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Harrison Board Earns Highest State Rating

The Harrison County Board of Developmental Disabilities has earned a five-year accreditation award, the highest award bestowed by the state, for the quality supports and services it funds or provides to people with disabilities.

Following a comprehensive and rigorous review conducted late last year by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, the team of surveyors from DODD determined that the Harrison County Board achieved substantial compliance with minimum standards and met or exceeded standards in DODD’s areas of excellence, resulting in the five-year accreditation.

Only a few of the 88 county boards in Ohio achieve five-year accreditation status.

“We are pleased that what we do for people with disabilities has been recognized in this way,” said Stephen L. Williams, Superintendent of the Harrison County Board of DD. “And we share this award with our provider partners, who are locating opportunities for people to achieve what they want out of life.”

Key positives identified by the state reviewers at the Harrison County Board of DD were leadership, strategic planning, strong collaboration and community options.

Serving on the board of directors of the Developmental Disabilities’ Board are Janice Hasley, president; David Koch, vice-president; John Tabacchi, secretary; and T. Owen Beetham, Lisa Miller, and Margaret Pickens.

The Harrison County Board funds and/or provides supports to over 100 people with developmental disabilities, like autism, Down syndrome and other physical and intellectual disabilities. To learn more, log onto

The Harrison County Board of DD is part of the BHN Alliance (Belmont-Harrison-Noble County Boards of DD) in which the three county boards share certain administrative functions including Superintendent, Service and Support Administration, and Quality Assurance. The Belmont and Noble County Boards of DD were reviewed at the same time and also received five-year accreditation awards.

Shown with the Accreditation Certificate from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities are those who lead the Harrison County Board of DD. Seated, from left: Superintendent Stephen Williams, Board president Janice Hasley, and board member, Lisa Miller. Board members standing, from left, are David Koch, Margaret Pickens and John Tabacchi. Not pictured: Board member T. Owen Beetham.

MVP Potential in Every Person

MVP Potential

By Stephen L. Williams
BHN Alliance Superintendent

LeBron James is arguably the most talented basketball player in the world and his decision to return to Ohio to play in Cleveland is a big deal. The expectation is that a return of “King James” brings the potential for the Cavaliers to win a National Basketball championship. We shall see.

There were people around the young LeBron– his circle of support made up of family, friends, coaches, and the community –who recognized his potential and supported his efforts to become the best that he could be. Potential is a funny thing. It doesn’t take you anywhere. It is simply a possibility until it is developed into something else. Then it can become almost anything, like a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player.

In many ways, developing potential is what is happening in Ohio through Employment First. This initiative is about recognizing the talents within every person with a disability; putting supports in place that develop their skills; discovering opportunities in the community, and expecting success.

In July, President Obama signed a new federal bill into law. In it, young people with disabilities can no longer go directly into a sheltered workshop from high school. Instead, they must be given what they need to develop their interests and abilities and then assisted in trying a job in the community. This is exciting for some parents and guardians and uncomfortable for others, whose loved ones have been in sheltered work settings for years. It can be difficult to see how Employment First will work for them. We understand. It is important to remember that this is a process. The day service providers you have come to know and trust are thoughtfully developing plans to provide community options.

The law also requires that county boards, public schools, vocational rehabilitation providers and others work together to identify potential and grow talents. The Belmont, Harrison and Noble county boards have been identifying potential and developing abilities for some time now. Since 2010 we have helped young people with disabilities, ages 14 to 25, explore careers and sample jobs while still in school through our Bridges to Transition initiative. We have seen remarkable success as these young adults are now on the job making real wages in the community.

As we move forward, the BHN Alliance and its provider partners will be the “shoulders” upon which people with disabilities can stand as they develop their skills and are given opportunities to work, learn, live and contribute in the community. We believe this is the right thing to do, because we see MVP potential in every person we support.

Just like LeBron.

Three legislators heard about the value of work for people with developmental disabilities when they attended an Employment First luncheon, hosted November 1st by the BHN Alliance (Belmont-Harrison-Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities).

Dean Holtsclaw (far right), General Manager of the Walmart Superstore in St. Clairsville, and employee Pat Jobb (center) listen intently as US Congressman Bill Johnson (OH-6) reads a US House Proclamation commending Walmart for hiring workers with disabilities. This photo was taken at an Employment First luncheon, hosted by the BHN Alliance on November 1st.
In addition to Walmart, Johnson presented commendations to representatives of St. Clair Lanes, New Horizon Animal Hospital, Burger King, and Mehlman Cafeteria. State Representatives Jack Cera (95th District) and Andy Thompson (96th District) were also present and gave Ohio House Proclamations to the five employers and their employees.

Five employers and their employees were also present at the luncheon at Mehlman Cafeteria, St. Clairsville. Yvette Gray and Pat Jobb, who have been employed in the community for many years, spoke about the importance they place on having a job and what it does to improve their lives.

