On October 5, 2018, St. Louis Center was honored to host Director Nick Lyon, the Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, (MDHHS). He was accompanied by his Senior Deputy Directors, Farah A. Hanley and Dr. Herman McCall. Also in attendance were Janet Snyder and Kadi Prout, representing the Michigan Federation for Children and Families.
We were delighted to be able to provide a look at St. Louis Center from the past, present and future. We shared our accomplishments with opening both Fr. Guanella Hall and the new children’s homes. We discussed our plans for St. Louis Guanella Village and the future ability of families of all types to reside here.
We also discussed our challenges. We had several family members speak from the heart about their love for St. Louis Center and the peace they have found here, as well as their fears that the opinions of some advocacy groups may limit the ability for families to bring their loved ones here in the future. We deeply appreciate those family members that took time out of their day to share their stories.
The current staffing crisis and the need for increased hourly rates to attract and retain quality staff were among topics discussed. The difficulty working with some CMH agencies, as well as the sometimes year-long delay in payments for foster children were discussed.
Director Lyon and his staff expressed support for our vision of the future and the ability to choose St. Louis Center as an option for families with IDD loved ones. We were excited to have them here, and hope to have a gathering of more politicians once the elections are over.