Adult Services Frequently Asked Questions

Adult Day Services

What are eligibility requirements?

Candidates for Adult Day Services must be authorized for services by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and enrolled in the Home and Community Based Services Medicaid Waiver.

What are hours of operation?

Depending on individual need, the program is either half day or full day between the hours of 8:30 am and 3:30 pm.

Can someone attend part-time?

Yes, schedules for Adult Day Services are based on individual need. People can attend half days and/or less than 5 days per week.

Can someone work and also attend Adult Day Services?

Yes, having a job does not mean someone can’t attend Adult Day Services. However, a person cannot work and receive Adult Day Services at the same time.

Is there a cost for the program?

There is no cost for people who quality for the services.

Is lunch provided?

Lunch is not provided. Participants are responsible for bringing lunch.

Are clinical services provided?

Our programs do include some clinical services including nursing and behavioral support and intervention when needed.

Is transportation to and from Adult Day Services provided?


What are the staffing ratios?

Staffing ratios vary based on the needs of people in each Adult Day Services program. On average, we provide approximately one trained and qualified staff member for every three participants.

How often to participants in Adult Day Services get out into the community?

Participants in Community Based Day Services are out in the community daily and for large portions of the day. People who attend Neighborhood Centers also get out to the community frequently based on their needs and desires – some as often as 3 -4 times per week.

Employment Services

How much do Employment Services cost?

There is no cost to the consumer or their family. Services are paid for through ACCES-VR, OPWDD, OMH and school districts.

What is ACCES-VR?

Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities is the government agency that exists to assure that people with disabilities have the support, training and opportunities they need to work in jobs integrated within their communities.

What is the eligibility criteria for receiving ACCES-VR?

Eligibility is set by ACCES-VR, OPWDD, OMH, and school districts. In summary, eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • You must have a medically diagnosed physical (including visual or hearing impairment, or traumatic brain injury), developmental, or emotional/psychiatric disability; substance abuse, learning disability. your condition(s) creates significant impediments to your ability to work;
  • that there is a reasonable expectation that ACCES-VR services will enable you to work; and
  • ACCES-VR services are required to enable you to become employed.

Do you provide transportation?

Staff will assist consumers with their transportation needs related to their employment. Abilities First does not provide transportation for participants in the School to Work program. Generally, transportation is available through their school district.

Where does the Employment Services program operate?

Primarily in Dutchess County but also throughout the Mid Hudson Valley. Participants must reside in Dutchess County.

How much do Employment Services individuals get paid?

As with most employment situations, wages are set by the employer and, therefore, vary.

What is the staffing ratio?

In the Day Habilitation program the staffing ratio is 1 to 5; in the workshop it’s 1 to 20.

How many participants attend this program?

Typically 170 participants work on site each day.

Is transportation available?


Where do you provide services?

Currently, Arlington, Wappingers Falls, Rhinebeck, Poughkeepsie, Beacon, New Paltz, Red Hook, Hyde Park.

Do you provide transportation?

The student’s school district will typically provide transportation during school hours.

What does it cost?

There is no cost to the student to attend the program.

How do I hire a person with disabilities?

The hiring process is just like hiring any type of employee with the addition of government-funded supports to help both the employer and the employee have a successful experience.

Are there incentives for hiring persons with disabilities?

Yes. Employers receive a tax credit. Government funded on the job training and “work tryouts” whereby the employee’s salary is reimbursed to the employer for the first month, is also available.

What is my liability?

Employees must be covered under the employer’s employment insurance. Abilities First staff (job coaches) is covered under Abilities First’s employment insurance.

Does your agency provide on the job training?

Depending on the needs of the individual, IES will provide on the job training.

Who supervises the participants while at work?

Once the individual is established in their individual employment position, the employer is responsible for supervision and will have long-term supports as needed from IES. For our Enclaves (IES page), job coaches work directly supervise employees in the Enclave.

Do you provide transportation?

Generally, no. Employment Services staff will assist individuals with their transportation needs related to their employment.

What is the application process for a potential employer?

There is no application process. Please call for further information.

Residential Services & Housing

What is eligibility criteria for Residential & Housing?

Must be authorized for services under New York State Office for People with Developmental
Disabilities (OPWDD). For some residential services, people must also be enrolled in the
Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Waiver.

Do residents get to choose where and with whom they live?

Our goal is to provide residential and housing services that people want, including the location
and peers. We work with residential candidates and their families to find the best possible location and style of living to meet personal desires and needs.

Do residents have their own bedroom?

All of our group residences have single bedrooms which people are encouraged to decorate and personalize according to their interests.

Is there a waiting list?

Referrals for residential services come through the NYS OPWDD Front Door, which is a process
administered by the state to determine priority needs for residential placement. Anyone seeking Integrated Supportive Housing may contact Abilities First directly.

Where are residential and housing facilities located?

At present all of our residential and housing opportunities are located in Dutchess County,
including Poughkeepsie, Lagrange, Rhinebeck, Millbrook and East Fishkill.

Do you provide clinical services?

