Wellness program aims to help Virginia offenders improve health A wellness program initially targeted to older Virginians is helping offenders at five Virginia correctional facilities learn to manage their chronic diseases and improve their well-being. Read more about the program
Governor recognizes Virginia's vocational rehabilitation program success In his "Year One: The New Virginia Economy" report, Gov. McAuliffe drew attention to the program success of 2014 brought about by DARS’ vocational rehabilitation programs, the agency’s counselors and our consumers for their efforts in participating in the Commonwealth’s workforce. Read the Governor’s comments about the VR program and the entire report
DARS offers temporary voucher program for caregiver respite Virginia families who care for a loved one with disabilities or chronic conditions can apply for up to $400 reimbursement for respite care under a limited voucher program from the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. Learn how to qualify and apply.
Holidays can be a time for families to spot elder fraud Adult children who suspect their parents may be financially exploited by a relative, caregiver or friend can often spot signs when family members gather during the year-end holidays. Learn more about the problem and what can be done to prevent it.
Commonwealth partners to research return on investment of vocational rehabilitation programs Gov. McAuliffe today announced a nearly $2.5 million federal grant to the University of Richmond and its partners, including the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, and the University of Virginia Department of Economics, to assess the effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation programs for people with disabilities. Read the Governor's news release.
Tips to help Medicare beneficiaries make decisions during open enrollment It’s time for Medicare beneficiaries to think about their health care needs and choose the best plan for them. The Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program offers these tips for older Virginians to consider during Medicare’s enrollment period, Oct. 15-Dec. 7. Learn more about what to consider and where you can find help.
Amazon Fulfillment Center among state employers honored for championing disability employment The Amazon Fulfillment Center in Chesterfield County, which has hired more than 40 clients of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, was among the Virginia employers honored in October for outstanding commitment to hiring and supporting people with disabilities in the workplace. Read the Governor's news release.
New Deputy Commissioner for Aging Services to visit southwest Virginia AAAs The Commonwealth’s new Deputy Commissioner for Aging Services will visit southwest Virginia next week to meet with officials of local Area Agencies on Aging and tour facilities to learn about the services they offer in nutrition, transportation, health promotion and related areas. Read more.
Governor McAuliffe announces federal grant to bolster Virginia’s supports and services for residents with dementia Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that the Commonwealth has secured a federal grant that will strengthen and expand services for Virginians experiencing dementia. Read more.
Website offering information on dementia relaunched The AlzPossible website, alzpossible.org, has a new look aimed at helping professional caregivers in Virginia with updated information on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Learn more
Project SEARCH students graduate with new job skills Nearly 100 Virginia students with intellectual and developmental disabilities gained valuable work experience and interpersonal skills this school year through an innovative program that ran at 13 sites during the 2013-14 academic year in Virginia. Read more about Project SEARCH and the students' accomplishments.
Hershey's HR representative to speak about championing disability employment A representative of the human resources department at The Hershey Co. will discuss the confectioner's efforts to hire more individuals with disabilities during a program held May 14 by the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. Learn more about Hershey's recruitment program and the Blue Ridge region's champions of disability employment honored. Learn more
Commonwealth Council on Aging honors F.R.E.E. Foundation with first prize among 2014 'Best Practices' awards The F.R.E.E. Foundation Equipment Reuse/Recycling and Gifting Program of Roanoke won the Commonwealth Council on Aging's top 2014 'Best Practices' award for its creative and effective approach to serving older Virginians. Read more about this program and the other honorees. Read more
DARS honored for program that provides disability beneficiaries with guidance to employment An innovative program by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services that increases the likelihood of employment for Virginians who receive disability benefits has won an award for excellence. The National Council on Rehabilitation Education presented DARS Commissioner Jim Rothrock and the agency with its 2013 President's Award for Excellence in Vocational Rehabilitation. Learn more about the honor and the WISA program.
DARS honors 2013 'champions' of disability The Commonwealth's 2013 Disability Employment Champions include a Richmond member of a presidential committee for people with disabilities and a Newport News businesswoman who has hired fellow agency clients to work for her home care company. These statewide awards honor individuals and organizations whose outstanding business and employment practices encourage all Virginians to contribute their skills, ideas and talents to the workforce. Learn more about the honorees.
