Vantage Group’s commitment is to support the life-long needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in safe comfortable settings and create opportunities for each person’s social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual growth.
Vantage Group’s vision is to be one of Connecticut’s preferred human service agencies for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and behavioral health needs. We utilize progressive practices, current technology, and highly skilled staff to provide an expansive range of services. Vantage consistently strives to be the agency of choice for individuals and families and the employer of choice for human service professionals.
Vantage Group, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization that provides residential, day, employment and in-home family supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Accomplishments in 2015
Enrolled 5 more individuals into the day and
Opened two new group homes
Increased operating budget from FY14 to FY15 by $370,000
Began internship program with Albertus Magnus
College and Southern Connecticut State University and affiliation with Yale School of Management
Reorganized program operations, adding Director of Quality Assurance and Behaviorist
increase base salary of direct support employees
by 5-10% - $145,000
development of autism program for children -
repair driveways at 3 group homes - $36,000
replace heating system at group home - $65,000
Because of the vision and groundwork set by its founders, I can proudly say that Vantage is successful and strong. We have been agents in improving the quality of life of those we serve for over 30 years. The statement of philosophy and beliefs that formed the agency in the early 1980’s continue to guide us today: “ … individuals have the right to choose their own living environment… we will enhance the lives of both the residents and their families.”
Today, many individuals we support live in their own apartments and homes. Several are competitively employed in businesses of all types. We also serve those who are still living in their family’s homes; providing support to the family as a whole. While successful, we do face significant challenges:
More and more people are in need of support
Aging client base
Life expectancy for adults with developmental disabilities is approaching parity with the general population. A University of Chicago study estimates that there are over 600,000 individuals with developmental disabilities over the age of 60 living in the United States. It is predicted that this will double within the next 15 years.
The prevalence of Autism
According to a November, 2015 study, autism now affects 1 in 48 children and is the fastest growing developmental disability in the U.S.
More adults with developmental disabilities are living in their family’s home
State funding that used to be available to help men and women move out of their families’ homes in to residential services have been significantly cut. As individuals turn 22 years old and leave school programs, the option of moving into a supervised home or their own apartment with intermittent supports is less likely.
State of Connecticut is no longer able to provide funding for all its citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The growing number and need level of these individuals combine with the state and federal fiscal cut backs has put a significant strain on us.
Despite these challenges, I am enthusiastic to lead Vantage as we tackle these challenges and live up to our vision to be “the preferred human service agency that utilizes progressive practices, current technology, and highly skilled staff to provide an expansive range of services.”
Growing up with a brother with Down Syndrome was a challenge. We knew life would not be easy for him and we were always afraid that he would be picked on or taken advantage of. My brothers, sister and I were very protective and wondered how he would make it in this world. We knew our parents would not live forever and caring for child with a disability is a difficult task. We all took turns looking after my brother and hoped that he would find a place to live outside my parent’s home with compatible housemates and knowledgeable, caring staff. We found that in Vantage.
When he first came to Vantage, my brother had a lot of skills and was living in an apartment with limited staffing. As he has aged, some of those skills have declined and he now requires more support. So now he lives in a small group home with 24 hour staffing. He works a few days a week, including a part-time volunteer job at Yale; something he greatly enjoys.
I have always been a fierce advocate for my brother. There was a period of time when I was unhappy with the quality of supports my brother was receiving. I was equally upset about the lack of response from the Vantage senior management. My voice, and the voice of many other family members stirred the board in making a decision to change leadership.
Knowing I am a fighter and deeply committed to the quality of life for my brother, the new Executive Director asked me to join the Vantage Board of Directors to ensure that the family perspective is always considered in management and governance decisions. Since joining the board, we have recruited 4 more members with a family member with a disability; something that gives me great pride.
As Chair of the Board, I get to see the things we have accomplished as well as the challenges we face. I am proud that we have able to expand our residential services to include more people. Our employment service has grown so that our clients (like my brother) can enjoy meaningful work. I have seen us grow more sophisticated in our program delivery and management. Vantage is a dynamic organization that I feel privileged to govern.
While we have much to brag about, there are challenges to be met. These include: adequate funding for both operations and growth, attracting and retaining quality staff, and serving clients with more intensive medical and behavioral needs. To address these challenges, the board and the Executive Director have formalize plans as part of the 2015-2018 strategic plan.
The updated plan will address:
Diversification of funding. Vantage can no longer rely solely on state contracts. Fundraising must increase, but so must other revenue streams.
Enhanced workforce. Vantage must position itself to be the “employer of choice” so that caring, motivated staff will seek out employment here. Increased wages and ability to move up in the organization must be part of the strategy.
New programmatic emphasis. As the population ages, different skill sets are needed and service models must be adjusted to meet the increasing medical needs. We need to adapt to those with more pronounce medical and behavioral needs.Vantage is up to the challenge.
Residential services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Whether a client is living in an agency group home or in his/her own apartment, this program provides 24 hour per day services. Each individual receives assistance in all aspects of daily living and community membership.
Names are fictitous, but stories are real
The day program provides educational, therapeutic, and socialization services to maximize each participants potential. The program also offers many volunteer opportunities so individuals connect and give back to the community.
Annual goals are developed with each individual and/or his guardian (if applicable.) These goals are further broken down into specific objectives. These objectives are evaluated after six months and modified as needed. Annually, these goals are fully reviewed. New goals are set at this annual meeting or previous goals are continued. Additionally, the State of Connecticut conducts periodic licensing and quality service reviews, giving feedback to the agency on the effectiveness of the programs.
Vantage employs a full-time Quality Assurance Director who conducts internal audits to monitor service delivery, program success, and compliance with state and agency policies and procedures.
