KDHE Project Coordinator Heather Moore discusses the System in Sync grant Tuesday at Memorial Library. Daily Leader photo/Robert Pierce
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
Kansas youth with special health care needs and their families are the focus of a three-year grant recently awarded to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Children and Youth Special Health Care Needs in partnership with the University of Kansas Center on Developmental Disabilities.
The objective of the grant, “Systems in Sync,” is to ensure that Kansas youth with special health care needs and their families receive culturally competent, uninterrupted, age-appropriate services that meet their needs and promotes healthy, productive and independent adult lives.
The Systems in Sync project is funded through an Integrated Community Services grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.
“That’s basically a long way of saying we’re trying to get organizations and services within the community to collaborate and work together,” she said. “It’s a three-year federal grant we got from HRSA. The grant runs from June of 2009 to May of 2012.”
In a press release, KDHE Secretary Roderick Bremby said 90 percent of children and youth with special health care needs survive into their adult years, and many have more than one health care need and receive services from multiple providers.
“This grant will work to strengthen partnerships between the youth, their families and all of the providers, including health, educational and workforce,” he said. “Additionally, the grant will also focus on the transition to adulthood.”
Moore said several states have Systems in Sync grants.
“These grants have been going on for several years,” she said. “Right now, I couldn’t tell you how many states have these grants, but I would say the majority of states have had these grants at one time or another.”
Some of the states which have administered the three-year grants are now out of the system, according to Moore.
“This is our first year, but we are also working with other grantees that are in the second year or in their third year,” she said. “It’s a national thing that’s going on and a national initiative that’s taking off right now.”
Moore said the grants are issued in the amount of $300,000 per year.
“We’ve got $300,000 for three years,” she said. “We don’t have to share our $300,000 with other communities, but each state is awarded their own award. It is a statewide initiative, so we are trying to include as many organizations and cities as we can.”
Moore said the grant is part of a statewide initiative and a state grant that is funded by federal money.
The tour has visited Colby, Hays and Garden City in addition to Tuesday’s trip to Liberal, and the group will be in Wichita Monday, with additional stops scheduled in Independence, Kansas City and Topeka.
Moore said some of the issues heard Tuesday are similar to what was heard in other communities.
“Oral health, access to providers, community resources, lack of knowing where they are, not so much that there’s no resources, but people don’t know where they are, opportunities for networking for families, for professionals – a lot of great information,” she said.
Moore said after the tour is done, KDHE officials will begin processing the information received and addressing what can be done about the issues.
“We’ll have all this information posted online as well at the end of the tour,” she said.
Moore said that next step will be taken immediately.
“A lot of the information we get from these meetings, we’re going to use towards the other project activities we’ve got, certain trainings that we’re going to do, development of a transition curriculum for youth with special care needs, some materials for educational purposes,” she said. “A lot of this will be based on what we’re doing here tonight in getting the information.”
The grant provides the opportunity to enhance the health, education and workforce development possibilities for youth and young adults with disabilities.
Supporters of this project include Families Together Inc.; the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians; Special Education, the Kansas State Department of Education; Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy; Department of Commerce; Division of Rehabilitation Services, SRS; the Kansas Health Policy Authority; Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns; Kansas Commission on Developmental Disabilities; Office of Oral Health; and the Division of Disability and Behavior Health Services, SRS.
To learn how to participate or for more information the Systems in Sync grant project, contact Heather Moore at (785) 296-4747 or by e-mail at