DARS provides tips to help Medicare recipients get ready for open enrollment It's time for Medicare beneficiaries to start thinking about their health care needs and preparing for open enrollment this fall. Liz Havenner, the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program state director, has these tips for older Virginians who may wonder what they can do now to get ready for the enrollment period, Oct. 15-Dec. 7. Health needs change and health plans may alter benefits and costs each year, making it critical to evaluate and update Medicare choices regularly. Learn more about what steps you can take.
Former WWE wrestler says sports should give children life lessons, not brain damage Chris Nowinski, whose career as a professional wrestler ended after repeated concussions, will discuss his efforts to alert parents and health care providers to the dangers of sports concussions in children as Commonwealth agencies and community partners come together July 26 for "Brain Injury Report Out Day." Learn more about the biennial event.
New position to coordinate Virginia's dementia services Charlotte Arbogast is joining the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services as the Commonwealth's first dementia services coordinator. In her role, Ms. Arbogast will review existing programs and work with agencies to more effectively deliver services to Virginians with dementia and identify gaps and reduce duplication in those services. Read more about this new position.
DARS seeks public participation in brain injury needs and resources assessment The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services seeks public participation in a statewide survey to learn more about the needs of individuals with brain injury and their family members or caregivers in the Commonwealth. Learn more about how to participate.
SRC honors four with leadership recognition award Toney Lineberry, chair of the State Rehabilitation Council, and Commissioner Jim Rothrock of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services have announced the council’s 2013 Roy J. Ward Employee Leadership Recognition Awards for outstanding service and contribution to the field of vocational rehabilitation and the disability community. Read about the honorees.
"Project Search" students graduate with new job skills Nearly 90 students participated this school year in an innovative and expanding workforce and career development program that helps Virginia youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities gain valuable work experience and interpersonal skills. Learn more here about the program.
Program initiated by former First Lady honored by Commonwealth Council on Aging A caregiver program at Williamsburg’s Riverside Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health modeled on the Rosalynn Carter Institute on Caregiving’s signature program won the top 2013 “Best Practices” award from the Commonwealth Council on Aging.
Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center students square off in forklift “rodeo” Students from the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center will demonstrate their new workplace skills at lifting and transporting materials in a forklift “rodeo” using equipment donated by Dominion Resources, the parent company of Dominion Virginia Power. Learn more about the donated Caterpillar forklift and its importance in the material handling and forklift training program at WWRC.
DARS expands popular chronic disease self-management education program Following a successful introduction in Virginia, the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services is expanding a popular chronic disease self-management education program that has helped more than 3,500 Virginians learn to live healthier lives. Learn more about “You Can! Live Well, Virginia!”
2013 State Plan Public Hearings The Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services and the Virginia State Rehabilitation Council invite your attendance at a public forum to receive comment on the DARS Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Programs. Click here to learn more about the forums and how to submit your comments.
DARS announces temporary voucher program for caregiver respite Virginia families who care for a loved one with disabilities or chronic conditions can apply for up to $400 reimbursement for respite care under a new, limited voucher program from the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. Beginning Jan. 29, caregivers may apply to the Lifespan Respite Voucher Program, which will distribute vouchers to qualified and approved families for reimbursement from a federal grant. Learn more about respite care and the voucher program.
Medicare scammers targeting Virginians Virginians are warned to protect their personal identity information following a spate of bogus calls to Medicare beneficiaries across the Commonwealth in which callers threaten to terminate coverage or cut off Social Security checks if recipients refuse to provide requested information. Learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from medical identity theft.
DARS lauds employers for championing disability employment DARS congratulates the winners of the agency’s annual “Disability Employment Champions” awards. These statewide awards honor individuals and organizations whose outstanding business and employment practices encourage all Virginians to contribute their skills, ideas and talents to the workforce. Learn more about the 2012 honorees.
