On Jan. 1, Amy Blakeney stepped into her new role of assistant coordinator of Alabama’s Early Intervention System, a position long held by Kim Hill, who retired in December.
“Having been with ADRS for 15 years, and working with persons with disabilities throughout my entire career, I already have a love and a passion for what I do,” said Blakeney. “But this new role is a brand new challenge for me as I develop a better understanding of how the budget works.”
Blakeney first came to ADRS in 1996 as an Early Intervention district coordinator. After 3 1/2 years, she briefly left to work with the Montgomery Public Schools while also obtaining her master’s degree in education. Since returning to the department, she has been involved and worked closely with staff in EI’s 50 programs throughout the state.
“I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the department and in EI statewide,” Blakeney said. “I’ve left my mark on many different things, but I’ve never really had my hands in what Kim (Hill) did. With each passing day, I gain a little more insight as to how EI operates.”
Since assuming her new post, Blakeney has stayed busy. She just finished filing a federal application and is currently working on Medicaid paperwork, the State Systemic Improvement Plan, and annual performance report indicators. With several ongoing projects, some work never stops, she said.
“Early Intervention might be the most misunderstood division here at ADRS, because our many programs are housed externally,” Blakeney said. “With over 50 programs, there’s a lot to know and a lot to be responsible and held accountable for. EI may not be as big as other divisions, but we still have a huge responsibility to this state, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
Part of what makes EI special, Blakeney said, is the direct contact with families who may be unfamiliar with living with a disability. And she said she intends to maintain that direct contact because of what it means to the people we serve.
“Early Intervention is the best thing out there, because we are making a difference in families’ lives at the most-critical time of a child’s life,” she said.