Mission & History

Our Mission

Brain Injury Services helps children and adults with a brain injury build the skills and confidence they need to lead a fulfilling and productive life.

Our History

In the early 1980s, parents of adult survivors of acquired brain injury in Fairfax County, Virginia searched for local independent housing. With housing unavailable, the parents began raising money to provide housing and other services.

Years of grassroots fundraising and awareness work produced $18,000; a sizable amount of money but a drop in the bucket compared to what would be needed by a group of individuals with multiple disabilities. Their children also needed to benefit from a multitude of basic social services. The parents found that survivors of acquired brain injury were often referred for services to the mental health field.

In 1988, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors commissioned a study to determine what services were being delivered to residents whose disabilities directly resulted from an acquired brain injury. The study demonstrated that little to nothing was available specifically for the citizens of Fairfax County within that realm.

Brain Injury Services, then Head Injury Services Partnership, was founded in 1989 as a pilot program in Fairfax County by its Board of Supervisors to meet this need and became the first community-based agency in Virginia to specialize in serving individuals with an Acquired Brain Injury.

With the support of the Virginia General Assembly, through the passage of state budget amendments, BIS has been able to increase the scope and extent of our services to cover Northern Virginia and Fredericksburg.

In 1990, the Final Report of the Commission on the Coordination of the Delivery of Services to Facilitate the Self-Sufficiency and Support of Persons with Physical and Sensory Disabilities in the Commonwealth was issued. It is better known as the Beyer Commission Report, since the Commission was headed up by Lieutenant Governor Donald S. Beyer, Jr. The recommendations of the Commission were focused on creating a coordinated service delivery system which features consumer choice, state investment, and local involvement. A major outcome of this report was the development of a legislative Commission to address these issues and brain injury issues were a primary focus. Past Board Member and Delegate Alan Mayer played a significant role in all of this.

Since 1990, the unmet service needs of individuals with physical and sensory disabilities have been addressed by the Disability Commission, a legislative commission chaired by the Lieutenant Governor and staffed by the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities. The Commission provides a vehicle for advancing budget proposals and addressing policy issues within a vision for a service system that is coordinated, community-based and consumer-driven. It has been through the members of the Disability Commission’s support and many Virginia Legislators that BIS has been able to increase our funding for innovative services for persons with brain injuries through budget amendments. This Commission has also supported other legislation that has positively impacted on the lives of persons with brain injuries.

In January 2001, BIS received accreditation by CARF, The Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission, for its Medical Rehabilitation Case Management Programs. At that time, BIS was one of only three community-based brain injury programs in the nation to be certified in Medical Rehabilitation Case Management. The accreditation was renewed in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016. The accreditation in 2010 includes both clubhouse programs. CARF certification is an objective measure of a variety of fundamental assets organizations like ours should have-including such basics as having effective leadership, employee safety programs, and many other critical processes and resources. Our certification helps solidify our reputation as an accountable community resource.

Milestones

1988 - Completion of Head Injury Work Group Study-assigned by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

1989 - Brain Injury Services then Head Injury Services Partnership (HISP) established as a 501(c)(3). Brain Injury Services was the first community-based organization to serve survivors of brain injuries in Virginia

1991 - First Celebration of Spirit-Governor Allen attended the event

1992 - Formal Seminars developed to educate professionals on brain injury

1993-1994 – Expansion of Services and Programs
-Hired part-time Case Management Supervisor
-Hired part-time Case Manager and Outreach Coordinator
-Started a pilot project, supported living program, with Community Systems, Inc.

