 2023, we plan to add two new Developmental Specialists to our EI staff.
At Murray Ridge School, our talented staff continues to provide high quality educational services to students referred by Lorain County school districts. In the months ahead, many are looking forward to favorite school events such as dances, the (returning) Murray Ridge 500, prom, commencement, and much more.
Our Supported Employment Department plans to continue to meet ambitious benchmarks for assisting eligible adults to become employed by local businesses, and to remain successful in these settings. At the Murray Ridge Opportunity and Vocational Centers (OVCs), the focus remains not only on vocational training and skills development, but also on assisting Adult Program participants to be a part of and contribute to community life. In fact, during the past year, many of our OVC attendees have volunteered with local programs including the Friendship Animal Protective League, Meals on Wheels, the Oberlin Food Pantry, the Good Neighbor Thrift Store in Avon Lake, the Lorain County Metro Parks, and Good Knights of Lorain County, just to name a few.
We also remain deeply appreciative of the ever-expanding pool of private provider agencies that serve hundreds of eligible adults. These organizations have made many wonderful opportunities available to Lorain County residents with developmental disabilities. Murray Ridge Service & Support Administrators (SSAs) link interested individuals with these providers, assist with development of individualized service plans to be implemented by providers, and monitor services. Murray Ridge also funds day services (and many privately provided residential services), primarily by using local dollars to cover the non-federal share of Medicaid-funded services. This year, in recognition of the need for private providers of Day Support to serve an increasing number of eligible individuals with health and medical conditions, Murray Ridge will begin providing subsidies for nursing services at Adult Day Support sites where Lorain County residents with developmental disabilities are served.
It is also key to the Murray Ridge mission to partner with and support families of Lorain County residents with developmental disabilities. We salute the family members of those eligible for our services for the cherished and seemingly endless support, care and love that they provide to Lorain County children and adults with developmental disabilities. Effective in January, 2023, required co-pays for goods and services accessed through our Family Support Program were reduced for families with eligible members who are not enrolled on Medicaid waivers.
In other news, a Renewal Levy for Murray Ridge Center – Issue 6 – will appear on the May 02, 2023 ballot. This levy currently generates more than 35% of the agency’s revenue, and some of the funds generated by the levy are used to pull down additional federal dollars. If passed, the levy will not increase taxes.
We look forward to continued progress and success through work with our committed staff, our provider partners, the many local businesses and organizations with which we collaborate, and the amazing individuals we serve and their families.
-Amber L. Fisher, Dr. P.H.