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Part 4 – Series: One park down, more work to go

By Charlotte Smith

In 2018, the team committed to raising awareness on issues people with disabilities face in our county. A series was started in September 2018 to assist the platform for the disadvantaged, which, at times, are often over looked.

Two concerned citizens, Tocarra Osborne and Marie Smith, wrote a letter to the editor in July about the needs and concerns for the disabled and handicapped citizens. The two passionate ladies asked for “a completely fenced in playground… for runners”. The letter also stated “Occupational and ABA therapy (Applied Behavior Analysis) is also a need here in Bladen County.”

The  Bladen County Innovative Approaches Steering Committee and Bladen County Board of Commissioners assisted with the efforts by insuring a fence was installed around the county park on US Highway 701 South.

Charles Ray Peterson, Bladen County CommissionerCharles Ray Peterson, Bladen County Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, stated, “The Board and I will do everything we can within our power to assist this group with their efforts. I really appreciate what they are doing and want to help them on a personal level as well as help them as a Commissioner.”

The Bladen County Innovative Approaches Steering Committee met in November and discussed new goals for the upcoming new year. The goals are to have more support for special needs students in the local school system, to have more public parks fenced in and to have Adverse Childhood Experiences surveys collected to assess data and assist the area more appropriately.

Eastpointe MCO serves those with mental health, substance use, and intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). None of these communities chose the challenges with which they struggle. When contacted about the needs for the I/DD, Eastpointe representative Cheryl Harris said, “Bladen County is stronger when everyone—including families of special needs children—has access to the care they need, when they need it. That is Eastpointe’s mission. We use every means at our disposal to fulfill it for all of our members.”

The steering committee, commissioners and Eastpointe have plans to work together this year to increase services for Bladen County’s disabled. If you have behavioral health questions, complaints, or if you need to be connected to an I/DD Care Coordinator, please call Eastpointe at 1-800-913-6109.

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