By Ryan Spoehr

Organizations that operate group homes have to follow state guidelines to keep their statuses, and some even federal standards. So, organizations, such as Brotoloc South, based in Whitewater, put one foot in front of the other and impose from within.

Brotoloc South’s Chris Cohen said that adhering to standards and regulations, self- and state-imposed, starts with staff on their first week on the job.

“Whenever new staff is hired, there is a one-week training period,” Cohen said. “It starts with standard precautions, fire safety, some common sense stuff and it goes on from there. There’s a long list of training requirements.”

Cohen said Brotoloc South has staff members comply with continuing education requirements, which managers monitor at all of its group homes, which are community-based residential facilities, commonly known as CBRFs.

There is an annual requirement to practice evacuations. At this time, smoke and other detectors are checked.

Brotoloc South group homes are five- to eight-bedroom facilities. Brotoloc South runs 17 facilities in three regions – one in the Whitewater area known as the Southern Lakes Region, one in the Milwaukee area (Southeast Region) and one in the Kenosha area (Lakeshores Region).

The group homes provide a living environment for people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, are developmentally disabled or have a mental illness.

“These are people who can’t live without some sort of 24/7 care,” Cohen said. “Our residents typically are younger than residents in facilities for the elderly.”

However, residents do have jobs outside the home. At facilities in Whitewater, some residents work at VIP Services in Elkhorn or Opportunities Inc. in Fort Atkinson, while some participate at Studio 84.

“Some might take classes as well,” Cohen said. “They may have aged out of foster care and are still finishing their high school diploma.”

For more on Brotoloc South, pick up the April 5 edition of the Whitewater Register.


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