August 31, 2016
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands – Recently the Department of Human Services issued a press release pertaining to the “Medical Assistance Program (MAP) Coverage for Breast and cervical Cancer Treatment”. Anita Roberts, Ph. D., Commissioner Designee stated, “This is a very important matter that requires immediate clarification. We want to ensure that all public information is timely and correct. Therefore, I bring to the public’s attention that the age requirement for Medical Assistance Program (MAP) is not age 65 and older. Rather, MAP applicants seeking treatment for breast and cervical cancer diagnosis must be 65 years and younger. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience, and we provide reassurance that the Department of Human Services gives priority in meeting the needs of all whom we serve."
August 30, 2016
Department of Human Services, Division of Childcare and Regulatory Services Offers Limited Services for Staff Training
St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands – Anita Roberts, Ph.D., Commissioner Designee of the Department of Human Services announces that the Division of Childcare and Regulatory Services is closed on Tuesday, August 30, 2016. The division’s staff on St. Thomas and St. Croix are participating in mandatory training throughout Thursday, September 1, 2016.
Commissioner Designee Roberts stated, “We apologize for the late notice and for any inconvenience to the public. The Division of Childcare and Regulatory Services will be open on a limited basis on Wednesday and Thursday. This mandatory training is a part of division’s and the department’s commitment to enhance employee performance in an effort to continuously improve overall services to the public.” The Division of Childcare and Regulatory Services will reopen for full service to the public on Friday, September 2, 2016.
August 30, 2016
Department of Human Services Opens the New School Year for Head Start Program
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands – The Department of Human Services, Office of Preschool Services - Head Start Program, announces the commencement of the new school year. The first day of school will be Tuesday, September 6, 2016 for its operations on St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John. Telsalda Josiah, Assistant Commissioner of Human Services stated, “We are excited about this new school year, and embrace the opportunity to continue to play a vital role in the development of our youngsters. Equally important is our open door policy on engaging the family from the beginning of their child’s educational process. In concert with VI Fathers March, we are issuing a reminder and are encouraging fathers or male care givers to accompany their children on the first day of school.”
The VI Father’s March initiative promotes the involvement of fathers in the lives of their children, and the first day of school has significant impact in the maintenance of that bond. Assistant Commissioner Josiah continued, “We are aware of the significance of fathers in the lives of their children, and our promotion focuses on the benefits. We have experienced that children whose fathers are involved in their lives demonstrate fewer behavioral problems. Further, it fosters independence, self-control and confidence.” The following is detailed information on the opening of the Head Start Program by island.
St. Thomas / St. John District Center Sites – Bovoni, Cruz Bay, Knud Hansen Complex, Lindberg Bay, Minnetta Mitchell Complex, Savan, and Wilhelm George Complex
St. Croix District Center Sites – Anna’s Hope, Christiansted, Concordia, Frederiksted, Kingshill, Marley, Profit, and Richmond
The Extended Day Classrooms are 7:30am until 5:30pm. Whereas, the Full Day Classrooms are from 7:45am until 3:00pm. For more information, parents may contact the Office of Services / Head Start Program Administration at (340) 774-5370 or (340) 773-1972.
August 16, 2016
Medical Assistance Program (MAP) Coverage for Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment
The Department of Human Services Commissioner Vivian I. Ebbesen-Fludd, issued a statement to again remind Medical Assistance Program (MAP) recipients about the conditions for coverage offered to uninsured women for Breast and Cervical Cancer treatment. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have granted the Virgin Islands this authority based upon an amendment to the VI Medicaid State Plan.
Commissioner Ebbesen-Fludd expressed, “The Virgin Islands has demonstrated to our federal partners that the prevalence of Breast and Cervical Cancer in the territory’s uninsured women is significant enough to be included for coverage under the VI Medical Assistance Program (MAP). We continue to proactively develop the local Medical Assistance Program with a keen focus on Breast and Cervical Cancer diagnosis. We have also advanced a broad based approach to ensure that qualifying women can access treatment and not be discouraged by the cost of diagnosis and care.”