Gray, who has worked at Mehlman Cafeteria for 13 years, said “You can be anything you want to be, just don’t let anybody sit you out.”

Jobb, who has worked at the Walmart Superstore for three years, said a good job means people can do and have the things they want in life.

“If you want to be independent, you’ve got to work,” Jobb said.

The five employers - St. Clair Lanes, New Horizon Animal Hospital, Walmart, Burger King, and Mehlman Cafeteria - were lauded for seeing the value in hiring workers with disabilities and presented with US House Proclamations and Ohio House Commendations by the legislators.

Susan Pugh, Deputy Director, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities; Monty Kerr, Deputy Director, Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, and Pete Moore, Ohio Association of County Boards, also had remarks about the Employment First initiative and what it is doing to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.

“We thank our legislators for taking time to learn why competitive jobs are so important to people with disabilities and what we are doing to locate opportunities for them to work alongside everyone else in our community,” said Stephen L. Williams, BHN Alliance Superintendent.

 DiLeo Delivers Compelling Message about Employment

Nationally-recognized author and disability consultant Dale DiLeo delivered a compelling message on the benefits of community employment for people with developmental disabilities when he spoke at the BHN Alliance’s Fall In-service on October 18th. Nearly 200 people representing the BHN Alliance (Belmont-Harrison-Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities), providers, educators and others attended the in-service held at Ohio University Eastern, St. Clairsville.

Dale DiLeo (center) was the keynote speaker at the BHN Alliance’s Fall In-Service held October 18th at Ohio University Eastern, St. Clairsville. Pictured with DiLeo are Kristen Helling, Employment First Project Manager for the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, and Stephen Williams, Superintendent of the BHN Alliance.Employment First is the initiative that was launched by Governor John Kasich that made community employment the preferred outcome for people with developmental disabilities.

DiLeo provided evidence of how real jobs in the community improve the lives of working-age people with disabilities. He said the system of support can provide the knowledge, facilitation, ideas and nurturing that will help all people be successful on the job.

“We need to graduate kids into jobs,” DiLeo said, adding that each person should be asked what kind of job he or she wants when considering life after high school.

He urged those present to expect people with disabilities to have a skill that can be used at a real job in the community. He added that when people are given opportunities to work alongside others, they rise to the level of expectation of their employer.

DiLeo is the author of Raymond’s Room, the critically-acclaimed book about ending segregation of people with disabilities. His most recent publication is Employment First: Building a Culture That Expects Job Success.


October is Disabilities Employment Awareness Month

October 2013

Disabilities Employment Month is a national campaign held every October to raise awareness of the varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The Harrison County Board of Developmental Disabilities, in partnership with the BHN Alliance, is highlighting those contributions and how they can benefit local businesses.Click here to learn how workers with disabilities can contribute to your company’s success.

BHN Alliance Welcomes Acclaimed Disability Consultant

October 18th 2013

The BHN Alliance (Belmont-Harrison-Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities) will welcome nationally-recognized author and disability consultant Dale DiLeo on Friday, October 18th for a presentation on improving employment outcomes for people with developmental disabilities.

DiLeo is a well-known advocate for people with disabilities and authored the acclaimed book, Raymond’s Room, in which he recounts his experience working in a facility for children with autism. It is a compelling story of why segregation in all aspects of life must end for people with disabilities. He is director of the Training Resource Center in St. Augustine, Florida and has traveled throughout the US and in Canada, Australia and Europe providing trainings on community inclusion for persons with disabilities. He was one of the featured speakers at the inaugural Ohio Employment First Conference in June 2013.

DiLeo’s most recent publication is Employment First: Building a Culture that Expects Job Success. Employment First refers to having community employment be the primary expected goal for working-age adults with disabilities. DiLeo discusses how the disability service system can improve to make community employment a reality.

“Providing opportunities for people to discover their talents and put them to use in the workplace is what we are focusing on in 2013 and beyond,” said BHN Alliance Superintendent Stephen L. Williams. “Dale DiLeo’s compelling presentation outlines the issues and what we can do so people who want to work are given every opportunity to do so.”

DiLeo’s presentation will take place at Ohio University Eastern, St. Clairsville, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon and is part of the BHN Alliance’s Fall In-service for staff and providers. A limited number of seats are still available. If you would like to attend, please call 740-695-0407, ext. 331.

Opportunities Key to Success for People with Disabilities

By Stephen L. Williams, Superintendent

Relationships matter in life. They connect us to people and experiences and enable us to do more than we could alone. Think about your own life. How many times have you used your connections to get a job for yourself or someone you know? How many times do you pick up the phone to ask someone for advice, and how many times have you been the person who was called? It’s this natural interaction with others that builds relationships and creates opportunities for you to be successful. It’s the same for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.

