Magan Patras, day program coordinator

Connections has been providing residential and vocational supports to adults with intellectual disabilities since 2009.

Since 2012, we have also been providing wrap-around community re-integration services for adults who had been long-term residents of the Delaware Psychiatric Center.

Working with the Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS), our programs for adults with intellectual disabilities are staffed by well-trained professionals and promote independence, the right to choice and a healthy lifestyle.

Our residential supports include both Community Living Arrangements (CLAs), where one or two people live together in a townhouse or apartment, and Neighborhood Homes (NH), which house up to five people in a single-family setting.

Connections currently operates 17 residential sites — 12 in New Castle County and five in Kent County – providing such housing for 35 people with intellectual disabilities and  approximately 60 community living arrangements for adults with psychiatric disabilities served under the Community Reintergration umbrella.

In addition, the Connections Skills Centers in Newport and Dover provide day habilitation and pre-vocational and supported employment services. Those programs currently serve nearly three dozen clients.  An additional Skills Center is located in Wilmington to provide day time support for individuals with psychiatric disabilities.

Vocational training focuses on concepts such as attendance, displaying appropriate behavior, workplace safety, task completion and basic

Newport skills center

and complex problem-solving, depending on a person’s functionality and comprehension levels.

Participants also engage daily in activities such as drawing and working on computers while enhancing their social skills, mobility, communication and self-care skills. A schedule is created monthly for each client and tailored to their needs and goals, and their progress is tracked daily. Clients also can participate in physical activities in and outside the facility, such as bowling and exercising at the YMCA.

Connections is also contracted to provide both nursing and behavioral consulting services to our clients and those served by other providers of services to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Jennifer, CRISP client

As part of our Community Reintegration initiative, Connections also operates  Delaware’s Community Re-Integration Support Program (CRISP). The statewide initiative was developed in response to a settlement agreement between the state of Delaware and the U.S. Department of Justice that aimed to move people with serious and persistent mental illness from residency at the Delaware Psychiatric Center (DPC) toward independent lives in the community..

CRISP serves 100 clients, many of whom  lived in DPC for many years or who were frequently readmitted there.  Through CRISP, some now live in homes with 24-hour staff support while others lives live independently in houses and apartments, either alone or with a roommate.

Our CRISP teams are designed to be similar to  our Assertive Community Treatment Teams, using a multidisciplinary group of  professional and peer staff to provide a creative and holistic approach to wellness and recovery.

Beth Charnichko, CRISP counselor

In addition to traditional mental health treatment, the program supports clients in the community with life skills training, recreational and social activities, and a variety of individualized services and interventions.  CRISP also runs respite houses and a Wellness Center to ensure clients have the tools they need to thrive independently outside of the hospital setting.