Legislature passes bill to ensure quality services remain available for the developmentally disabled

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(Albany, NY) – Developmentally disabled residents in New York State would continue to have access to quality services following the passage of legislation through both houses of the Legislature. The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Binghamton) passed the Assembly on June 17th. The Senate’s bill, sponsored by Senator Tom Libous (R-Binghamton), passed the following day. The state announced in 2013 that they would begin closing a number of state run facilities for the developmentally disabled.

The legislation would ensure that state services be provided for developmentally disabled individuals transitioning into community-based settings. If comparable services are not available in the individual’s area, the state would be required to continue to provide services for those individuals until a plan is developed to address their needs.

“This bill creates a safety net for the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Senator Libous. “We need to make sure that the proper care and services are available to individuals before they are moved out of institutions like the Broome Developmental Center and into the community. Families are facing enough challenges without having to worry if their loved ones will be adequately cared for.”

“Since the state has begun to close down its state run facilities, I have heard from people throughout the state who have expressed concerns about whether comparable services would be available in time,” said Assemblywoman Lupardo. “Given the speed of the transition, we are concerned whether these community-based settings will be able to provide the variety of care that’s required. This legislation will give a certain level of comfort to the individuals and their families that there will be no lapse in service.”

“CSEA has always maintained that effective treatment for the developmentally disabled should include an array of services that include both community and state run programs,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue. “However, OPWDD is intentionally eliminating state services, thereby restricting a client’s options for the services they can receive. CSEA has heard from parents throughout the State that their loved ones will not have the same access and quality of care that is currently offered. CSEA would like to thank Assemblywoman Lupardo and Senator Libous for their hard work on getting legislation passed that would compel OPWDD to show a true commitment to individuals with developmental disabilities.”

The bill will now go to Governor Cuomo for final approval.