SCO Family of Services Holds 3rd Annual Taft Academy Conference

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Event Attracts over 300 Clinicians, Educators, and Direct Service Professionals

Glen Cove, NY (September 28, 2016) – SCO Family of Services, a provider of essential human services for over 100 years, hosted the third in a series of annual professional development conferences for staff working with children, youth, and adults with special needs and developmental disabilities.  This year’s free SCO Taft Academy Conference, held September 20 and 21 at The Inn at New Hyde Park, attracted over 300 social workers, clinicians, case managers, educators, direct support professionals and other staff from SCO’s programs across New York City and Long Island.  Due to its popularity and relevance to today’s industry needs, the event was expanded to include participants from human services organizations throughout the metro area.

SCO’s Executive Director Douglas O’Dell kicked off the event by thanking the attendees for providing “the right combination of support, guidance, and care that makes the difference between a life of hardship and a life of promise” for people with developmental disabilities and special needs.

Participants gained new insights to enrich their work and hone their skills during breakout sessions led by industry experts. Topics included Equine Therapy, Mindfulness, Piano Circle of Cognitive Gain, Positive Behavior Supports, and Human Relations Principles for Managers.  The keynote address was presented by award-winning author, Mark Scharenbroich, whose skillful story-telling demonstrated the significant correlation between an individual’s progress and the quality of the personal connections made with the staff who serve them. Assembly Member David Weprin, a strong advocate for the youth served at SCO’s Ottilie Residential Treatment Facility in Queens, addressed the members of audience with words of gratitude, encouragement, and praise.

SCO is grateful to the Taft Foundation and this year’s presenters and partners: Bonnie Perry, LMSW, and Sarah Jane-Casey, TRI, GallopNYC; Cory Muscara, MAPP, Long Island Center for Mindfulness; Lee Stockner, Occupational Octaves™; Jessica Daverin, BCBA, SCO Taft Academy; and Robert Ranieri, Dale Carnegie Training Long Island.

About the Taft Academy

The SCO Taft Academy is a unique professional development initiative for 700 staff from SCO Family of Services who work with children and youth with special needs at SCO’s five residential schools located in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens and Bronx counties. Through an array of staff development opportunities, the SCO Taft Academy advances high quality care for children and youth with developmental disabilities and behavioral challenges, helping them reach the greatest degree of self-sufficiency, family engagement, and community integration possible.

SCO’s Taft Academy enhances staff skills and performance through educational and professional development opportunities and establishes a culture of performance excellence through consistent practice and interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches. Building upon the expertise and experiences of staff at each campus, SCO’s Taft Academy provides a conduit to sharing and infusing best practices between each residential program and school, as well as among the five campuses. Principals, program directors, direct care workers, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, teachers and teachers’ aides participate in an innovative and collective approach to staff and leadership development and campus-improvement initiatives.

The Taft Academy utilizes classroom instruction, learning laboratories, online learning, mentorships; and tuition assistance to enrich skills and knowledge.  The SCO Taft Academy is made possible through a grant from The Taft Foundation.

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