‘Help is out there’




There are a number of resources available in the community to assist the needs of those with various disabilities, but many individuals and their family members may not know what is available, or what services they may qualify for.

To help inform individuals with a disability, their family members and special education teachers, LifeWorks Community Services hosted “Help Is Out There,” an informational seminar to introduce them to available services, Thursday evening.

Six local agencies including Children and Families of Iowa, Elderbridge, Iowa Home Care, LifeWorks Community Services, Northwoods Living/Opportunity Village and Webster County Case Management had information available at displays. Each agency had a representative available to serve on a panel to share information about their organization and to answer any questions about their services

Teresa Larson-White, with Children and Families of Iowa, shared some of the services available through CFI.

“We offer services to a variety of age groups,” said Larson-White. “We started with counseling but we have therapists, telehealth with a psychiatrist for children, assessments and medication management and crisis child care. We can get in touch with daycare providers who are available anytime at a moment’s notice in crisis situations.”

Larson-White said CFI also offers a youth employment program which equips eligible youths ages 14-21 years old with job skills and hands-on experience in the work force.

Angie Martens with Elderbridge Agency on Aging said the agency isn’t always limited to providing services to those 60 and older.

“Some of our services can be covered under an intellectual disability wavier,” she said. “Then there is no age limit on the service.”

Martens said her agency provides case management, home-delivered meals, nutritional counseling and funds for transportation.

Ronda Barry, with Iowa Home Care, said the agency provides several services for a variety of needs and provides care in the client’s home.

“We have 40 nurses and aides working out of Fort Dodge,” said Barry. “We can work with all of the agencies here. The main requirement is there has to be a health reason. We provide 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week care. Our philosophy we can do anything in a home that can help you.”

Teresa Naughton, executive director of LifeWorks, shared about the various programs the organization has to offer. She said an individual served by LifeWorks does not have to be a resident of one of their nine group homes to receive services.

“We serve 171 people,” said Naughton. “Of those, 95 of them live in their own home.”

Kelly Heckrodt, with Northwoods Living, said they strive to provide a homelike environment to the individuals living on their campus.

“We focus on the principles of active treatment,” said Heckrodt. “We help them take personal responsibility.”

In addition to the main campus, Heckrodt said Northwoods offers a day habilitation program, a waiver site home off campus, outings, a vocational program and the Town Square Apartments in downtown Fort Dodge.

Joan Lara, Webster County Community Services case management supervisor, said the organization can serve those with intellectual disabilities, chronic mental illness, brain injuries, developmental disabilities and children with mental health issues.

“We are serving people from 18 months to people in their 80s,” said Lara.

The needs of those served by Community Services also vary, Lara said.

“Some need just a few hours or even up to 24-hour care,” she said. “Our purpose is to enhance their ability to exercise choices, make decisions and live in the community.”