Our programs do include some clinical services including nursing and behavioral support and
intervention when needed. We also coordinate linkage to outside clinical resources in our
community, such as primary and specialty healthcare.

What kind of social and recreational opportunities are offered?

At Abilities First, we believe that a rich social life is essential to overall health and happiness.
We employ a person-driven services model that is unique to Abilities First. As part of this
model, we explore, document and match people in our programs on common interest. Then we
coordinate social opportunities that bring people together around common interests. Opportunities range widely from informal (e.g., card games, coffee clubs) to formal (holiday parties, picnics, sporting events). To ensure we get it right, we follow up with people after events and social opportunities to see how it went and how we can enhance next time.

Clinical & Behavioral Services

Who does this program serve?

This program is open to men and women, ages 18 and older, with a dual diagnosis of both an Intellectual or Developmental Disability AND a Substance Use Disorder.

What is the admission process?

Referrals are accepted from Medicaid Service Coordinators or other case managers, service providers, residential programs, Department of Corrections, hospitals and other treatment facilities. Family members can refer a loved one if they have access to the necessary documentation. Once a referral packet is received it is reviewed by the Multidisciplinary Team. If recommended by the Team, an appointment is scheduled for the admissions assessment. The prospective patient is seen by a substance abuse counselor and a nurse over the course of one to three sessions to determine whether the program will meet the patient’s needs. After reviewing the complete admissions assessment, the Multidisciplinary Team makes the admission decision.

Do you accept adolescents?

No. We accept adults ages 18 and older.

Do you provide transportation?

While we do not provide transportation directly, arrangements can be made for Medicaid transportation to and from the program.

What about lunch?

Patients should bring a bag lunch, and there is a refrigerator and microwave for warming up soup or leftovers, etc. In case of an emergency where a patient arrives without lunch, one will be provided for that day.

What types of insurance do you accept?

At this time we only accept straight Medicaid. We are in the process of negotiating contracts with several Managed Medicaid providers.

Do you accept patients without insurance?


What services do you offer?

The program consists of:

  • group and individual counseling,
  • educational groups,
  • socialization and recreational activities,
  • specialty groups such as art therapy, nursing educational groups, smoking cessation, life skills training and community-based activities,
  • one outside 12-Step meeting per week.

What are the clinic hours?

The clinic is open Monday through Saturday, and the program day runs from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Do I have to attend 6 days?

Patients typically attend four to six days per week to start, but each patient is an individual and the schedule will be determined at the time of admission.

How long is the program?

The program is two years long.

Is the program certified? By whom?

The clinic is certified by the NY State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) to provide outpatient rehabilitation services.

Can I smoke?

Patients may not smoke on the property or bring tobacco products into the clinic because of a law passed by the NY State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

Family Support and Advocacy

What is a Care Coordination Organization?

A Care Coordination Organization (also known as a CCO) is an organization/corporation that provides Care Coordination as its sole purpose. This service has taken the place of Medicaid Service Coordination (MSC) that was offered by individual non-profit service providers. Now Care Coordination can only be offered by a state-authorized CCO that is owned by groups, or coalitions, of individual non-profit service providers.

How is Care Coordination different from MSC?

There are two main differences between MSC and Care Coordination. First, MSC involved only the coordination of services for developmental disability, whereas Care Coordination also involves the coordination of medical and health services too. Second, MSCs were employees of non-profit service providers like Abilities First. Care Coordinators under the CCO model are employees of a CCO that also has a role in a Managed Care system.

What is LIFEPlan CCO?

Abilities First has partnered with LIFEPlan CCO NY to provide enhanced Health Home Care Management Services. LIFEPlan CCO NY will coordinate medical behavioral health, long-term services and support needs for our individuals. Additional information coming soon.

Since MSC has changed to Care Coordination who will advocate for my family member with a disability?

Care Coordinators are charged with the responsibility to coordinate services, supports and medical health services that are in your family member’s best interest for their health, growth and satisfaction. There may be other kinds of advocacy that you find are not part of the Care Coordination service. For this reason, Abilities First has chosen to retain professional Family Support and Advocacy services. For questions or help please contact Gina Carminucci at (845) 485-9803 x385.

Home and Community Services

What are the eligibility requirements for these services?

To receive Home and Community Services, children and adults must be authorized for services through the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). Some Home and Community Services also require enrollment in the Medicaid Waiver.

What kind of screening is conducted for employees?

For all staff members in these programs, we conduct personal and criminal background checks, as well as screening through the NYS Justice Center for Protection of People with Special Needs. We also evaluate driving history for safety and provide all staff members with extensive training prior to working with people in Home and Community Services.

Do you provide transportation?

When transportation is needed as part of Community Habilitation, we do provide it.

Transportation is not provided for other Home & Community Services.

Am I able to choose our schedule of services and workers?

We encourage people receiving services and their families to participate in selection of staff and arranging services schedules. In cases where people receiving services and their families are not interested, we will arrange for staffing and schedules with input.

Is there a cost for these services?

For people who qualify, there is no cost for these services.