Tomorrow marks the last day of one of our long term employees, Jeanne Baker.
Thirty four years ago she began her Barber National Institute (BNI) career as a behavior specialist in our Adult Services. However, Jeanne has worn many hats in her tenure. Many of her assignments were related to the initiation of new programs. She lead the development of our Intermediate care facility (ICF/MR) in Erie, a new residential program with lots of medical related requirements which were all new to all of us.
When the Secretary of Welfare (DPW) asked Dr. Gertrude Barber to provide ICF/MR services to Philadelphia, Dr. Barber called upon Jeanne to lead this charge. Jeanne was on the road to Philadelphia so much that she commented that she had to stop and think when she woke up, “What city am I in?”
The early 1990’s saw the development of Behavioral Health Services with Jeanne at the helm. This was the beginning of the tsunami of children with autism. We reviewed the research, acknowledged that Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) was the preferred treatment and began sending staff for training. The BNI became well known for its expertise in working with children on the spectrum.
Next was the development of the Pittsburgh Residential Services, again a request from DPW because of our expertise in working with families whose sons and daughters had been institutionalized. After a brief stint as the Director of Compliance (a position that Jeanne did not favor as she preferred working with the children and adults), she joined the Children and Youth Services as administrative director, where she has served the last 10 years.
As each of us looks back over our careers, and the persons who have worked so closely with our children, I am sure that most of you had a Jeanne Baker in your life. The name will be different but a similar person whose life was dedicated to seeing that all children and adults with disabilities had every opportunity to grow and develop to their fullest. Thank you Jeanne for sharing your life work with us and making dreams come true for our children and their families.