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Recognition honors professionals exemplifying workforce that empowers community inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Hampton Falls, NH –ANCOR, the leading voice in Washington for community-based disability services providers, has announced that Keaton Pease, a direct support professional at LifeConnections Specialized Support Services has been named the recipient of the 2024 New Hampshire DSP of the Year award. Pease joins 54 other honorees in the 2024 edition of ANCOR’s annual Direct Support Professional of the Year Awards program. This year’s awards garnered a record-breaking 492 nominations.

“It’s hard to put into words how proud LifeConnections is of Keaton. We are thrilled to celebrate his award, but more importantly, we recognize that his dedication is powering true community inclusion for the people we support” said Jennifer Cordaro, Executive Director “We cannot think of anyone who more clearly demonstrates the transformative power of community-based supports, and we’re so grateful that ANCOR has recognized Keaton with this national honor.”


Since 2007, ANCOR’s annual DSP of the Year awards recognize outstanding direct support professionals (DSPs) who deliver long-term services and supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The awards celebrate the important role DSPs play in ensuring people with I/DD have what they need to thrive and be included in the community. These awards also seek to raise awareness about a direct support workforce in crisis. Inadequate investments in this essential workforce have led to a decades-long severe shortage of DSPs, which has only been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and has accelerated into a crisis that threatens access to critically needed services.


“Each year, we are seeing more nominations, and more compelling nominations, for ANCOR’s DSP of the Year Awards,” said Diane Beastrom, president of ANCOR’s Board of Directors and vice president of transition for Ohio-based I Am Boundless. “But Keaton’s nomination just blew us away. I cannot think of a more deserving professional to honor, as they truly exemplify what it means to see, appreciate and value the people we are fortunate enough to support.”


Barbara Merrill, chief executive officer for ANCOR, added: “DSPs really and truly do it all, and it’s no exaggeration to say that this year’s of class of honorees deliver transformative and sometimes life-saving supports to the people who accept their services. People like Keaton all 55 of the 2024 honorees are perfect reminders of why ANCOR works tirelessly to advocate on behalf of the direct support workforce and the incredible work our DSPs do to support people in community.”

The awards ceremony where Keaton and the other 2024 honorees to be recognized will take place in Santa Fe, N.M., on Wednesday, April 10 at 8:30 am MDT during ANCOR Connect ’24, the association’s annual conference. Members of the press interested in attending the awards presentation should contact Sean Luechtefeld, ANCOR’s vice president for membership and communications, at sluechtefeld@ancor.org or 571.207.9108.


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About ANCOR

For more than 50 years, the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ancor.org) has been a leading advocate for the critical role service providers play in enriching the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). As a national nonprofit trade association, ANCOR exists to advance the ability of its nearly 2,500 member organizations to support people with I/DD to fully participate in their communities.


About LifeConnections Specialized Support Services

From the Florida beaches to the mountains of Maine, LifeConnections provides a wide range of specialized support services to people of all ages and abilities. LifeConnections is a subsidiary of Becket Academy, Inc (www.lifeconnectionsusa.org) and is known for creating individualized service options for people with complex behavioral health and/or medical needs who may be at risk of moving out of state or to higher levels of care.

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Updated: Jan 22

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Autumn Allen, MS

June 22, 2022 Director of Marketing

Autumn.allen@lifeconnectionsusa.org


(June 22, 2022) Becket Academy, Inc d/b/a LifeConnections Specialized Support Services has reached an agreement to acquire Dade Family Counseling Community Mental Health Center in Florida. Dade Family Counseling CMHC was founded in 2003 and is accredited by The Joint Commission with the purpose of providing quality behavioral health services to the community of South Florida.


Dade Family Counseling CMHC will be led by Jay Wolter, President and Jennifer Cordaro, Chief Executive Officer of LifeConnections Specialized Support Services. The operations of Dade Family Counseling will be merged into LifeConnections once appropriate state licenses and stakeholder consents have been obtained. LifeConnections is committed to ensuring the continuity of care for individuals currently served by Dade and has agreed to retain Dade’s independent contractors and employees as well as Dade’s management team. Aracelis Mosquera, LCSW has been named Executive Director of Dade Family Counseling once the transition occurs.


“I believe that LifeConnections can grow Dade Family Counseling into a premier mental health agency reaching more lives while providing the infrastructure that is needed in order to remain viable” says Maria Fields, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Dade.


“Dade Family Counseling is a reputable behavioral health provider in South Florida. Through this partnership, LifeConnections and Dade Family Counseling will be able to fill gaps in the system of care by providing much needed services to youth and adults such as Targeted Case Management, Outpatient Therapy, Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Medication Management” says Jennifer Cordaro, Chief Executive Officer.


LifeConnections looks forward to growing together with Dade Family Counseling to implement its mission to create opportunities for individuals to live better lives through inspired professionals who are supported and trusted to be a compassionate and creative team.



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Updated: Jan 22

LifeConnections Specialized Support Services has achieved national accreditation through the New York-based Council on Accreditation (COA). LifeConnections provides the following services: behavioral health, day services, deaf services, foster care, group living, shared living and supported employment. Organizations pursue accreditation to demonstrate the implementation of best practice standards in the field of human services. COA evaluated all aspects of LifeConnections’ programs, services, management, and administration.


COA accreditation is an objective, independent, and reliable validation of an agency’s performance. The COA accreditation process involves a detailed review and analysis of an organization’s administration, management, and service delivery functions against international standards of best practice. The standards driving accreditation ensure that services are well-coordinated, culturally competent, evidence-based, outcomes-oriented, and provided by a skilled and supported workforce. COA accreditation demonstrates accountability in the management of resources, sets standardized best practice thresholds for service and administration, and increases organizational capacity and accountability by creating a framework for ongoing quality improvement.


To achieve COA accreditation, LifeConnections first provided written evidence of compliance with the COA standards. Thereafter, a group of specially trained volunteer Peer Reviewers confirmed adherence to these standards during a series of on-site interviews with trustees, staff and clients.

Based on their findings, COA’s volunteer-based Accreditation Commission voted that LifeConnections had successfully met the criteria for accreditation. An endorsement of COA and the value of its accreditation process is reflected in it being named by the US State Department as the sole national independent accrediting body under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption to accredit intercountry adoption service providers. In addition, COA is the only national accreditor designated by the U.S. Department of Defense to develop accreditation standards and processes for human service programs provided to military personnel and their families.


Founded in 1977, COA is an independent, not-for-profit accreditor of the full continuum of community-based behavioral health care and social service organizations in the United States and Canada. Over 2,000 organizations — voluntary, public, and proprietary; local and statewide; large and small — have either successfully achieved COA accreditation or are currently engaged in the process. Presently, COA has a total of 47 service standards that are applicable to over 125 different types of programs. To learn more about COA, please visit www.coanet.org.


For more information, please follow us on social media platforms Facebook and LinkedIn: LifeConnections Specialized Support Services page.



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