After more than two decades of work at public child-welfare and disabilities agencies, Marla Battiste has read through thousands of service plans, reports and reviews. And she’s still eager to pore over each and every one she receives.
“I’ve always been very detail-oriented,” said Battiste, the new manager of provider support and review at the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
Good documentation is often key to ensuring both high-quality support for people with developmental disabilities and compliance by the service provider, she said. “Unfortunately, providers often come looking for help when something’s gone wrong. We want to make sure providers know about compliance before then.”
Her new job title reflects that approach. Larry Macintosh, director of administrative and support services, recently changed it from “manager of provider compliance” to emphasize proactive support, assistance and reviews.
“Through her background and experience, Marla brings a lot of wisdom and maturity,” he said. “I wanted her job to be helping providers get better, not just policing for problems.”
Battiste joined FCBDD in mid-January after moving to central Ohio from Cleveland, where she spent the last several years overseeing quality review at the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities. She replaces Tracey Crawford, who retired last fall.
Battiste said she enjoys being in a leadership role and helping to ensure that plans and services match the needs of the person served. “Seeing people leading happy and inclusive lives is so rewarding,” she said. “It’s been pretty amazing to see all the improvements over the years — and that’s due to the advocates themselves.”
She and her husband always enjoyed previous visits to Columbus and now are taking time to explore the city, its neighborhoods and restaurants before deciding on buying a home. “He loves it here,” Battiste said with a smile. “He just misses the professional sports teams — the Guardians, Cavs and Browns.”