Newsroom > DHHS News Release

July 14, 2010

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

NorthStar Services to add Workshop Services in South Sioux City

Lincoln – NorthStar Services, a provider of services in northeast Nebraska, will open a workshop in South Sioux City to serve people with intellectual disabilities, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

“We’re pleased that NorthStar Services will be opening a facility in South Sioux City for individuals who prefer workshop-based services, said Jodi Fenner, Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities for the DHHS. “NorthStar has signed a lease and could begin providing services in a workshop as soon as August 2nd.”

NorthStar Services currently provides community-based employment and community involvement opportunities as well as residential and respite services and is located in eight Nebraska communities.

Alan Zavodny, CEO of NorthStar Services said, “NorthStar Services is pleased to be part of the solution to this difficult situation. We’ll do everything we can to make everyone comfortable with the services we have developed. We want to partner with people receiving services, their families and the State to tell us what these services should look like. To that end, we’ve scheduled two meetings for July 22nd at our new workshop building located at 3220 Plaza Drive, Suite F in South Sioux City.”

NorthStar has enjoyed tremendous success in finding employment for people in the community but started out with the workshop model. “We know how to provide those types of services and are vigorously pursuing meaningful work for this facility. I look forward to listening to the people that will use this service and their families,” Zavodny said.

DHHS recently announced it would not extend its contracts with Goodwill of Sioux City, Iowa and ABS of Yankton, South Dakota at the end of the current contract periods. Fenner said safety and quality assurance are key issues and Nebraska does not have oversight authority or jurisdiction to regulate outside of Nebraska.

“Looking forward, if an incident were to occur at ABS or Goodwill involving an individual whose services are funded by Nebraska, DHHS has no way to exercise investigatory authority over that incident as it does with incidents occurring in Nebraska,” said Fenner. “In addition, the Medicaid waiver program, under which we receive federal funds, requires us to provide assurances that all DD providers are certified and services meet certain qualifications.”

Fenner said the division’s community liaison and service coordinators will continue to work with the families to transition services to Nebraska certified providers, and this new facility will offer a local resource for them to choose from. The Department is also working with local providers to provide a similar solution for communities near Yankton, South Dakota.