Hope Network in Grand Rapids has partnered with Madonna University in Livonia to open a Center for Autism on the university’s campus in the second quarter of 2020. The network hopes to decrease the wait list for autism services many families in the region experience and will offer applied behavior analysis services.
In addition, Hope has assumed the governance, charitable work, and employees of Homes of Opportunity, which has served the developmentally disabled in metro Detroit through housing, transportation, and employment services for more than 30 years.
“We’re very excited to further expand our presence in southeast Michigan with these two announcements,” says Phil Weaver, president and CEO of Hope. “These announcements signify our continued effort in taking a very holistic and integrated approach to treating behavioral health for residents throughout the entire state.”
The new center will offer 100 services to hundreds of individuals and families each year and will hire staff that will provide applied behavior analysis services such as behavior analysts and technicians, speech and occupational therapists, and social workers.
Hope plans to open multiple sites that provide services for families throughout southeast Michigan over the next several years. The number of sites will depend on evolving need.
The nonprofit opened its Grand Rapids Center for Autism in 2010. The new location will provide Hope with access to students and recent graduates, strengthening ties between autism services and education, research, and best practices.
“We are so pleased that Hope Network will be providing services out of our Performing Arts, Athletic, and Academic Center,” says Cam Cruickshank, executive vice president and COO at Madonna. “The work they do aligns perfectly with our Franciscan value of respect for the dignity of all people. Additionally, this partnership will be mutually beneficial for students in our Autism Spectrum Disorders master’s program for teachers.”
Hope’s Michelle O’Connor-Teklinski will serve as statewide director of autism services.
“Unfortunately, there are many families who have a son or daughter with autism in southeast Michigan who aren’t getting access to the services they need to help support their child,” she says. “Our team will take the same proven approach to supporting these families in this region as we have with our Center for Autism in Grand Rapids.”
Autism Spectrum Disorder affects 1 in 59 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Homes of Opportunity’s services will now be expanded through 58 locations in the tri-county area. Founders Larry and Christine Maniaci will continue to be involved in the mission. The organization’s entire staff of 180 will transition to the Hope team.
“The partnership with Homes of Opportunity is perfect because our organizations share the same goals and aspirations, but more importantly agree on the comprehensive approach we take to working with people who are battling developmental disabilities,” says Steve Ragan, executive vice president of Hope. “Homes of Opportunity has built up an unmatched reputation for the care of the developmentally disabled over three decades. We’re inheriting a great team and leadership, and together we’ll serve more families in more communities.”
Hope advocates for the 1 million people in Michigan who face physical, mental, or social barriers that impact the way they live. A majority of these people aren’t receiving appropriate care, according to Hope. More than 60 million people across the U.S. live with these barriers.
“We are the largest and most comprehensive health provider of mental health services in Michigan, and we’re taking every step we can to increase access to the population that needs it,” says Dr. Kiran Taylor, chief medical director for Hope. “While as a society, we understand more about behavioral health challenges than ever before, there’s still so much that needs to be done.”
Madonna University is a Catholic institution that has been open for more than 80 years. It offers programs at its main campus as well as in Gaylord and Macomb and online in China, Haiti, and the United Arab Emirates. Madonna has more than 100 undergraduate and 32 graduate degree programs, including a master’s degree in teaching with a specialty in autism spectrum disorders.