Department of Health and Human Services of Nebraska (DHHS)
Match Code - 141611
3000 Lincoln Street
Beatrice, Nebraska 68310
Tessa Svoboda, Psy.D.
About the Division
The Department of Health and Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Division includes Psychologists, Doctoral Psychology Interns, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, and behavior support specialists. This team provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities around the state of Nebraska. The team is split among three different locations, with offices in Lincoln, Omaha, and Beatrice. Interns will be working most often at Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC), an ICF-ID/DD in Beatrice, NE.
Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC) is a 24-hour state and federally funded residential treatment facility dedicated to the provision of specialized psychological, medical, and developmental supports to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. BSDC is divided into four individually licensed Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with ID/DD within the larger campus area. Although historically BSDC has provided services to individuals of all ages, the current population consists of young adults, adults, and geriatrics. Supports are provided in residential, vocational, and other community based settings. Residential treatment provides support to approximately 110 individuals with mild, moderate, severe, or profound intellectual disabilities, most of whom have coexisting conditions including serious mental illness, behavior disorders, physical disabilities, and severe medical impairments.
The large campus is similar in appearance to most small colleges and includes many buildings and structures nestled in mature trees and beautiful landscaping. Among the individuals' homes are also social activity centers, a salon, a gift shop, a gym, a swimming pool, a chapel, and two nature trails, along with other amenities. In addition to those, BSDC also houses a public health clinic and dental clinic which provide services to individuals on campus as well as to individuals with developmental disabilities in communities throughout the state.
An Interdisciplinary Treatment Team (IDT) approach is used at BSDC. Members from relevant disciplines work side-by-side, weekly, if not daily, to improve the quality of life for individuals across campus. Prior to treatment, professionals from various disciplines (e.g., medicine, psychology, education, psychiatry, speech/language pathology, physical/occupational therapy, dietary, recreational therapy, vocational rehabilitation, and home staff) complete evaluations in their area of expertise. These evaluations provide essential information necessary for the IDT to discuss, develop, and implement comprehensive treatment programs tailored to the needs of those who live at BSDC.
Intern Responsibilities At BSDC, interns will have a psychology caseload and a behavior caseload. The psychology caseload consists of providing evaluations and therapy for individuals. Note that some therapy experience is available, but limited, and very non-traditional. Most of the time, these sessions are either simple check-ins and/or focus on behavioral interventions. Types of assessments at BSDC include intelligence, adaptive, dementia, risk, and diagnostic clarification. The behavior caseload responsibilities include functional behavior assessments and writing, training, and monitoring the behavior support plans. Interns will participate in interdisciplinary teams for each individual on their caseload and provide consultation to help improve the quality of life for the individuals who reside at BSDC. Besides the caseloads at BSDC, interns will also participate in assessments and consultation for individuals being supported by providers in the community. These opportunities will be offered to interns as referrals come in, and as caseloads at BSDC allow. Evaluations in the community include adaptive assessments, intellectual assessments, diagnostic assessments, risk assessments, and court ordered Developmental Disability Court-Ordered Custody Act assessments. They can also include behavior assessments, behavioral consultation, and possibly training. Although interns are expected to do a little bit of everything, caseloads can be adjusted to help fit the intern’s goals. If an intern wishes to get more experience with behavior support plans, it is possible to either increase the number of individuals on the behavior caseload or assign individuals who tend to have more complicated and involved behavior support plans. If an intern is more interested in the community evaluations, their psychology and behavior caseloads at BSDC could be simplified.Research Research during internship at DHHS is optional. We strongly encourage interns to devote time to the completion and successful defense of their dissertation. As time permits, interns are also welcome to develop and submit a research project, provided the scope and questions coincide with the model and mission of DHHS. Benefits The DHHS interns share a large office at BSDC and each has an individual computer with intranet and internet access, as well as a cell phone. Interns receive a stipend of approximately $16.00 per hour for 40 hours per week. This figure is variable, as it is determined by the state legislature in determination of staff salaries. Internships at BSDC are for no less than 50 weeks (2000 clock hours). Although interns do not accumulate sick or vacation time and have no paid holidays, they are able to adjust their schedules for days off as arranged. Employment will be contingent on satisfactory completion of a background check and drug test. Past Interns Previous interns at DHHS have gone on to obtain positions in ICFs, public schools, private practice, community mental health, medical/hospital settings, and academic departments. Several interns have accepted positions with DHHS. Additionally, following completion of the doctoral internship, several interns have gone into postdoctoral fellowship programs as well as psychology staff positions in a variety of settings.