People with disabilities want what most of us take for granted. They want a life that has people, places and things in it that matter to them. The Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities helps people create that life by connecting them to opportunities in the community where those things are found. We do this through the relationships we have with others and our community partners are helping us expand opportunities for people and preserve resources so we can serve more people in better ways.

One of the things people value the most is a job. Through our provider partners, we are supporting their efforts to create or locate employment and other meaningful experiences where adults with disabilities can work and learn alongside everyone else.

Childhood is the time when we form relationships and develop a sense of who we are in the world, so it’s important that children with disabilities learn and play with children who do not have disabilities. We are enhancing our partnership with the public schools to ensure this opportunity. For infants and toddlers with disabilities, early intervention is vitally important for their growth and development. We are enhancing our support and partnering with parents through the P.L.A.Y. (Play and Language for Autistic Youth) Project, a family-centered approach that respects parents and the home environment where most early learning is done.

Our ultimate goal is to ensure that children and adults can achieve what is important to them. Even though the demands on the county board system increase day by day, we are able to do this because of our partnerships with families, providers, public schools, the business community and many others.

During March, Developmental Disabilities’ Awareness Month, we want to thank all the citizens of our county who look beyond disability to see what each person has to offer. You are recognizing potential, forming relationships, and providing opportunities for people with disabilities to learn, work, live and contribute alongside everyone else in our community. And that means success for us all.
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and the 2013 theme is Look Beyond.


February 11, 2013

CADIZ – The Harrison County Board of Developmental Disabilities welcomed a new member at its January 23rd re-organizational meeting.

T. Owen Beetham of Cadiz was appointed by the Harrison County Commissioners to fill the remaining term of Jackie Dunlap, who resigned from the Board last year.

Beetham is a fourth generation attorney serving the people of Harrison County. Before practicing law, he served as a legislative aide in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Belmont College.

The Board also elected 2013 officers at this meeting. Janice Hasley was elected president with David Koch elected vice-president and John Tabacchi, secretary.

The board meets on the third Wednesday of each month at the Board offices at 82480 Cadiz-Jewett Road, Cadiz.

The Harrison County Board of Developmental Disabilities funds supports and services for 115 eligible children and adults with developmental disabilities in Harrison County. Many of those supports are provided throughout a person’s entire lifetime and include early intervention, preschool, transition services, adult services, residential, transportation, and family support. To learn more, call 740-942-2158.

Easter Seals, DD Board Partnership Benefits Harrison Children and Families

SEPTEMBER 17, 2012

CADIZ – A partnership between the Harrison County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Easter Seals now means that local children and their families won’t have to travel to Steubenville or Wheeling to access therapy services. Those services are now available closer to home in Cadiz.

The Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center is now offering speech, physical and occupational therapies from an office in the Harrison County Board of Developmental Disabilities, 82480 Cadiz-Jewett Road, Cadiz. Hours of the Center will be during the day and after school times, depending on the need.

Stephen L. Williams, Superintendent of the Harrison County Board, said this partnership came about to make therapy services more accessible for children with disabilities.

“It is important that children receive the therapies they need now so they can reach their potential later in life,” Williams said. “Having to travel any distance can be a burden for some. By partnering with Easter Seals, we are able to bring therapies closer to home, making it easier on the children and their families.”

Easter Seals Program Director David Hacker said he is very excited about the partnership with the Harrison County Board.

“It has always been and remains the mission of Easter Seals to provide necessary and accessible medical services to those who need them the most. I am grateful that Steve and his staff have welcomed our therapists to the Center in Cadiz, and am certain that this partnership will allow more residents in Harrison County to access much needed services,” Hacker said.

To find out how your child can see an Easter Seals’ therapist in Harrison County, contact Easter Seals at 304-242-1390 and ask to speak to the Social Work Services Department. From there, the referral process will be managed and residents can receive both evaluations and ongoing services right in their backyard.

The Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center primary service area includes Belmont, Monroe, Jefferson and Harrison counties in Ohio and Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Tyler, Brooke and Hancock counties in West Virginia. To learn more, log onto


JULY 1, 2012

CADIZ - Stephen L. Williams of St. Clairsville has been named Superintendent of the Harrison County Board of Developmental Disabilities, effective July 1, 2012.

Williams succeeds Superintendent Monty L. Kerr, who took a position with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities in 2011.

Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in education from The Ohio State University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Ohio University. He has worked in the developmental disabilities’ field for 23 years and been involved in nearly every aspect of it, from service planning and delivery to business management and leadership.

For the last year, Williams has served as Director of Operations for the BHN Alliance, the collaboration between the Belmont, Harrison and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities wherein certain administrative functions are shared. He will also serve as Superintendent of the Belmont and Noble County Boards.

