Family Support & Advocacy

Family Support & AdvocacyTo make it known to others that something is important to them. People can advocate for themselves or for others.

The array of services for children with developmental challenges and ways to access them can be complicated, leaving many parents and family members wondering who to turn to for help. At times, families also find the need for someone to advocate on their behalf and/or teach parents how to advocate for themselves to get their needs met. To address this variety of issues, Abilities First offers Family Support & AdvocacyTo make it known to others that something is important to them. People can advocate for themselves or for others..

LifePlan CCO logo.

Care Coordination Liaison

Beginning in July of 2018, coordination of services under Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) such as Community HabilitationThe acquisition of certain skills required for a self-sufficient life. and RespiteA break from caregiving. is completed within state-authorized Care CoordinationA services that involves the creation of a Life Plan which guides a person’s total plan of services, and organizes goals for improved health and developmental outcomes. The Care Coordinator typically helps a person find the service that are right for her.... More Organizations (CCOs). These CCOs are owned and operated by corporations formed by groups of non-profit service providers like Abilities First.

This Care CoordinationA services that involves the creation of a Life Plan which guides a person’s total plan of services, and organizes goals for improved health and developmental outcomes. The Care Coordinator typically helps a person find the service that are right for her.... More system replaced what was known as Medicaid Service Coordination (MSC)The coordination of various services for IDD. Starting July 1, 2018 MSC will transition into Care Coordination offered LIFEPLan CCO and other Care Coordination Organizations. where service coordinators were employed by individual non-profits like Abilities First. While the goal of Care CoordinationA services that involves the creation of a Life Plan which guides a person’s total plan of services, and organizes goals for improved health and developmental outcomes. The Care Coordinator typically helps a person find the service that are right for her.... More is to enhance the quality of services people receive, at times families still do need someone to act as liaison between the family, service providers like Abilities First and the CCO. Abilities First has a dedicated Director of Family Support & AdvocacyTo make it known to others that something is important to them. People can advocate for themselves or for others. to perform this role when it is needed.

Abilities First has partnered with LIFEPlan CCOThe Care Coordination Organization associated with Abilities First and 23 other service providers across the Hudson Valley. As of July 1, 2018, LIFEPlan CCO provides Care Coordination to children and adults with IDD.... More NY to provide enhanced Health HomeThis is a specific kind of Care Coordination Organization used in NYS and other states across the country. It is not an actual home or physical place, but rather a way to deliver Care Coordination. Care Management Services. LIFEPlan CCOThe Care Coordination Organization associated with Abilities First and 23 other service providers across the Hudson Valley. As of July 1, 2018, LIFEPlan CCO provides Care Coordination to children and adults with IDD.... More NY will coordinate medical behavioral healthThis term generally refers to psychological well-being, or the absence of mental health symptoms., long-term services and support needs for our individuals.

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Educational Advocacy

When parents need help getting their child’s needs met in an educational setting, Abilities First offers Educational AdvocacyTo make it known to others that something is important to them. People can advocate for themselves or for others.. AdvocacyTo make it known to others that something is important to them. People can advocate for themselves or for others. can be in numerous forms such as providing information about Special EducationThe process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits. We believe all children and adults can benefit from quality education. Regulations and Laws, Guidance on Communication with Teachers, School Districts and Private Schools, and/or linkage to other advocacyTo make it known to others that something is important to them. People can advocate for themselves or for others. resources.

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Family Education & Training

Each year, Abilities First arranges a variety of educational seminars designed to provide information to parents and other family members. These seminars range in size and scope from small personal training opportunities to large community conferences.

Common topics include:

  • First Aid Basics
  • Self-Directed Services
  • Guardianship
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Helping Your Loved One Get Through the Holiday Season

The Family EducationThe process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits. We believe all children and adults can benefit from quality education. & Training Workshops are free and open to families of Abilities First.

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Self-Directed Services

Services received under the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)The state office that administers programs and services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including but not limited to Service Coordination/Care Coordination, Community Habilitation, Respite, Employment Services, Adult Day Services and Residential Services.... More such as Community HabilitationThe acquisition of certain skills required for a self-sufficient life. and RespiteA break from caregiving. can be Self-Directed. This means that the child’s parents or other family members can control various aspects of the services that would otherwise be coordinated by a provider organization such as Abilities First.

Under this model, families can select staff members to provide services, set schedules for services and activities, oversee budgets and compensation for staff. Self-DirectionWhen a person assumes decision making authority for himself. Such decisions can be related to employment, education, finances, where to live, what services to accept and many other things. is a desirable model for services that gives families and people receiving services maximum control.

For additional information about Abilities First Family Support & Advocacy Services see our Frequently Asked Questions or contact Gina Carminucci, Director of Community Initiatives, at (845) 485-9803 ext. 385.