How can we help? 419-774-4200   //   24 Hr. Emergency #: 419-774-4244
MUI After Hours #: 419-544-1775

Superintendent Update

October 23, 2020

While we are still adjusting to the multitude of changes brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, at the Richland County Board of Disabilities, we are excited for fall and all it brings with it! I am also so thankful for the continued cooperation and patience of those we serve and their families, as well as for our dedicated and hardworking staff who have embraced new challenges with positivity and resilience. Thank you!

 As the pandemic continues to have daily impacts on our agency and the service system as a whole, I would like to provide some updates:   

 Special Olympics

Unfortunately, we are still on a holding pattern regarding Special Olympic games and practices. We are going to remain hopeful that we will be able to have in-person events again in 2021, where athletes can show off their talents in front of cheering spectators and family members! We will provide updates as they are available so please stay tuned.

 Thanksgiving Christmas Celebrations

I don’t know about everyone else, but as the weather starts to turn colder and the leaves change, I start to look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas. As with everything else, this too will look a little different this year.   

We have made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel this year’s Christmas Party. We don’t see how it will be possible to gather and celebrate with such a large group in our traditional way. We are still in the brainstorming phase as to what we can do as an alternative to the large party gathering. More information will be sent out as plans are finalized.

For the men and women we support in our group homes, we plan to still hold parties and celebrate the holidays. However, we will not be able to include families in the large family-style Thanksgiving meal or during other Holiday parties. The residential team will be working with families to make arrangements for them to still celebrate with their loved ones in some fashion.  

 Community Provider Supports

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state budget quickly fell into a deficit. The dollars that had been previously committed to pay for the second year of the waiver Direct Support Professional (DSP) increase are no longer available through the state budget.  

The Richland County Board of Developmental Disabilities, along with the other 87 County Boards, have agreed to pick up the state’s share so that the wage increase would not be cut. Richland Newhope remains committed to supporting our community providers and building capacity to meet the needs of the individuals who rely on their services. 

We still have PPE supplies, so if providers are in need, please reach out to Troy Smith at 419-774-4215 for assistance.  

I am going to remain hopeful that 2021 will be a better year for everyone, and we can resume life as we did prior to COVID.      

I want to wish everyone a wonderful, safe, and healthy holiday season!


Michele L. Giess


Richland County Board of DD - Richland Newhope


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