PORTSMOUTH— The Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) has created a new position to assist local providers and better serve the community. Providers, referred to as direct support professionals, are private agencies or individuals who are certified to provide a variety of services such as in-home caregiving or transportation to people with developmental disabilities (DD). Kristi Cyrus, who currently works for SCDD, will be transitioning from her current role as a Service and Support Administrator (SSA) to her new position as the county’s first Provider Liaison.
Cyrus began her career as an independent provider and worked one on one, for 10 years, with a person who received county board services. Afterward, she returned to college and earned a degree in social work and interned at the Clinton County Board of Developmental Disabilities until she was offered a full-time SSA job. She later moved to Scioto County and started working as an SSA Assistant for SCDD in 2016, and quickly transitioned to SSA in 2017.
In September 2023, Cyrus will begin her new job as Provider Liaison. While many county boards across Ohio already have provider liaisons working within DD, this is a newly-created position for Scioto County. For several years supporting providers has been a focus at SCDD, with many responsibilities carried out by several different staff members. However, the progression of reallocating duties after a previous retirement brought a pathway for the creation of this role making it possible to have a dedicated person to concentrate solely on provider support needs.
“I have loved working both as a provider and an SSA. I think it has made me a better person. It has taught me patience and responsibility, and I love it so much. The reason I took on the Provider Liaison role is because I want to help support providers to be able to deliver the best services to individuals with developmental disabilities in our community, and I want to help recruit new providers,” Cyrus said.
Jessica Hoffer, director of outreach at SCDD explained, “The field of DD has faced provider shortages over the past decade. People with developmental disabilities and their families rely on providers and the important work they do to ensure their care and wellbeing. Without enough of the right people in direct support professionals roles, the health and safety of individuals with developmental disabilities are at risk.”
Among her new responsibilities, Cyrus will be supporting providers throughout the process of becoming providers, understanding their requirements, and connecting them to more training opportunities.
“This position is greatly needed, and I’m excited about working with other counties to see how they’ve built the job around provider support. We’re just learning how to have this position and what it’s going to look like, and I want to be in the best position to help the providers of Scioto County have the tools they need to do a great job,” Cyrus said.
For more information about the programs and services at Scioto County Developmental Disabilities, call 740-353-0636 or visit online at www.sciotocountydd.org, and like and follow them on Facebook and TikTok.