Cara Benson is one of those self direction program administrators who comes along and you say, “There aren't many like her. This program is so lucky to have her and I bet many don't even realize all she does". Cara is committed to ensuring that Minnesotans have access to self-directed services that make sense for their individual and unique lives. Cara refuses to accept that individuals cannot be trusted to manage their own programs. Cara strives to innovate to improve lives. She believes in the genius of the "and".
Cara designs a program that can be innovative, flexible, AND can have strong fiscal integrity. While Cara sees the big picture, she also knows that the devil is in the details. She knows that it doesn't matter how grand the idea if it cannot be implemented. Cara knows how to implement. Cara is a student of self direction. Sure, FMS might not be the most interesting part of self direction, but Cara knows that it's critical to her program's success, so she ensures that she understands how it works, where the "gotchyas" are, and how to navigate tough issues (like compliance with the Home Care Rule). Cara knows that participants are the heart of her program, but that without the FMS and Information & Assistance providers operating at top notch levels, the program breaks down. She knows she plays a major role in ensuring that these providers have the information and resources they need to serve individuals.
The State of Minnesota operates robust self direction programs well. They do this in large part thanks to Cara Benson.