NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE STATE OF MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH
Developmental Disabilities Division Director Retires
Simons’ leadership and experience will be missed in Missouri
JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Bernard Simons, Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DD), within the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH), is retiring as of March 15, 2014 after more than seven years of service in the position.
Keith Schafer, Director of DMH, expressed tremendous gratitude for Simons’ service. “Bernie Simons is an experienced, dedicated and compassionate leader in the developmental disability field, and one of the longest tenured directors in the history of DMH’s Division of DD. His vision and commitment to people with developmental disabilities has been unmatched. He implemented the Partnership for Hope program, a national early intervention model that created a basic ‘sea change’ in the developmental disabilities field, allowing the quicker enrollment of over 2,700 individuals to enter DD services much earlier to maintain and strengthen their functional abilities to live in their home communities. Not only does that allow them a better quality of life, but I also believe that it will avoid the need for more costly residential services in the future.”
Schafer also said that Simons’ leadership had resulted in dramatic reductions in the number of individuals on the state’s waiting lists for DD services that had existed for many years. “Bernie set the stage for Governor Nixon’s dramatic announcement in his January 2014 State-of-the-State message to the Missouri Legislature that his Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget recommendations would allow every eligible individual with DD in-home services needs to be enrolled in those services during FY 2015.”
While Simons is retiring from his work in Missouri, he is not leaving the field of Developmental Disabilities. He and his wife are moving to Baltimore, Maryland where he will become the director of developmental disability services for that state in April, 2014.
Schafer indicated that Jeff Grosvenor, currently the Director of Administrative Services for the Division of Developmental Disabilities, will serve as Interim Director of the DD Division until Simons’ successor is chosen.