“Mr. Williams understands our vision of sharing functions in order to be cost effective,” said Robin Bowdish, Harrison Board president. “He is committed to moving Belmont, Harrison, and Noble County Boards forward in this process and we look forward to our future under his leadership.”

Williams headed several initiatives during his career. He created the boards’ office of Provider Development and Support and served as its first Director. In that post, Williams developed the Partnership for Quality Services Initiative, a quality assurance program that supports the provider network by encouraging a process of feedback and then providing incentives that are tied to the satisfaction of the people served.

County boards of developmental disabilities are operated as separate administrative entities in Ohio. They are governed by seven member boards of directors that are responsible for hiring the Superintendent, who is the chief executive officer.

As incoming Superintendent, Williams said he will work to maintain financial stability, continue to break ground with new initiatives, and be an agent for positive changes in the lives of people with disabilities at the local and state levels.

“I am pleased and humbled to have been chosen for this position,” Williams said. “It is a privilege to work on behalf of people with disabilities in all three counties.”

Williams and his wife, Penny, are the parents of two sons, Zachary, a student at West Virginia University, and Logan, a St. Clairsville Middle School student.


FEBRUARY 1, 2012

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – A successful collaboration between the Belmont, Harrison and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, known as the BHN Alliance, will be recognized when the Director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities stops in Belmont County next week.
Director John Martin will visit the Belmont County Board on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 10 a.m. to honor all three county boards for being pioneers in the field of shared administrative services. He will present recognitions to the Board presidents at an invitation-only event to take place at 10 a.m.
The BHN Alliance was the first collaboration between two or more county boards that was created to address decreasing revenue and increasing needs of people with disabilities. The Belmont and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities began sharing a Superintendent over 18 years ago. Today, all three boards now share certain administrative personnel and functions, including Superintendent, Service and Support Administration, financial management, and human resources.

This is the second time the BHN Alliance has been recognized. In September, Governor John Kasich invited representatives from the BHN Alliance and other county boards to meet with him to talk about their shared services and how they have preserved financial resources and created efficiencies.

DD Boards Meet with Governor to Talk about Shared Services

OCTOBER 1, 2011

COLUMBUS - When Governor John Kasich began encouraging local governments to begin exploring sharing services as a way to lower costs, the Belmont, Harrison and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities were already doing that very thing. So it came as no surprise when the Governor invited representatives from the three Boards and other County Boards across the state to meet with him to talk about how their efforts at shared services save money and increase efficiencies.

The meeting with the Governor was held September 26th at the Statehouse. Local representatives Robin Bowdish, president of the Harrison County Board of DD, and Bryan Chandler, president of the Noble County Board of DD, attended along with Stephen L. Williams, Director of Operations for the Belmont, Harrison and Noble County Boards, and Holly Weatherson, Project Coordinator for shared services in those counties, known as the BHN Alliance.

Weatherson provided an overview for the Governor of the benefits of the BHN Alliance, which is the first collaboration between county boards. She noted that sharing services between two or more county boards preserves limited financial resources and creates efficiencies. Weatherson noted that five years ago the Boards faced unprecedented cuts in state and local funding that made it necessary for the Boards to change the way they do business.

“Our collaboration came about as a way to save money, improve quality and preserve local county boards in a way that would not negatively affect the people we serve,” Weatherson said.

The Belmont and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities began sharing a Superintendent over 18 years ago. Today, all three boards now share certain administrative personnel and functions, including Superintendent, financial management, and human resources.

Bryan Chandler, president of the Noble County Board, said that sharing services has been of great benefit.

“The BHN Alliance has given Noble the ability to offer better quality services to those we serve. Noble is one of the smallest counties, yet through the Alliance, we have administrative resources comparable to counties that are much larger than us,” Chandler said.

Robin Bowdish, Harrison County Board president, agrees. “What I view as the most beneficial thing about shared functions is that we are able to pool our resources and hire talented individuals with specific skills,” she said.

Jay Rodak, president of the Belmont County Board, said the financial benefits to shared functions are significant.

“Shared functions or alliances are the best way to efficiently and effectively deliver services in times of increasing cost and decreasing funding,” Rodak said. “The long-term benefits both financially and administratively far outweigh any short-term challenges, especially if the focus remains on the needs of those we serve.”

Ten other county boards of developmental disabilities in Ohio are now sharing some services and their representatives were also present at this meeting.

Governor Kasich praised the boards for their willingness to try new things.

“When it comes to risk-taking you have the support of the Governor,” Kasich said. “We’ve been playing it safe in Ohio too long. Your risk will pay off in manifold ways.”

The Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities funds an array of services for 478 adults and children with developmental disabilities in Belmont County. Harrison CBDD serves 95 individuals and Noble County serves 100. In most cases, the Boards fund or provide services throughout a person’s entire life, 24/7, 365 days per year.