The VI Medicaid State Plan acts as a contract between the VI Department of Human Services and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with regards to management and operations of VI Medical Assistance Program (MAP) in the territory. Additionally, applicants for the VI Medical Assistance Program (MAP) applicants are not required to prove income or assets, but must verify United States citizenship, Virgin Islands residency, age of 65 or older, uninsured status, and a confirmed diagnosis of Breast or Cervical Cancer at a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approved site – the nearest of which is in Puerto Rico. Commissioner Ebbbesen-Fludd further cautioned that, “coverage by VI Medical Assistance Program (MAP), however, applies only to women who tested positive via PAP or Mammogram for Breast or Cervical Cancer respectively, at the VI Department of Health Clinics; the Frederiksted Health Center Inc.(FHC, Inc.) on St. Croix and the St. Thomas East End Medical Center Corporation (STEEMC) on St. Thomas. After either of these clinics complete the initial testing, the diagnosis is then confirmed by biopsy at the CDC site in Puerto Rico. Air travel will be provided through the VI Medical Assistance Program.” In accordance with the VI Medicaid State Plan, if the Medical Assistance Program recipient visits a private physician for breast or cervical testing and /or they receive a diagnosis (biopsy) from a private physician, they then become ineligible for the VI Medical Assistance Program (MAP) Breast and Cervical Cancer Insurance Program.
August 15, 2016
Department of Human Services Head Start Program offers Parental Orientation on St. Croix
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands – The Department of Human Services, Preschool Services Head Start Program announces it will conduct “Parental Orientation” for children who will be attending the program on St. Croix. The “Parental Orientation” will take place on Wednesday, August 17, 2017 at the St. Croix Educational Complex, and it is important that parents are in attendance.
“We continue to promote the needs of the children in our care, and undoubtedly parental involvement is a vital part of the process. This meeting provides the opportunity for us to share with parents the core values and structure of the Head Start Program. Our focus on the parents at this initial stage is conducive to every child’s learning development and the care provided at all the centers,” stated Telsalda Josiah, Assistant Commissioner of Human Services.
The managers of the Head Start Centers will be in attendance at “Parental Orientation”, and will review with parents the operations of their centers. In addition, there will be discussion on the content areas and how they work together to provide comprehensive services to families. The content areas include health, nutrition, social services, parental involvement/engagement, child mental health, and education. This is a significant part of the Head Start Program which prepares preschoolers for the transition from Head Start to Kindergarten.
Assistant Commissioner Telsalda Josiah urged parent’s attendance and added, “There will be two sessions for the respective centers. Session I will be for Frederiksted, Marley, Concordia, and Kingshill Centers, and is scheduled from 9am until 11am. Session II will be include Christiansted, Profit, Richmond, and Anna’s Hope Centers, and will take place from 12 noon until 2pm.”
August 12. 2016
Missing Minor Returns to Youth Rehabilitation Center
St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands – The Department of Human Services Commissioner Vivian I. Ebbessen-Fludd announced today that Jeremiah George, the missing minor from the Youth Rehabilitation Services (YRC), was returned to the facility. The Virgin Islands Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Virgin Islands Department of Police Department (VIPD) have worked collaboratively with the community’s involvement to ensure the safe return of Mr. George to the custody of YRC officials.
Commissioner Ebbesen-Fludd stated, “I am pleased that Jeremiah George has returned to the Youth Rehabilitation Center without incident. He was accompanied back to the facility by an YRC employee, and we are currently processing his return. At this juncture and until this process concludes, it is our primary responsibility to immediately apprise the community with this update as it pertains to the whereabouts of Mr. George.”
Earlier this week, the Virgin Islands Department of Human Services and YRC, as well as the Virgin Islands Police Department worked together for the safe return of Jeremiah George. An official description to include the clothes he was last seen wearing was provided to the public. It was also reported that Jeremiah George was being transferred at the time of his disappearance. “We would like to thank those individuals who in any way assisted our agency towards Mr. George’s safe return,” Commissioner Ebbesen- Fludd concluded.
