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Spring 2004 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

New Beginnings! Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Division for Blind Services is Born!

By Terry Murphy, Commissioner, Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)

Key Words: News & Views, DARS, Division for Blind Services, agency consolidation.

Editors Note: As Terry Murphy wrote in previous editions of SEE/HEAR, the last few months have brought momentous changes to the agency previously known as the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (formerly known as Texas Commision for the Blind) (TCB). The merger of rehabilitation services, services for the blind, services for the deaf and hard of hearing, and early childhood intervention services into the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) has been accomplished. The TCB has been abolished, and has now become the Division for Blind Services. What has not changed is the dedication and commitment of Division staff members to provide top-quality services to Texans who are blind. Terry Murphy accepted the position of Commissioner of DARS, and we would like to share with you his welcome message to all DARS employees. Also included is additional information from the agency on Barbara J. Madrigal, the new Assistant Commissioner of the Division for Blind Services.

I have just accepted the position of Commissioner of the new Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS). This means that I will be counting on those of you who will be a part of this new department from this day forward to personally and professionally help make it the best it can be within the new integrated health and human services system.

The formation of DARS means that the service programs of four great agencies with proud histories and outstanding service records will soon become united as one. Many of us have spent most of our working years with these agencies. The important thing, however, is to remember that our combined purpose is still the same–to provide meaningful, effective, and life-altering services to Texans who require assistive and rehabilitative services to become or remain as independent as possible and to reach their potential. I know I can count on you to transfer your long-standing agency commitment to our new department.

Part of my new job is to lead the change from separate agencies to an integrated system that encourages creative thinking in the development of a world-class service delivery system to Texans with disabilities or delays in their development. This is something with which I am very familiar, so today is the first day that I’m challenging you to begin thinking outside your comfort zone — today you have the opportunity to become an active part of what DARS is meant to be. I’m also asking for your commitment to help create an environment within DARS in which it’s a pleasure to come to work each day. We can do this by choosing to bring to work every day a positive attitude focused on our mission and by respecting each other. Each of us has to be open to innovation and change to make this consolidation seamless and invisible to those folks who have depended on our individual agencies for so long.

I can promise you that I am going to do my best by working with all of you to create an atmosphere in which you are free to share your ideas. We are going to build a system for providing assistive and rehabilitative services second to none in the country with similar human service systems. You bring that legacy with you and I bring that experience with me to our new department. Therefore, I think we’re already in a mighty good position from which to start.”

On March 3, 2004, Mr. Murphy announced the selection of Barbara J. Madrigal as the Assistant Commissioner of the Division for Blind Services. Ms. Madrigal has served as the Deputy Director of Programs for the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (formerly known as Texas Commision for the Blind) for six years. Her depth of experience in providing services to individuals who are blind/multiply disabled is extensive, ranging from her start as a vocational rehabilitation teacher 25 years ago to her position as Deputy Director of Programs for TCB, which oversaw all field and central office program staff and the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center. Under her strong and enthusiastic leadership, the agency’s statewide confidence building activities have become the firm foundation of all consumer service programs. A strong believer and supporter of tapping employees’ full potential, she created and still leads the division’s many diversity initiatives.

Ms. Madrigal has a Bachelor’s degree in Education for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and Early Childhood Certification. She has Master’s degree in Human Services Administration. She has taught middle school deaf children with the San Antonio Independent School District, sociology at St. Edwards University in its migrant program and has worked with the American Red Cross in its services to military families division. Her many honors over the years include being selected as TCB’s Employee of the Year. She also received the State Agency Council’s Outstanding Women in State Government award for Outstanding Management.

When accepting the position, Ms. Madrigal stated that the new Division for Blind Services begins with a great, experienced staff and that she's looking forward to working within the new DARS structure to continue providing services second to none in the country to Texans who are blind. "Our staff is at the heart of effective services. Team building and involvement will remain a priority."

In addition to her family and friends, Barbara's interests include being an avid sports fan_especially her hometown San Antonio Spurs_and collecting Coca Cola and Fred Astaire memorabilia.

The process of consolidating these agencies is ongoing; we will continue to provide you updates regarding DARS and the Division for Blind Services. We welcome this opportunity to continue to bring you unsurpassed habilitation and rehabilitation services.


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Last Revision: September 1, 2010