Established in 1989, Community Access Services (CAS) began supporting Oregonians with Developmental Disabilities, in Residential, Employment and Day Support Activity services, with a Mission “to respect and support all individuals…to live a healthy and fulfilled life in their home and community.”
The organization was created in response to the need of numerous individuals who were leaving the state’s institution, Fairview Training Center. From 1989 to 1999, CAS built capacity to support 40 individuals, establishing and sustaining eight Group Homes in Columbia, Washington, Clackamas, and Multnomah Counties. Each program was individualized to meet the needs of those in the home, with several being medically specialized, staffed with licensed Nurses, three with nurse managers. Concurrently, CAS developed Day Support Activity Services in three locations; two in Columbia County and one in Clackamas.
During this time, CAS also built and sustained supports for several individuals who live in their own apartments, through its Supported Living services. CAS professionals provide periodic, individualized, non-intrusive supports to individuals in this program, supporting them in maintaining their independence in their home and work lives.
In 2007, in response to additional community need, and through the political and funding vehicle referred to as “Comp 300,” (part of the Staley versus Kitzhaber settlement agreement), CAS added to its residential service capacity by opening a ninth group home, specifically adapted to individuals with complex support needs, based in Northern Columbia County. In 2012, the agency opened its tenth home, to meet the need of Clackamas County residents with intensive medical supports; some aging out of children’s services and others who Clackamas County DD Services was determined to transition out of nursing care homes, back into the community. They added an eleventh home in 2013. CAS now serves 55 individuals in group homes, and 3 in supported living.
CAS has traditionally been highly regarded by the state, counties, fellow providers, community members, advocates, and, most importantly, by those it supports and its staff. CAS leadership, and all its care and support professionals, work diligently and thoughtfully to provide services that are truly individualized, “fun,” and community based. With multiple employment placements developed somewhat informally by CAS professionals who have established ties to their local communities, the organization grew inspired to focus on further developing its employment service capacity, through a dedicated Supported Employment Department, initiated in early 2014, focusing on Discovery, Job Development and Retention Supports, as well as expanding upon Consumer-Owned Business/Micro-Enterprise, a support/service that CAS established in 2013.
CAS is also committed to making additional improvements to its Day Support Activity offerings, upping the ante on quality and variety, and has been expanding into new, more comfortable/versatile spaces in Clatskanie, St. Helen’s, and in Milwaukie. The programmatic plans include new features that will further promote vocational skill building and paid work opportunities, as well as enhanced opportunities for recreation, independent skill building, relaxation and socialization. Additionally, CAS has given its Clatskanie Thrift Shop, now called “Back on the Rack” a new look, name and feel, which has increased business and employment opportunities. CAS currently serves 52 individuals in Day Activity and Employment, and 22 in Discovery/Job Development Services.
Also in 2014, CAS has established an In-Homes Supports department, to offer services to individuals with developmental disabilities who live in their own homes or a family member’s home; a growing trend in the field.
Proud of its established, individualized, person-centered foundation, CAS is excited about the potential that the evolution of services to individuals with Developmental Disabilities will bring, and are honored to be a part of it.