August 8, 2016
Department of Human Services Sponsors Health Fair and Outreach Activities
Department of Human Services Sponsors Health Fair and Outreach Activities
St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands – The Department of Human Services, Queen Louise Home for the Aged will host the Sixth Annual Health Fair and Outreach activities on Friday, August 12, 2016. The event will take place at the Lionel Roberts Stadium in St. Thomas, V.I. from 9:00am until 2:00pm.
“Every year the Department and the dedicated staff of QLH for the Aged, and other programs organize this event for the Seniors in the community so that there can take advantage of screening and other assistance as it relates to the maintenance of their health”, expressed Vivian I. Ebbesen-Fludd, Commissioner of Human Services. Other governmental and non-profit agencies participate by providing health care and other services for Senior Citizens who attend the annual Health Fair. These agencies include VITEMA who provide tips on emergency preparedness; Legal Services of the Virgin Islands who will offer legal advice concerning personal affairs and property; Water and Power Authority on energy conservation and assistance; Fire Services on fire prevention in the home; the Department of Health on the Zika virus and other illness affecting the Senior population; and other organizations that promote healthy living and the prevention of illnesses amongst our Seniors.
There will also be presentations featuring the programs within the Department of Human Services, Senior Citizens Affairs Unit (Family Caregiver Program, Therapeutic Recreation, Senior ID, Adult Protective Services, Senior Citizens Senior Employment Program (SCSEP), Senior Medicare Patrol, and Vocational Rehabilitation). “We are truly excited about the opportunity to bring these health services free of charge to our seniors living in St. Thomas. The access to screening for blood sugar, hypertension, and cholesterol; as well as specialty services by Bobby Olivacce “Ras Bobby”, Herbalist, and Allen Hayes Sr., Natural Healer, is invaluable. As this event continues to grow every year, we thank all of our
partners for helping us with providing this opportunity for our Seniors.” concluded Commissioner Ebbesen-Fludd.
August 8, 2016
Department of Human Services Seeks to Locate Missing Minor
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands – The V.I. Department of Human Services and the V.I. Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance in locating Jeremiah George. George, a minor, was last seen in the Water Gut area in Christiansted, St. Croix in the vicinity of Seaborne Airlines and the Ruby Rouss Housing Complex. When he was last seen, Mr. George was wearing a black t-shirt with a white shirt underneath, and a long black pants. George, a black male, is about five feet nine inches (5’9”) and weighs one hundred and forty eight 148 pounds.
Human Services Commissioner, Vivian I. Ebbesen-Fludd stated, “We ask for the support and assistance of family and friends, as well as the community in locating this young man. We are working together with the Virgin Islands Police Department, and we need the awareness and cooperation of the entire community.” If you see this missing minor, please call the Department of Human Services at (340) 773-7123 or call the Virgin Islands Police Department at 911.
May 23, 2016
Department of Human Services - Head Start Program Burglarized
St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands – The Administrative Offices of the Department of Human Services, Head start Program was burglarized, and as a result several computers and other associated hardware were stolen. The Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD), was notified and has begun its’ investigation with the help of our federal partners. Commissioner Vivian Ebbesen-Fludd said, “I am disheartened that individuals would illegally enter this building and steal computers that facilitate the learning processes of the youngest in our community. The Head Start Program, as a whole, is vital to our ability to attract interested parents, as well as provide early childhood learning opportunities to 3-5 year old in our community. We however, are not deterred by this despicable act, and it will not disrupt our daily operations or program goals in any way.”
The Department of Human Services expresses full confidence in the VIPD’s ability to conduct a thorough investigation into this crime. “These computers and related hardware, along with the software and the information generated and stored in them are the properties of the local/federal government. As such, I am committing myself and my staff to fully comply and cooperate with the authorities’ investigation of this crime. I will also advise all of our government and business partners to include the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority (VIWMA), to notify the authorities of anyone attempting to sell or dispose of our computer equipment and associated hardware. The Department of Human services greatly appreciates the community’s assistance in bringing the perpetrators of this crime to justice, “Commissioner Ebbesen-Fludd concluded. “
May 5, 2016
DHS Commissioner Ebbesen-Fludd Hails Success of SNAP
St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands – The Department of Human Services, Division of Family Assistance is on a roll with notable improvements to its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps. In the past, the SNAP struggled along the way, seemingly without a compass to redirect its path from the edge of despair. As it pertains to federal guidelines, the SNAP was actually reporting poorly, and its dynamics were rooted in its negative error rates. This situation festered, and ultimately impacted SNAP’s performances and overall ranking regionally and nationally.