1995 - First Day Program created with Fairfax County Therapeutic Recreation-ADAPT

1996 - Hired a Director of Program Services and eight communities and states contacted BIS for expertise and knowledge in creating programs in their communities

1997 - Expansion of Services and Programs
-Funding received from Philip Graham Fund to hire a part-time Volunteer Coordinator
-1st BIS Case Management Conference held at College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia
-Formal name change from Head Injury Services Partnership to Brain Injury Services

1997 - Day program established in Leesburg (Community Connections). Later revised based on community feedback to Case Management Program rather than a day program so more individuals could be served in a rural area

1998 - Received $100,000 through Budget Bill Amendment for Coordinator of Life Skills training, full-time Volunteer Coordinator and Community Outreach Specialist

2000 – Received $35,000 from Budget Bill Amendment to serve more individuals at ADAPT and Leesburg Office

2001 - Received three-year Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative grant to establish a model Pediatric Brain Injury Case Management Program

2002 - Expansion of Services and Programs
-PALS Program developed and implemented
-Received $20,000 grant from Philip Graham Foundation for Pediatric Program

2002 - Fredericksburg State Grant ($100,000) acquired to establish Clubhouse Model in Fredericksburg, VA

2004 - Received $141,000 for Pediatric Program from State Budget Amendment. Also, added small male residential program-Montgomery House

2005 - Received increased State funding for Westwood Clubhouse ($21,500)

2006 - Received increased State funding for a Case Manager for Prince William, Fauquier, Culpeper Counties as well as new case management program in Fredericksburg and surrounding Counties. Received Grant from the FX County Community Funding Pool

2007 - Received three grants: Nursing Home Project (CNI Grant), Brain Injury Recovery Kit Program (RSIF), and Supported Volunteer Employment Program (Fairfax County Community Funding Pool). Budget amendment successfully passed at General Assembly for an increase in funds for cost of living (1st of its kind). BIS received just over $100,000

2008 – An additional Pediatric Case Manager is hired

2009 - 20th Anniversary-COMPASS Team provides guidance to BIS

2010 – BIS was honored with the 20 year “Years of Excellence Award” from the Civil Justice Foundation at the American Association for Justice in Vancouver, British Columbia

BIS completed their CARF Survey in December and received their highest level of accreditation for three more years. BIS also received several areas in the survey that were exemplary

BIS Staff presented a workshop, Young Adult Survivors of Brain Injury in Nursing Homes: A Model Project for Appropriate Care and Successful Outcomes at the International Brain Injury Association Eighth World Congress in March of 2010

2011 – Received two grants:  Neurobehavioral Program (Potomac Health Foundation) and support funds for the Neurobehavioral Program (United Way).  Hired new Director of Development

2012 – Received four grants:  Assistive Technology Program (Consolidated Community Funding Pool), Senior Specialist Program (Consolidated Community Funding Pool), Volunteer Program Services (Warren G. Stambaugh) and financial planning for seniors in Prince William County (United Way)

BIS completed their CARF Survey in November and received their highest level of accreditation for three more years.  BIS also received several areas in the survey that were exemplary and received a perfect rating for our programs and services

2013  Received 2nd year continuation grant from the Potomac Health Foundation for Neurobehavioral Program.

The Pediatric Program developed a Transition Toolkit to assist adolescent clients in their journey to adulthood.  

Jo Thompson and Brooke Annessa authored an article “Bridging the Gap:  Community Based Case Management for Child and Adolescent Survivors of Brain Injury.”  The article appeared in the March, 2013 issue of a case management journal [Case in Point]!

2014 – A new Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology (DART) program and Senior Specialist program was developed and implemented.

Successful implementation of the Supported Employment Program.

Partnership with Argosy University to execute a study evaluating the efficacy of survivors' stories on future competency for students in the field of brain injury.

2015 – Executive Director Karen Brown appointed panelist on a grant awarded to the Brain Injury Association of America and Mt. Sinai to fund a three-year investigation to develop Guidelines for the Rehabilitation and Disease Management of Adults with Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  First meeting was held in September of 2014 in Dallas, Texas.

2016 – Received a Potomac Health Foundation Grant to establish the CREST (Collaborative Rehabilitation to enhance Stroke Treatment) program in Prince William County

Created and filled a position to provide specialized counseling services to individuals with brain injury and co-morbidities.

Added New Case Management Position to expand ability to serve more clients and decrease wait time for services

Expanded adult case management services to the City of Winchester and Frederick, Clarke and Warren counties. 

Expanded pediatric case management services to Fredericksburg and Culpeper City, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Culpeper, Caroline and King George Counties. 

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