This week, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the successful implementation of 988 in New York state. The new three-digit number is being launched nationwide on July 16 to directly connect people to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by call or text.
All 62 counties in New York State are covered by the new 988 Lifeline, which will ensure that anyone with a New York area code will be connected to one of the state's 988 crisis centers.
"For individuals in crisis, including those with developmental disabilities, having someone to call who will listen to their challenges and provide support can make a significant impact and difference in their life," said OPWDD Commissioner Kerri Neifeld. "The 988 suicide and crisis lifeline will help decrease disproportionate involvement of law enforcement so often experienced by this community and ensure that they are put in touch with someone who can help address their needs during a crisis."
House Committee Approves Appropriations Bills
On June 30, the House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (L-HHS-ED), and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) appropriations bills. These bills include overall increases of 13% and 12%, respectively. Many of The Arc’s priority programs received substantial increases.
The most significant increases were Office of Disability Employment Policy (45%), Lifespan Respite Care Act (75%), State Grants to Remove Barriers to Voting (47%), IDEA Personnel Preparation (163%), and Vocational Rehabilitation Demonstration and Training Programs (172%). A listing of these discretionary programs and their proposed percentages can be found here.
Additionally, the L-HHS-ED appropriations bill prohibits the Department of Education from funding any entity that uses electric shock devices as a form of aversive conditioning or discipline. If passed, the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC) will have to either cease use of electric shock devices or forgo federal education funding. This language was included in the House-passed L-HHS-ED appropriations bill last year but was not included in the final package.
OPWDD 5.07 Draft Strategic Plan Virtual Forums
This week, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) announced the addition of two virtual hearings on the 2023-2027 Draft Strategic Plan. Previously, forums were only scheduled to take place in-person. OPWDD invites all interested stakeholders who would like to provide feedback on the Draft Plan to participate in a virtual hearing if they are unable or prefer not to attend in-person forums. In-person forums are also coming up in Rochester and Buffalo. More information on all the forums can be found below.
July 18, 3:30-5:30 PM. View the forum flyer here.
July 19, 1-3 PM. View the forum flyer here.
Virtual Forum 1
August 15, 2-4 PM. Register to listen or speak here.
Virtual Forum 2
August 16, 6-8 PM. Register to listen or speak here.