“Since our volunteer advocates provide direct resident contact and support, OOIE has implemented criminal background checks as a valuable screening tool for potential volunteers,” said Deirdre Mraw, the OOIE statewide volunteer coordinator. “Criminal background checks help ensure that our volunteers are honest, safe and qualified. This adds another layer of protection as we advocate for this vulnerable population.”
After filling out an initial application and undergoing a preliminary interview with an OOIE regional volunteer coordinator, prospective volunteers are asked to fill out a form consenting to a criminal history background check and are directed to a company that takes fingerprints and submits them to the NJ State Police.
The results will be available from the State Police approximately 7-8 business days from the date of fingerprinting. Once the criminal history background check is completed, the volunteer will begin their formal 32 hours of training.
MORE MONEY FOLLOWS THE PERSON
At the quarterly volunteer advocate meetings in March, trainers from OOIE and the Office of Community Choice Options (DHSS) educated OOIE volunteers about their participation in an important federal initiative called Money Follows the Person (MFP). This MFP program provides enhanced federal money to participating states for every person it transitions from institutional setting to a home/community based setting. This process includes extensive counseling and assessment, a housing search, and assistance to acquire all of the medical and social resources the person needs to make a successful transition.
OOIE volunteers will play an important role in this project - identifying potential candidates for the program. Since the training, OOIE volunteers have identified several nursing facility residents who have expressed an interest in moving to a less restrictive environment. The volunteers work closely with social workers to make sure that these referrals are made and that the residents receive counseling about their options.
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CELEBRATE OLDER AMERICAN’S MONTH – VOLUNTEER!