DARS awards contracts for programs serving individuals with brain injuries The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services has awarded contracts beginning this month through June 2014 for programs on the Eastern Shore and in Virginia Beach that serve people with brain injuries. Click here to learn more.
Virginians benefit from new Department for Aging and Rehabilitation Services Beginning July 1, the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services will focus on improving the response to seniors and Virginians with disabilities who need some aid in maintaining their options for independence, safety and employment. Click here to learn more.
SRC Honors Three with Leadership Recognition Award DARS Commissioner Jim Rothrock today joined Sandra Cook, chairwoman of the State Rehabilitation Council, in announcing the Roy J. Ward Employee Leadership Recognition Awards for outstanding service and contribution to the field of vocational rehabilitation and the disability community. Click here to learn more.
Project Search Students Graduate with Job Skills Nearly 80 students who participated this school year in an innovative workforce and career development program that helps Virginia youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities learn about the workplace are graduating with new job and interpersonal skills Click here to learn more.
SSA and new Compassionate Allowances On April 11, the U.S. Social Security Administration announced 52 new Compassionate Allowances conditions, primarily involving neurological disorders, cancers and rare diseases. The Compassionate Allowances program fast-tracks disability decisions to ensure that Americans with the most serious disabilities receive their benefit decisions within days instead of months or years. Click here for more information.
DARS 2012 State Plan public hearingsDARS and the Virginia State Rehabilitation Council will hold a series of public forums to receive comment on the DARS Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Programs. Each year, DARS prepares a State Plan that describes how Virginia provides rehabilitation services. A draft of the upcoming State Plan will be available on the DARS website or the State Rehabilitation Council’s website by April 15. Review the current State Plan online under “Public Documents”.
Virginia Transition Forum 2012 focuses on “Technology for Transition: Making the Connection” Nearly 1,000 people, including students with disabilities, family members, advocates and service providers, will attend the Virginia Transition Forum in Roanoke March 12-14 for workshops and discussions on making the successful transition from school to adulthood.
Social Security Administration honors DDS employee The Social Security Administration has honored the deputy director for policy and special programs of the Virginia Disability Determination Services with an award for outstanding performance in implementing two new programs to help claimants with the most severe disabilities receive decisions quickly.
New director named for Virginia’s Olmstead Initiative Catherine Harrison has been named Director of Community Integration for Virginia’s Olmstead Initiative, reporting to the Commissioner of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. In this role, Harrison advises the Secretary of Health and Human Resources and the Office of the Governor on matters that can impact the independence and community living options of thousands of Virginians with disabilities.
DARS lauds employers for championing disability employment The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services will honor the owner of a pet treat company, two international companies operating in Virginia and the Commonwealth’s AmeriCorps program for their efforts to advance the employment of people with disabilities. DARS will present its annual “Disability Employment Champions” awards on Oct. 12 to six individuals and organizations whose outstanding business and employment practices encourage all Virginians to contribute their skills, ideas and talents to the workforce. DARS Commissioner Jim Rothrock will present the awards in a ceremony at the University of Richmond’s Jepson Alumni Center.
Social Security Administration honors Richmond regional office The Social Security Administration has honored the Richmond Regional Office of the Virginia Disability Determination Services with an award for superior performance. The citation for superior performance from SSA Associate Commissioner Linda M. Dorn of the Office of Disability Determinations recognized the outstanding efforts demonstrated by the Richmond office in leadership, performance, professionalism, quality and public service.
Preparing for Emergencies – Information for People with Disabilities If you or someone close to you has a disability and other access and functional needs, you may have to take additional steps in an emergency. It is important to recognize special needs and make advance preparation before an emergency occurs. To learn more, download the Emergency Preparation PDF File or the Emergency Preparation Text-Only Word File.
Virginia senators honored for service during Commonwealth's "Brain Injury Report Out Day" Two Virginia legislators were honored for their work on behalf of Virginians with disabilities, including veterans, as state agencies gathered to share progress and challenges in serving those with debilitating brain injuries. State senators Linda T. “Toddy” Puller, D-Fairfax, and Ralph S. Northam, D-Norfolk, received the awards during Virginia’s “Brain Injury Report Out Day."
