If you have a desire to help others, Catholic Community Services of the Mid-Willamette Valley, based in Salem, would like to hear from you.
Kyle Deets, Chief Operations Officer with Catholic Community Services, recently joined Mater Dei Radio to tell us about their programs.
David: Welcome Kyle! One of the programs that we wanted to talk about is your service for adults who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities, or IDD. Tell us a little bit about this program and how it came to be.
Kyle: This program serves people in 24-hour homes, meaning that, for 24 hours a day, there’s staff that support folks who experience intellectual or developmental disabilities. It’s really a home setting: they live there and receive the support they need to enjoy life, and, and meet their goals.
David: I was reading some notes about the program, and this was established during the closure of the Fairview Training Center in the late 80s and the early 90s. I know people who have lived in the area for many years will remember the Fairview Training Center and the programs it provided. So this is an offshoot of that?
Kyle: That’s right. Catholic Community Services was one of the first provider organizations to support people with complex medical needs who were moving out of Fairview Training Center. They really wanted to move into the community and be in neighborhoods where they could get to know people in the community just like anybody else.
So we were one of the first to provide kind of the skilled nursing support that it really took to help them be healthy and safe, and live the life that they would like.
David: So, how many folks do you serve, and in what areas?
Kyle: We serve about 50 people across Marion, Lynn, Polk, and Clackamas Counties. Most of the homes, about 15 total, are located here in Salem and in Marion County.
Most of those homes serve three people, and about three of those homes serve 5 people. It’s a small setting; the smaller number of roommates that live together is really better to be a more home-like environment with the 24-7 staffing coming and going.
David: What sort of needs are addressed in the home?
Kyle: It really varies on what the person needs. We have some folks who really need some nursing care, and so we have a couple of nurses on staff – an LPN, an RN, and a contract RN that really help take care of all the nursing care plans and what’s called the “delegated nursing tasks.” This is where our staff actually learn how to do some things that typically a nurse would be able to do, but they work under the nurse’s license to support things like G tubes, J tubes, and other skilled nurse nursing tasks.
Other things that residents really need help with are support for what’s called activities of daily living. Getting up, going about their day, getting their medications and hygiene care completed, getting to their appointments – and also just doing fun activities! Some folks need support to just navigate those transitions where they might experience some behavioral needs where our staff are skilled and help them to work through those challenges so they can move on to the next thing for the day.
David: Have you seen this program grow over the years?
Kyle: It’s been fairly consistent for a number of years. Back in 2012, we acquired the Mount Angel Developmental Programs and doubled our size of this program to be where we are today with the 15 homes and about 50 people. But it’s maintained about that level since then.
Covid was of course extremely challenging to maintain our staffing level, and making sure people were kept safe and weren’t getting the virus. We were really lucky that we were not hugely impacted, like long-term care facilities were.
Our homes that we support here were very much protected from the virus. Thankfully we didn’t lose any homes during that time. We didn’t reduce our size. We didn’t have to close homes because of staffing. That was one of our goals that we were able to hold onto through the pandemic.
David: Now it sounds like you need help. You need employees to help with this program. How many folks are you looking for?
Kyle: That’s a great question. This is one of our main ministries – we’ve been serving these some very vulnerable, wonderful individuals since the early 90s. We need about 30 direct support professionals to come and work in these family-style homes, supporting people with intellectual disabilities.
For now, we’ve been covering that through lots of overtime. We have got some really dedicated staff that are working, but they’re getting burned out and we need additional support. We have a contractor that’s coming in that does a good job, but we can’t afford to continue paying the contractor long term.
So we really just need to find some people that just want to make a difference in the lives of people who experience intellectual or developmental disabilities. About 30 overall would be the need.
David: Do you have to have any specific training to do this, or do you do the training? How does that work?
Kyle: We do all the training in-house. It requires somebody to have a high school diploma or GED, and to be age 18 or older. We of course would love it if somebody had any kind of caregiving experience, such as working in a nursing care or even taking care of a family member. Those kinds of things would all be helpful but aren’t required. Really, it’s just the desire to make a difference.
David: I’m just looking at the notes here; it looks like it has competitive pay and good benefits!
Kyle: Yes, we’ve got 11 holidays, fully paid healthcare for the employee, and 50% for the dependent coverage. We also have a very generous PTO plan and retirement company match. So a lot of great benefits that are really competitive in the current market!
David: If folks want to get in touch with you to learn more about the program or how to apply, how should they go about doing that?
David: I know you’ve got a couple of activities coming up here in the future. Maybe you can address a couple of these events!
Kyle: We’re really excited that this next year we’re celebrating our 85th anniversary. We’ve been supporting people in our community for that long, which I think is just wonderful and we’re really proud of that. We are holding an 85th anniversary Mass at St. Edwards Catholic Church in Keizer on January 29. We’re blessed to have Fr. Gary Zerr and Fr. James Herrera presiding. Anybody is welcome to come – we’d love to love to see them there!
Another event coming up is with Fr. Greg Boyle, the founder of Homeboy Industries and the author of Tattoos on the Heart, and just a wonderful, wonderful guy, is coming to speak on June 27 at Queen of Peace Catholic Church at 4:30 pm. He has a wonderful story about his organization. In March, check for an Eventbrite to find the event, or check our Facebook and our ccswv.org. It’s a free event!
David: Kyle, thank you for all the work that you do. We really appreciate it!
Kyle: Thank you, David. Appreciate the opportunity to be on.