November 1, 2016, Vantage Group was awarded funds from the Community Foundation
to develop a program that supports children with autism (ASD) who display maladaptive
behaviors in their family's home in Greater New Haven
Autism program is developed around the concepts and clinical foundations of
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA); which is the only intervention that has
continually demonstrated its effectiveness in helping children with special
needs and behavioral difficulties.
enters into a partnership with the families; not just act as outside clinical
are taught how to implement the behavior program; to prompt and reinforce the child
through his or her various daily activities. Studies show that
children whose parents are actively engaged in behavioral support programs make
measurable gains, i.e. significant decreases in behaviors, more time on
productive tasks, and increased emotional connection with others.
Essentially there are five challenges facing Vantage:
Clients with more significant needs Over the years, advances in medicine make it possible for more individuals born with disabilities to survive infancy and grow into adulthood. These individuals are now coming into the adult service delivery system in great numbers. Many of those being referred for services require more significant medical supports than we have been providing. We need to build our nursing and therapeutic service capacity.
The aging of clients According to a University of Chicago study, in the United States there are currently over 600,000 individuals with developmental disabilities who are now over the age of 60. It’s predicted that number will double to 1.2 million during the next 15 years. Out of 70 individuals supported by Vantage, 14 are over 60 years old and 41 are over 50. Many already have medical issues. These conditions coupled with those associated with the normal aging process, are a real concern. Again, this requires us to build the appropriate clinical supports in our existing programs and create new programs as needed.
Prevalence of autismThe current reality is that 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism. Among boys, the numbers are 1 in 54. Some will require ongoing support to live full, meaningful lives. There is a serious lack of services for children and adults living with this condition. Vantage needs to determine where we fit in serving this population.
Connecticut’s fiscal realitiesThe current service delivery system is financially unsustainable. At one time, when the individuals reached age 22 and exited the school system, they had options. They could start a new life in a supervised group home. Or they would be helped to set up their own apartment. Today, with state budget limits, families can’t count on those options. When their son or daughter reaches 22 years old, they are more likely to continue to remain in the family home. That calls for new kinds of services from Vantage, including reaching out to support individuals and their families in their own homes.
Additional funding beyond state contracts It is reckless to assume that the state can continue to fund programs at the current levels. Vantage has to augment its funding through charitable gifts while continuing to operate efficiently. Vantage’s cost of providing services increases each year. Health insurance premiums continue to rise. The cost of utilities increases. This past July, Vantage’s business insurance premiums rose by $13,000. Vantage employees, often with families, start out at $12 an hour. Across the nation, fast-food workers are demanding $15 an hour. Many of Vantage workers are eligible for Husky, food stamps, and other entitlements for the working poor. Most have to hold second jobs. This is untenable. Human service work must pay a livable wage to recruit and retain a professional workforce. All this points to an increased emphasis on pursuing additional resources through private donations, foundations, and grants.
Vantage has been a preferred provider of services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 30 years. We were on the forefront of moving individuals out of state institutions into typical neighborhoods. Over the years, our commitment to quality of life for those we serve has never wavered and is still as strong as it was in the early 1980’s. Through good, sound business practices and a board commitment to the stability of Vantage, we are presently in good financial shape. However, it would be irresponsible to be complacent. Vantage vows to stabilize and improve our financial condition - and those of our workforce - as we develop new service models to serve our clientele with compassion and a commitment to excellence.
2011- Present Vantage Group, Inc., North Haven, CT
Chief Executive Officer of human service agency that provides residential, day, employment and in-home services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
2002 – 2011 New England Village, Inc., Pembroke, MA
Directed the programmatic and fiscal operations of residential, clinical, and other supports to adults with developmental disabilities.
1998 – 2002 BAMSI , Brockton, MA
Responsible for programmatic and fiscal operations of residential, medical and therapeutic programs throughout Eastern Massachusetts.
1990 – 1998 CCI, Yarmouth Port, MA
Chief Executive Officer of human service agency that provides residential, day, and employment services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
1989 – 1990 HARBOR Services., New Bedford, MA
1987 – 1989 Bay Cove Human Services, Inc., Boston, MA
Directed the administrative and clinical operations of Developmental Disabilities Division.
1982 – 1986 CAC, Duxbury, MA
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Stonehill College, North Easton, MA
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, 1976
Previous CFO for Kenndey Center, Trumbull and ARI, Stamford
Previous CEO ARI, Stamford
Connecticut Community Providers Association - member
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Projected Surplus Explanation
Based on the budget figures stated above, it appears the Vantage Group will realize a profit of $220,725 in FY16. It is important to note that both the revenue of $5,455,158 and the expense of $5,234,433 are both projections, and are subject to change during the fiscal year.
It should also be noted that Vantage is prohibited by state regulations to retain any state funds at the end of the fiscal year. These funds must be reverted back to the state of Connecticut or issued to staff in the form of a merit-based bonus. Vantage has always chosen the latter. The average wage of a direct service worker is under $13.00 per hour. In FY15, Vantage was able to award each of its full and part time employees a bonus check averaging $1,300.
As stated above, Vantage cannot keep surpluses from state funded programs. Such public policy does not allow Vantage to build equity and can create year-end cash flow concerns. Additionally, since state reimbursement for services is often delayed by 30 -45 days, cash flow must be managed carefully throughout the year.
Another factor that makes financial management challenging is the state practice of reimbursing capital improvements in future years, not at the time incurred. This creates yet another drag on cash flow and sometimes necessitates accessing the line of credit at the bank. As a result, capital improvements must be prioritized and are often delayed until funding can be obtained from an outside source.
Over the past three years, Vantage has increasingly relied on individual donations, foundations and grants to underwrite projects, support overhead, and help build equity to continue financial stability.
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
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