SRC honors four with leadership recognition award Commissioner James A. Rothrock of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services joined the State Rehabilitation Council in announcing the 2011 Roy J. Ward leadership awards for outstanding service and contribution to the field of vocational rehabilitation and the disability community.
Conference participants raise donations for earthquake relief efforts Participants who gathered earlier this week in Norfolk for the annual Virginia Transition Forum raised more than $2,300 for the American Red Cross’ earthquake relief efforts in Japan.
Forum helps youth with disabilities prepare for life beyond high school Nearly 1,000 students, families, advocates and service providers will meet in Norfolk March 14-16 at the Virginia Transition Forum to discuss topics ranging from safe driving, autism, employment and assistive technology to help students with disabilities prepare for a successful transition from school to adulthood.
Media Advisory: Virginia Transition Forum The Virginia Transition Forum, attended by nearly 1,000 students, families, advocates and service providers, presents sessions on topics ranging from safe driving, autism, employment and assistive technology to help students with disabilities prepare for a successful transition from school to adulthood.
Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center wins grant from national autism organization The Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center has won a $25,000 grant to launch a pilot program that will help young adults with autism spectrum disorders develop skills to live independently and join the workforce.
Virginia Assistive Technology specialist named to national task force Barclay Shepard of the Virginia Assistive Technology System has joined the national task force for the Pass It On Center, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education that provides technical assistance to promote the reuse of assistive technology.
DARS assistant commissioner honored by VCCS Joseph M. Ashley, RhD, Assistant Commissioner for Grants and Special Programs at the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services, has been honored by Virginia’s Community Colleges for his contributions to the workforce system.
Two named to Virginia Assistive Technology System advisory council Department of Rehabilitative Services Commissioner Jim Rothrock has named two new members to the Virginia Assistive Technology System Advisory Council.
Gov. McDonnell announces over $2 million in funds for older Virginians and Virginians with disabilities Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that more than $2 million in grant funding from the Administration on Aging and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was awarded to the Virginia Department for the Aging and Department of Medical Assistance Services. The funds will expand and develop new and innovative community-based services for older adults and individuals with disabilities.
Gov. McDonnell announces $400,000 in economic development grant funding Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that $400,000 in grant funding was awarded to six Employment Services Organizations (ESOs) with local projects designed to increase employment for Virginians with disabilities in areas with employment rates above 10 percent. The grants, made possible by the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), will create more than 70 new jobs and fund a variety of local businesses including an upscale consignment shop, a commercial cleaning business, and a landscaping mobile work crew.
Dr. Jeffrey T. Barth of UVA appointed to Virginia Brain Injury Council Commissioner James A. Rothrock of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) announced today that Dr. Jeffrey T. Barth, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, of Charlottesville, Virginia, was appointed as the Commissioner’s Designee to the Virginia Brain Injury Council (VBIC). Dr. Barth is a professor and director of the Brain Injury and Sports Concussion Institute at the University of Virginia, School of Medicine.
New federal contracts open employment opportunities for job seekers with disabilities in Hampton Roads Commissioner James A. Rothrock of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) announced today that Professional Contract Services, Inc. (PCSI), a Texas-based organization that provides employment opportunities through federal contracts, has partnered with DARS and Didlake, Inc. of Manassas to recruit individuals with disabilities for as many as 215 new jobs at military sites in the Hampton Roads region.
Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center Foundation receives truck from Dominion Virginia Power The Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center Foundation, Inc. today announced that Dominion Virginia Power, through its Dominion Foundation, donated a 2003 Chevrolet Truck, Extended Cab, 4 X 4 for the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center (WWRC). The truck, valued at $9,000, will be used to support various maintenance activities necessary to sustain a safe and well-maintained campus environment for faculty, students, and visitors.
Agency honors five with leadership recognition award Commissioner James A. Rothrock of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), along with the Virginia State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), announced today the recipients of the 2010 Roy J. Ward SRC Employee Leadership Recognition Awards for outstanding service and contribution to the field of vocational rehabilitation (VR) and the disability community.