Joint Link Cross-Training on Veterans Affairs Held in Clearfield

The Clearfield County Link to Aging and Disability Resources, Cameron/Elk/McKean Counties Link and the Jefferson County Link held a joint cross-training Oct. 25 in Clearfield.

The three Links, also known nationally as Aging and Disability Resource Centers, collaborated together to bring this one-half day cross-training to 70 professionals.  The topic of the cross-training was Veterans’ Benefits and Services and the Veterans Affairs Home and Community-based Services Initiative.  This first joint venture between the three Links proved to be successful.

The PA Office of Long-term Living, which provides funding for the Links has been encouraging these types of collaborations and partnerships.  In addition, each of the Links statewide have been encouraged to seek out opportunities to collaborate with other community groups to find ways to assist in meeting the needs of consumers over age 60 and those 18 – 59 years of age with disabilities and their families through special projects.

For the cross-training, a panel of experts from several Veterans Affairs offices and others presented information.  Panelists included, Brian Natal of the state’s Department of Military and Veterans Affiars; Matt Windsor of the McKean County Veterans Affairs Office; Betina Nicklas of the Clearfield County Veterans Affairs Office; Leslie Neal of the Elk County Veterans Affairs Office; and Jon DeSantis of  DuBois, who provides transition assistance to veterans through a grant with Community Connections.

In order to insure the proper referral of consumers from one organization to another for services and supports, the Links’ cross trainings have become a vital activity in the development of the Clearfield County Link network and in all the other Links across the state.  These trainings help staff to better answer consumers’ questions or to learn about who to ask, rather than simply referring consumers elsewhere if their agency does not provide the service/s needed.

In Clearfield County, there are three core partners and 28 collaborative partners who make up the Clearfield County Link network.

The national vision for ADRCs is that the ADRCs are “serving as highly visible and trusted places where people of all incomes and ages can turn for information on the full range of long-term support options and a single point of entry for access to public long-term supports, programs and services.”  In addition, Pennsylvania’s vision is that this network of Core and Collaborative Partners “allows for the consumer to initiate contact with any Link Network partner and, generally speaking, experience the same intake to access information, assistance, and resources.”

The Link provides information and linkages to long-term services and supports for people over the age of 60 and for persons between the ages of 18 and 59 with disabilities.

If you or a family member needs assistance from the Clearfield County Link, you may contact any of the three core partners listed below.  The numbers to call are: for the CCAAA, 1-800-225-8571; for CRI, 1-866-619-6405; and for LIFT, 1-800-341-5438.

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