“I am absolutely proud of these accomplishments. The SNAP is vital to the wellbeing of children and families, and turning around this program is indeed a priority. The managers, supervisors and staff have demonstrated a solid understanding of the program’s goals, and a keen ability to cohesively maneuver the program back to a more secure footing”, Commissioner Vivian Ebbesen-Fludd emphasized. In prior years, the SNAP was stagnated, and the indicators suggested a strategy was necessary to restore the program’s viability.
The managers and staff collaborated on a corrective action plan that analyzed the prevalence of errors throughout the application process. The Front End captured the errors early and during the managerial evaluation. The Quality Control Unit pursued the negative error rates by closely examining cases that were denied or closed. Commissioner Ebessen-Fludd concluded, “ The numbers we see today are the imprints of hard work and our successes. In fiscal year 2015, the Virgin Islands ranked 41. As a result of significant improvement to number 3 in error rates, the SNAP program has leaped to 19 out of 53. It our hope and our endeavor to receive bonuses at the end of the fiscal year as we continue along this trend.”
May 3, 2016
The Department of Human Services Salutes Older American Month
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands – The Department of Human Services is proudly celebrating the month of May as Older American Month 2016: “Blaze a Trail”. The Division of Senior Citizens Affair have been planning and preparing for a month filled with activities. “I am honored, and have the distinction of recognizing the work and the worth of older Virgin Islanders throughout the territory. As a people we are culturally bond, socio-economically inspired, and generationally driven. Further, and as a matter of custom, we routinely pause to reflect on the efforts of those who have contributed to this community so as to shine a bright light to mark their paths,” Stated Commissioner Vivian I. Ebbesen-Fludd.
The month comprises activities on St. Croix and St. Thomas whose purpose is to engage older residents and seniors alike. All of the scheduled activities will showcase the department and in particular the Division of Senior Citizen’s Affairs and the services they provide to older individuals and the elderly. Commissioner Ebbesen-Fludd continued, “We pride ourselves by providing care and services for our seniors. We have rightfully highlighted activities beginning with church services on both islands; St. Thomas – Calvary Baptist Church on May 3rd, and St. Croix – Victorious Believers on May 4th. These services begin at 10:00a.m. The week concludes with our parade on Friday, May 6th on St. Thomas, and Saturday, May 7th on St. Croix. Both parades begins at 10:00a.m., and we encourage the community’s support. “
The Health Expo promises to be informative and will foster continued awareness regarding the health issues that affect Senior Citizens. On St. Croix the Health Expo will take place on May 13, 2016 at the David Canegata Multipurpose Recreation Center at 10:00am. The programs and services that will be available includes the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), Foster Grandparent Program, Nutrition Program, Senior Citizen’ Employment program, Adult Protective Services, and the Caregivers Program. Partner agencies involved are the Department of Health, Medicare, American Cancer Society, Family Assistance Program, Vision Center, Dr. Ian Cook, Podiatrist, La Paz Hospice Care, and others. The Health Expo on St. Thomas will be on May 19, 2016 at the Tutu Park Mall.
“We invite the entire Virgin Islands community to join us as we celebrate our Senior Citizens and “Blaze a Trail”. The Department of Human Services will continue its commitment to publicize every event to afford everyone an opportunity to participate and support our older Virgin Islands residents”, concluded Commissioner Ebbesen-Fludd.
