Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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Finally Heard from Commissioner Baugh

Only after pressure from letters and emails from myself and others, I have finally received a response from Zelia Baugh, DMH Commissioner regarding funding for Colin’s Castle.  The letter (e-mail) was a bit incoherent at times and confusing, but the bottom line is: “we will not be granting any micro boards in the foreseeable future”.  The only problem is, they cannot discriminate.  And since there is already a microboard in the state that is funded, they can’t really say that.  The precedent has been set, and until that Microboard is defunded, they can’t say that (and get away with it) in my opinion.  They could have said that there is no funding available now, and our microboard would be number 2 on the list when funding became available, but she did not say that.  I think that I have legal grounds (and have been told as much) to move forward pressing the issue, but that of course would cost $$ and antagonize the DMH, so I’m going to reserve that option for later if need be.

For now, I am not going to let up.  I am going to press for self-direction of services and press for an increase in services.  We can make it for a number of years if services were increased and we were allowed to self-direct.

I am going to ask for another round of letters in support soon, so look out for the request!

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Letters and more letters


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Asking for letters.

ImageAt our board meeting in January, I asked the Board Members to write letters to various people in the State for them to acknowledge the existence of Colin’s Castle, Inc. as a legitimate Alabama Non-Profit Microboard.  The short-sightedness of those in the Department of Mental Health is astounding. It just really infuriates me when the long-term advantage of such an arrangement is not considered.  There is obviously a long-term benefit to Colin, but also to the State. They are so busy worrying about budget cuts and cutting benefits that they fail to consider that an arrangement such as this can be MORE efficient in the long run, and is so much better for the health and well-being of the client (Colin!).  We are going to keep up the fight, but if anyone feels so inclined, I would appreciate it if you wrote a short note to various individuals.

The link to the addresses and a sample short letter is HERE


Thank you so much!



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Happy New Year!

Last night I talked to an amazing young woman at the People First of Shelby County New Year’s Eve party.  I won’t mention her name here, but she is a young woman who advocates for her severely disabled older brother.  I was impressed with her love and devotion for her brother when most young people her age think of no-one but themselves.  I am sure that she makes many sacrifices in her personal life in order to advocate for her brother.  At her young age she knew all about the ins and out of dealing with the bureaucracy and the many frustrations experienced in doing so.  She told me that she would love to establish a Microboard for her brother.  I know that if she sets her mind to it, she will do it and if I can, I will help her.  I also want this dynamic young woman on our side as we continue to fight for funding of Colin’s Castle.

As we begin a new year, I am inspired by this young woman and it gives me hope that there are more people like her advocating for people who cannot advocate for themselves.

Happy New Year!

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DMH trying to ignore me

About a month ago I wrote another letter to the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health, and another letter to Gov. Bentley.  Thus far I have not received a reply from either.  I guess that they are hoping that we will go away.  We won’t.  Eventually they are going to have to deal with the issue, and the fact that one other Microboard in the state is funded.  I believe that if one other is funded, then so should Colin’s Castle.

After the first of the year once the holiday hustle and bustle has died down I will ask the directors of CCI to all write letters imploring the above to take action, grant us certification to operate and fund us.

In the meantime all goes well at Colin’s Castle, Inc.  The house is perfect, and Colin spends a lot of time there.  The documentation process is going well.  We are keeping records as if we were operating with a DMH contract.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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Fire Exit Drill and Severe Weather Drill

Since April 27, 2011 we have been taking severe weather warnings very seriously, and this includes Policies and Procedures at Colin’s Castle.  Today we had a good Fire Exit Drill and Severe Weather Drill.

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Holding Pattern


Not much going on, we are in a “holding pattern”.  I have not received a reply from the DMH Commissioner nor Governor Bentley.  I am considering asking the Board members to write their own letters.  Eventually I hope that they will choose to quiet the squeaky wheel.

In the meantime, Keith and I try to take Colin to Colin’s Castle as often as possible, and slowly we are trying to get Colin into a routine.  We have an electronic log called the “Life Safety Log”.  With the log we document the fridge temp, the freezer temp, the hot water temp, and sanitary issues as well.  Documentation of these things is required by the Life Safety Code of the state as it relates to certified homes.  Other documentation will commence in December.  Today I will do an unannounced Fire Exit Drill and an unannounced Severe Weather Drill with Colin, and document these things as well.

The completion of “the bed” will not occur until after Christmas, or probably after the first of the year.  Paul Siciliano let me know that he is relocating from Virginia Beach to New England so that he can take care of his mother.  I don’t envy him the move.


p.s. Anytime anyone wants to visit, we welcome you.  Most weekdays before noon Keith is at Colin’s Castle with Colin, and most weekends I am there for at least a few hours.  C’mon by!  The guest book pictured above needs some signatures!

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Going “Live” in December

We will be required to keep extensive documentation once we become operational, hopefully next spring.  The requirements for this are quite onerous, but if it means that Colin’s Castle will be funded, we will gladly do it.  We will be required to observe and document, keep records, maintain training records, keep logs of fire drills, fire extinguisher  checks, and much more.  In December, we will begin keeping all logs, documenting everything as if we were operational.  That way we will work the bugs out before hand.  I have developed an “Intranet” which is served internally within the home.  On the intranet are links to all the required documents, manuals, logs, documentation, etc.  The intranet also contains all our training modules with links slideshows and tests.  All of the records will be kept in “the cloud” so that any computer failure will not be disastrous.  Below are some screenshots of the intranet.  Anytime anyone wants to come see, let us know.
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Now the waiting game..

I’ve done just about everything I can do to establish the Microboard, but I am still exploring options with the contacts that I have developed and continue to develop.  A Microboard can be established to utilize Natural Supports (in other words, no funding help from the State) and it can be established to act as a community provider (much like group homes) which can then be certified and funded by public funds.  That is our eventual goal.  For now, we are operating with Natural Supports.  In a way it is better because we can transition Colin over time.  Keith (Colin’s aide and eventual full-time home manager) spends a lot of time with Colin at the castle when he has him during the day, and when I have him we spend time there too.  We plan to have an open house as soon as we secure funding, but for now, anyone is welcome to come see Colin’s Castle, just let me know that you want to drop by and I’ll arrange to either have Keith there or be there myself.

Happy Halloween!

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