SDS Update

August 18, 2016

Harwood, Rogers carry new umbrella for Alaskans with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Congratulations to Maureen Harwood and Caitlin Rogers for taking on new roles and responsibilities in our division. Effective Tuesday, Aug. 16, Maureen became chief of developmental programs, overseeing the IDD unit and the Early Intervention/Infant Learning Program.

Caitlin stepped into the role Maureen previously held as manager of the IDD unit.

Maureen is now Alaska’s coordinator for federal funding available through Part C of IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and will ensure the state meets Part C requirements for the Infant Learning Program, such as having highly qualified staff.

Maureen’s new position reflects the complexity of folding in the new confidentiality rules and federal data collection requirements that come with welcoming ILP to SDS. It also reflects the complexity of trying to find new funding sources for both programs.

“It’s a challenging time in Alaska financially,” Maureen noted. “We had to reduce number of people we take into the IDD waiver, but will work hard to be sure people who receive services are getting the best services possible.”

Caitlin is ready to carry that torch.

“I’m really excited about our development of more person-centered planning,” she said. The movement builds on other CMS-required changes like conflict-free care coordination that took effect July 1.

Caitlin will also help support the ongoing development of SDS’ new database system, making sure it functions optimally for IDD staff.

The combined challenges of the state’s budget squeeze, a new program, new database, and implementing major program changes could stress a person out, but fortunately the section knows how to manage stress: dog time.

When Caitlin interviewed for the assessor position that was her first job at SDS four years ago, she was asked if she was a cat or dog person. When she answered the latter, she said, “I felt like that clinched it.”

Caitlin has a bachelor’s in human services and worked in direct social services at S.T.A.R. crisis center then OCS before a stint in the private sector. She is a lifelong Alaskan, and mom in a committed sports family. Her four kids and husband coach and play year-round, meaning a lot of hours in the car – but she does NOT drive a mini-van, she wants everyone to know. As soon as her oldest heads to college this fall, she’s promised her youngest a new bulldog.

Maureen and her husband, an ornithologist, have three dogs spanning the color spectrum – black and yellow Labs and a brown Pointer/Lab. They met in Bethel, where she lived for 10 years before spending the last 16 years in Fairbanks. There she added a master’s in northern studies from University of Alaska Fairbanks to her bachelor’s in psychology. She started with SDS in the IDD unit in 2003.

She has an appreciation for humor during difficult times, and believes in unflagging consideration for others.

People come to the program to ask for support, and that’s a hard thing to do, Maureen observed.

“My work ethic has always been about making sure we bring kindness to every moment,” she said. “A value for me at work is that it has to be a joyful place.”

Maureen and Caitlin, it’s a joy to have you as part of our team. Thank you both for stepping up to help lead us forward.

Respectfully, Duane

""Duane Mayes signature

Duane Mayes
Director, Division of Senior and Disabilities Services