May 3, 2016
DHS Receives Federal Grant Award for SNAP Employment and Training
St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands - Human Services Commissioner Vivian Ebbesen- Fludd announced today that the department recently received notice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Food and Nutrition Service that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly known as Food Stamps, is the recipient of an additional grant award in the amount of $425,000. The federal grant is in response to the department's successful application for the 100% additional funding from the Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. Commissioner Fludd explained, “We are well aware of the standards that are established by the federal government for states and territories as it pertains to SNAP. We also understand how these established measures drive our intended outcomes towards self- sufficiency for clients.”
Over the years, the department relaxed its approach regarding employment and training initiatives, hence it received significantly far less amount of federal funds. “These are the signs that we’ve awaited in our determination to expand services by stirring this pot to ensure that SNAP participants are given a hand up, not a hand out”, Commissioner Ebbesen-Fludd elaborated.
The Virgin Islands receives federal waivers for Able Bodied Adults as a result of its unemployment rates. “As the local economy strengthens however, our agenda will be tailored towards meeting the demands of the workforce. We will be reenergized to surpass standards and simultaneously enhance the employment and training component to ensure our participants are truly job ready”, concluded Ebbesen-Fludd. The department’s request highlights the expansion of services to over 800 participants. More than one half the amount of the grant award will be used for contractual services with community partners, and the remainder will be equally divided between systems improvement and marketing.
Human Services and Local Banks Fight Against Financial Abuse of
Senior Citizens and Dependent Adults
St. Thomas-The Department of Human Services Adult Protective Services (APS) program held today the first of several intended seminars with financial institutions, in an effort to make a collaborative stance against senior and dependent adult abuse.
Human Services APS management and social work staff explained the rise of financial exploitation of senior citizens and dependent adults. Detailed presentations on fiduciary abuse empowered attendees to take needed steps to report any suspicion of fiscal mismanagement by caregivers and family of seniors or dependent adults.
Financial representatives were advised to be aware of activities by seniors or dependent adults including 1) transferring large accounts or property to other family members, 2) applying for a loan without concrete reason(s), 3) withdrawing significant amounts of money from an account or 4) adding a seemingly eager caregiver/family member as a consignee to their account.
May is Senior and Dependent Adult Abuse Prevention Month. On Tuesday, May 19th APS will host Senior Citizens Information Day where trained legal counsel on senior affairs will be available for consultations. The event will take place at the TuTu Park mall from 10:30 through 2pm. A conference to form a coalition with key government, private, and non-profit agencies against senior and dependent abuse is also scheduled for June.
The APS investigates reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation of senior citizens aged 60 and over as well as incapacitated/dependent adults over 18 years of age who may have a myriad of physical and mental impairments.
Travel Bags for VI Foster Children from Novo Nordisk
St. Thomas-The Department of Human Services will receive 200 travel duffle bags for the Territory’s foster children from Denmark based healthcare company Novo Nordisk.
On Wednesday, March 11th at 10:30am Novo Nordisk International Diabetes Care Specialist Margaret Walton, will officially donate the duffle bags to administrators of the DHS Children and Families Unit at the Knud Hansen complex. The bags will be filled with pajamas, toiletries, school supplies, cameras and photo albums.
The relationship between DHS and Novo Nordisk began when Walton visited the VI in 2008 to make a presentation on Diabetes at the Schneider Regional Medical Center. Walton was referred to the DHS Children and Family Unit after expressing an interest in reaching out to children.
Novo Nordisk manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products specializing in Diabetes care and other related diseases. Information can be found at www.novonordisk.com.
The Department of Labor announces the availability of the State Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
Labor Commissioner Albert Bryan Jr. and Human Services Commissioner Chris Finch, wishes to inform the general public of the availability of the State Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) Plan for public review and comments.
The plan is currently available in hard copy at the Department of Labor One Stop Offices located at 53A, 54A&B Kronprindsens Gade in St. Thomas and #2203 Church Street Christiansted in St. Croix; at the Department of Human Services Offices located at Knud Hansen Complex, Bldg. A in St. Thomas and #3011 Golden Rock, Christiansted in St. Croix; the University of the Virgin Islands campuses and all Public Libraries throughout the Territory.
The Plan is also available electronically at www.vidol.gov