Community Services for Every1

Archive for February, 2013

Community Services Programs Help Individuals Succeed

by Jennifer Lysiak, Lancaster Source Editor

A Great Overview from The Lancaster Source

The Lancaster Source / Metro  [ View Original Article ]
Tuesday February 5, 2013 | By:Jennifer Lysiak, Lancaster Editor | News

LANCASTER- Life is hard enough for people with developmental disabilities and their families and while people who have developmental disabilities face a more challenging future than most, they still can enjoy a full and active life. This is where Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled steps into the picture.

In 1989, CEO and Founder Mark R. Foley recognized there were gaps in services for people with developmental disabilities and wanted to offer programs that were tailored to the needs of an individual living out in the community to fill in those gaps.

Today, the non-profit organization serves on average 1,400 individuals in Erie and Niagara counties, who utilize one program or multiple programs offered through Community Services, said Kari Heigl, director of funding and development for Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled.

Heigl explained that everybody they serve has to be eligible for services through the Office of People with Developmentally Disabilities (OPWDD) and as part of their criteria an individual will have one of the six major developmental disabilities which are cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, seizure disorder, autism, neurological impairment, and familial dysatonomia. Also, OPWDD eligibility requires an individual to show prior to age 22 proof of disability such as school records or school psychological reports with IQ.

“We offer a wide range and a lot of unique services to children, adults, and seniors, anywhere, and at any age,” said Heigl. “We have 37 different residential settings, and other agencies do also, and several independent housing complexes, but we also have the only domestic violence shelter at least on the east coast that serves people with developmental disabilities and in some cases their family.”

Some of the programs individuals can receive include working with a service coordinator to help develop goals, address needs, and explore options through Person Centered Planning. Also, for the soon-to-be parent who may need assistance in their role as mom or dad is offered.

In addition, several site based day programs are offered to help improve an individual’s independent living skills including transitional programs for students, employment preparation, and programs for seniors and self-advocacy services.

A popular program called Respite Care provides parents a safe and positive place for their child to go for a short period of time so parents can take a little break. There are after school programs offered, Saturday programs, and overnight Respite, but an individual must be 18 or older to stay overnight.

“The general public really isn’t that familiar with all the wonderful programs we have,” commented Heigl.

Community Services has Western New York’s only DD Offender program to help individuals with developmental disabilities navigate the various stages of the criminal justice system. The program is recognized by the NYS Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives as an alternative to incarceration program.

“If they come into issues with the law it is very difficult for them to understand all the paperwork handed to them or what the court is telling them they are mandated to do,” said Heigl. “So, we have a court liaison that works directly with the probation department to help them get through the criminal justice system,” which is funded through a grant.

Hiegl added they are constantly adding programs based on people’s needs and some of the focus this year will be placed on housing needs.

“A lot of people we serve live alone in the community and the housing options aren’t great,” said Heigl. “They get taken advantage of by landlords or they live in poor conditions. So, our next target area is to develop more independent housing where we are purchasing apartments or duplexes for safe and affordable housing.”

Furthermore, a foundation called The Community Services Support Foundation was recently created in 2010 to help secure financial resources to support organizations, activities, and individuals that provide and improve services for individuals with developmental disabilities in Western New York. The foundation accepts and administers gifts, donations, bequests, and grants on behalf of Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled.

“I think one of the things I love about Community Services, and I have been here 10 years, but I have worked at almost six agencies in this field in Western New York, is we really look at the individual as to what they need and how to we can meet those needs,” remarked Heigl.

For more information about Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled visit or call 883-8888.

Developmentally Disabled Services Shift to Managed Care Model

by dstresing

The Buffalo News  [ View Original Article ]

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s mantra to rein in New York State spending means the squeeze on nonprofit human services agencies is only expected to get tighter.

Providers of services for the developmentally disabled, in particular, are facing a new way of doing business with the state, which will likely force some agencies to relinquish programs, resulting in other nonprofits growing to provide the services.


The state is following the lead of others in moving toward a managed care system for the developmentally disabled in which a regional HMO-style organization would manage residential needs, medical care and other services.

Instead of paying individual agencies directly on a contract basis – the norm in New York for at least the past 30 years – the state plans to work through entities called Developmental Disabilities Individual Support and Care Coordination Organizations, also known as DISCOs, in dispensing hundreds of millions dollars statewide.

“They’re talking about running all of the money and all of the processes through this entity,” said James M. Boles, chief executive officer of People Inc., the area’s largest provider of services to the developmentally disabled. “The entity would basically contract with the state.”

The state and federal governments expect to achieve some measure of Medicaid savings, or at least a slowdown in cost increases, through the new model, which will combine the delivery of health care with other services for individuals with developmental disabilities, Boles said.

Significant waiting lists for many programs, including specialized housing, already exist, causing advocates for the developmentally disabled to express concern that the new direction will exacerbate delays for needed services.

The National Council on Disability, for example, found in a recent analysis of managed-care programs for people with disabilities that many state proposals “place too little attention on the outcomes being sought for people receiving services, such as a better quality of life, control over their services and supports, full participation in community life, protection of individual rights, employment options for working age adults, etc.”

Several agencies in Western New York already are working together to implement the state’s plan, with an eye toward ensuring that clients see no disruption or drop-off in services.

The collaborative known as Person Centered Services of Western New York will apply in March to receive designation as a DISCO for a 17-county region that stretches from Buffalo to the Finger Lakes and includes about 160 nonprofit agencies that provide disability services for more than 15,000 people.

The collaborative currently consists of seven agencies: People Inc.; Lifetime Assistance in Rochester; Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled; Heritage Christian Services in Rochester; Aspire of WNY; Cantalician Center for Learning and Pathway’s Inc. in Corning.

Boles is serving as chairman of the board of Person Centered Services of Western New York, which hopes to become a pilot DISCO for the state.

“More than anything, it will be the entity that will purchase services for people with developmental disabilities from anybody who provides any Medicaid funded service,” said Mark R. Foley, president and chief executive officer of Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled.

The DISCO application is an opportunity for area service providers to have a strong voice in dealing with inevitable changes, including the setting of rates of reimbursement to agencies, Foley said.

Pressure to spend less is “a political reality, and it’s a real-world reality that we need to face,” said Foley, who is secretary for the board of Person Centered Services of WNY. “It’s something we’re all going to face, so let’s be thoughtful about it.”

Agencies increasingly will need to integrate sound business practices into their service delivery, he said.

Earlier this month, People Inc. took over the developmental disabilities unit of DePaul Community Services in Rochester, which includes three group homes, a day habilitation program, a respite program and several community-based, individual support programs.

DePaul, which still provides affordable housing, senior living and mental health and addiction prevention programs, including some services in Western New York, decided that the programs for the developmentally disabled no longer fit with the agency’s core mission, Boles said.

As a result, People Inc. is growing this year by about 300 employees, 400 clients and $5 million.

Foley expects those kinds of changes to continue as agencies respond to reduced rates of reimbursement and seek more efficient ways of operating.

“We will eventually see mergers. We will see consolidations,” he said. “Some of the stronger, larger organizations will grow because of that.”

Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled is preparing for the move to managed care by re-examining staff.