Northern California Counties Prepare Workforce for State-Mandated ADRC Status with CADER Certificate Program

ADRC Certificate

Reputation, format, price:  the five-course Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) certificate program offered by The Center for Aging & Disability Research & Education (CADER) at BUSSW checked all the boxes for Britt Bassoni, Director of Programs and Special Projects at Seniors Council and Area Agency on Aging (AAAs) of Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties in California. 

“There’s a big push in California right now to expand ADRCs,” Bassoni explains. “The Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) initiative began as a collaborative effort between the State of California, the federal Administration for Community Living (ACL), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Veterans Administration (VA). California’s ADRCs are led by a core partnership between Independent Living Centers (ILC) and Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), and include a wide array of extended partner organizations. The state is encouraging all the AAAs to get trained in person-centered planning and interviewing practices. I looked locally and didn’t really find anything that fit our needs. And because we’re so spread out—we have more than a dozen core and extended partners—I knew it was going to be next to impossible to get everyone in the same room to train on one schedule. We were going to need remote training.” 

When Bassoni did a web search for “person-centered training,” CADER at the BU School of Social Work was the top choice. “I know that the BU School of Social Work has a really good reputation. I didn’t know much about CADER at the time, but when I reached out, the staff was extremely responsive. They were quickly able to provide an estimate for the number of learners seats that we needed, which made it simple and easy.” 

The cost was less than $300 per learner for their group training, which impressed Bassoni as reasonable for 22 credits. “The State of California has and is currently making available ADRC Infrastructure Development Grants to develop local ADRC programs and train core staff and partners in key principles, practices, and core services offerings; person-centered options counseling is one of these core services. And even without this funding, we probably would have found a way to pay for it because we saw how important this training was.” 

They worked with partner organizations throughout San Benito County to secure the group rate as well as to connect professionals from different backgrounds. Bassoni says it was a big plus that learners were able to complete the training at their own pace and on their own schedule. “Some people, like myself, got out of the gate really quickly,” he notes. “But even for those who went at a slower pace, the benefit was that we were all doing it simultaneously. So while we may not have all been on the same page, we were all reading the same book. And that help us develop a common language around what we are doing.” 

With the training complete, Bassoni says that staff and partners were able to immediately apply their new skills in person-centered planning and interviewing. He would highly recommend the ADRC certificate to others who are also in need of person-centered training, whether for aging or disability organizations. “This certificate program could benefit you if you are a very small organization just trying to understand the concepts or a much larger organization looking for a systems change. The CADER ADRC certificate is scaled in such a way that you can apply pieces of the model. And I really do think remote learning is the way to go.” 

Bassoni notes that the experience with the ADRC certificate program was so positive, “we’re going back to CADER for the Care Transitions course, another core component to further the mission of ADRC.” 

You can find the ADRC certificate, Care Transitions course and other CADER offerings in our Learning Catalog on The Network for Professional Education website