JCBDD launches new adult day service

STEUBENVILLE — More changes are coming to the landscape of the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities with the addition of new adult day services in the community.

Superintendent Michael Zinno announced that JCBDD will be transitioning its adult program services as the program continues privatization efforts under federal mandates.

P.A.L.S., which stands for “physical activity and life skills,” is a Chrysalis Health company based in Gahanna. P.A.L.S. was formed by Mingo Junction native Aaron Bracone in 2012 and has locations in Heath and Columbus, while it offers person-centered programs from residential services and community respite programs to vocational training and employment services.

The goal is to help special needs adults become acclimated with mainstream society, according to officials.

“I am excited to announce the addition of a new day service provider for our county. P.A.L.S. will be working with the county board and Jeffco to assure a smooth transition of Jeffco’s adult day service program,” Zinno said. “The addition of P.A.L.S. will create more opportunities and choices for those we serve. They are an established provider in several other counties throughout Ohio, and the individuals we assist will continue to see quality services while ensuring health and safety.”

A series of informational sessions will be held with one set at 10 a.m. on Dec. 19 at the JCBDD office near John Scott Highway to gather input for the three-year action plan.

P.A.L.S. will utilize the Jeffco Training Center on Cherry Avenue in Steubenville in the interim but is seeking another location for operations — one that will be more suitable and ensure health, safety and community integration, officials said.

Zinno said officials are studying what to do with the training center building and remodeling is under way at the workshop site behind the JCBDD office to centralize services on one campus.

Many changes will occur behind the scenes around March 1, and P.A.L.S. will become the provider of record with many of the same faces providing the service. Jeffco, which has been in operations for more than four decades, will remain in operation and continue to support developmentally disabled individuals. He noted that JCBDD will ensure a free choice of providers and will meet with each individual to provide options.

“Jeffco will be transforming its services as officials assess the needs of the developmentally disabled community. The Jeffco board is committed assessing the needs of the individuals we serve; however, the services will change over time and we will work to meet unmet needs,” he continued. “P.A.L.S. is a day service provider in a number of different counties and they are going to do business in a different way and will ensure health and safety first and foremost.”

“One of our core philosophies is to try to give as many options as possible,” Bracone commented. “We came from a sheltered workshop mindset that didn’t help people feel like they had control over their lives. This program makes sure they have control and choices. We’re trying to look at PALS as a steppingstone and the goal of getting people to realize their dreams in life.”

Bracone said he began in the field of direct care after attending college and later became a program director, but he wanted to make an impact and drafted the business plan for P.A.L.S. He got involved with Florida-based Chrysalis Health and continued to grow services in the Columbus area. However, he is grateful to have the opportunity to bring his concept back home to Jefferson County.