Newsroom > DHHS News Release

April 22, 2010

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services Division, (402) 471-8287

Beatrice State Developmental Center is Implementing Workforce Changes

Lincoln – As the result of an assessment that began last January, the Division of Developmental Disabilities in the Department of Health and Human Services is reducing operations staff at the Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC). Employees were notified about potential layoffs last January. Layoffs will be effective May 26, 2010.

No direct support staff will be affected by the lay offs. Reductions will occur only in areas providing support services, including maintenance, sewing, laundry, food service, housekeeping, and pharmacy.

“The people and staff in each home on campus are directing and managing things like laundry, meal preparation, and transportation themselves, making it possible for individuals to realize their fullest potential in life,” said Jodi Fenner, director of the Division. “As a result, there’s much less demand to have additional staff from outside the homes provide those types of services.”

Approximately 50 positions are being eliminated at BSDC. However, no more than 20 staff will be laid off, because BSDC focused on placing those employees in other positions when possible. Additional lay-offs are projected to occur within the year.

“The affected departments are staffed by hardworking, dedicated, and caring people," said Fenner. “The reduction is not a reflection on the quality of their work but is the result of a careful decision about how best to move forward to meet our obligations and provide services most efficiently and effectively."

Layoffs will not have an impact on the 24-hour delivery of services, according to BSDC CEO Dan Howell. Areas that provide direct support in the homes on campus will remain staffed at ratios of at least one to three staff per resident, depending on the shift, to ensure optimal support for individuals at BSDC.

“We’ve been evaluating the resource needs since 2007, and this reduction is the natural next step as people become more independent or are served in community settings,” Howell said. "This decision represents our obligation to meet two primary responsibilities: support and maintenance of independence for the people we serve, and fiscal responsibility.”

The Division will closely monitor the needs of the persons served and will continue to ensure that individuals receiving assistance are safely and appropriately supported during these planned transitions. There are currently 174 people being served at BSDC. In December 2007, there were 329 people being served there.