Department of Health and Human Services of Nebraska
Match Code - 141625
Omaha State Office Building
1313 Farnam Street
Tessa Svoboda, Psy.D.
About the Division
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services-Developmental Disabilities Division (DHHS-DDD) provides funding and oversight for services for individuals with developmental disabilities throughout Nebraska. The division’s clinical team, comprised of Psychologists, Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), interns, and support staff, are responsible for evaluating eligibility for services through the division as well as assisting with behavioral and mental health services for individuals already receiving services through private community providers.
The Developmental Disabilities Division also operates the Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC), 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 located in Beatrice, NE and is divided into three individually licensed Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF) for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities 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.
In both the community and at BSDC, an Interdisciplinary Treatment Team approach is utilized to help increase the quality of services for the individual. For those at BSDC, this includes professionals from various disciplines working on campus (e.g., medicine, psychology, psychiatry, speech-language pathology, physical/occupational therapy, dietary, recreational therapy, vocational rehabilitation, and direct support staff. For those receiving services in the community, the teams can be more varied, depending on the individual’s specific needs and the community professionals’ availability.
Internship Training Model/Program Description
Interns with DHHS-DDD will participate in providing services both to individuals receiving supports in the community and at BSDC. For individuals at BSDC, interns will provide psychological evaluations and therapy. 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. Interns can also participate in assisting with functional behavior assessments and writing, training, and monitoring behavior support plans for individuals who reside on campus.
Interns will also participate in assessments and consultation for individuals being supported by providers in the community. While there is a limited possibility of occasionally working with adolescents, the majority of the individuals we work with are adults. These evaluations include adaptive assessments, intellectual assessments, diagnostic assessments, risk assessments, and court-ordered Developmental Disability Court-Ordered Custody Act assessments. Interns will also participate in behavior assessments, behavior consultation and training. Because DHHS-DDD provides services across the state of Nebraska, this will include occasional trips to different parts of the state to complete these assessments.
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, for example, 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.
Location and Travel
Travel is required throughout the internship year. Interns will be at BSDC in Beatrice at least one day per week and will participate in at least a couple week-long trips for assessments throughout the state. Interns will office out of the Omaha State Office Building (1313 Farnam Street, Omaha, NE).
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.
The DHHS interns will have a cubicle space in Omaha, with a desktop computer with intranet and internet access, a laptop with the ability to remote-access the desktop, and a cell phone.
Interns receive a stipend of approximately $18.00 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 with DHHS-DDD 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.
For those interns who are looking at also obtaining hours for BCBA certification, DHHS-DDD has BCBAs who have experience in supervision and can provide these services to interns at no charge. While interns may not be able to accumulate the full 1500 hours required for BCBA certification throughout the internship year, previous interns have been able to accumulate around 700-1000 fieldwork hours toward BCBA supervision.
Interns have the option to utilize state-owned vehicles for work or consortium related travel. During assessment trips, the state can cover the cost of the hotels and provides reimbursement for meals.
Employment will be contingent on satisfactory completion of a background check and drug test.
The DHHS-DDD clinical team is spread between Beatrice, Lincoln, and Omaha, and consists of 2 licensed psychologists, 2 psychology interns, 1 Board Certified Behavior Analyst Supervisor, 4 Board Certified Behavior Analysts, 4 Behavior Support Specialists (similar to a BCaBA), a Registered Nurse, and a staff assistant, all under the Clinical Services Administrator.
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.
Interviews and Open Houses will be conducted in December and January. They will be done virtually, and there may be an option for an in-person open house at some sites.