2018 - Volume 2
Disability Rights New York (DRNY) is the Protection & Advocacy System and Client Assistance Program for persons with disabilities in New York State. DRNY advocates for the civil and legal rights for New Yorkers with disabilities.
The ACLEA Award of Professional Excellence Goes To…
Picture of DRNY Past Board Member Nancy Maurer, Esq. and Supervising Attorney Sim Goldman, Esq.
Congratulations to DRNY Past Board Member Nancy Maurer, Esq. and Supervising Attorney Sim Goldman, Esq., for editing the NYS Bar Association Publications’ Disability Law and Practice Series. 

The Series has been honored with the 2017 ACLEA’s “Award of Professional Excellence.” Contributing Authors included DRNY Legal Director Jennifer Monthie.
Michael’s Freedom To Choose!
Photo of Michael
Michael had been under an order of guardianship for 23 years. While under this guardianship order he was prevented from making decisions about where he lived or what medical care he needed. When he reached out to DRNY he had been living in a home that had just been condemned.
He had decided he no longer wanted to live with his guardians and wanted to make his own choices in life. In December, after a long challenging process to remove his guardians, a judge agreed that guardianship was neither necessary nor appropriate. At the age of 43, with the support of friends and professionals, Michael is making his own decisions. Congratulations Michael!
Cayuga Centers’ Residential Treatment Center Closing
Cayuga Relaxation Room
In October 2017, DRNY conducted a monitoring visit at Cayuga Centers’ residential treatment center that houses 17 children. We discovered that it was using “relaxation rooms” in the housing area. These rooms looked like solitary confinement cells found in adult correctional facilities. The cells had cinderblock walls with frosted glass windows placed high on one wall. Therefore, a child placed in the room would not be able to see out of the windows and natural light could not filter in. Further, the cell had a solid door with a small window that did not allow full viewing from the outside. 

Children in this facility placed in these rooms faced serious safety concerns. In addition to these safety concerns, the high number of restraint incidents reported at the facility was alarming. We told Cayuga Centers of our concerns and our intent to conduct a full investigation into the use of these rooms. In February, we learned that the facility will be closing.
Advocacy Expands Large Print 
Graphic for Large Print, #FixItNow
Thanks to our advocacy, the NYS Office of the Attorney General now has publications available in large print. You can access a publication list and request a document in large print by going to https://ag.ny.gov/intergov-affairs/publications

We also secured a future commitment, that all publications will be available in large print on the Attorney General’s website without the need to make a special request. We are continuing to work with the Governor’s office to ensure access to large print documents across State Agencies. 
New NYS Jail Rules on Segregated Confinement Are Lacking!
Graphic of Tim Clune Quote on Jail Regs
There are significant problems in New York’s proposed rules on “Inmate Confinement and Deprivation” in jails. They fail to address the needs of people with disabilities and the serious harm caused from putting people with severe mental illness in segregated confinement. 

Historically people with severe mental illness are disproportionately punished in jails with segregated confinement. Once segregated, their mental health deteriorates and they lose access to mental health treatment.

Our comments were meant to improve the proposal, but ultimately, New York must eliminate the use of segregated confinement for people with disabilities and provide critical mental health services.
Voter Accessibility Summit
Photo of EAC Voter Accessibility Summit
On January 10, staff from DRNY traveled to Washington D.C. to attend an all-day summit hosted by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. They heard about a range of issues that state and local election officials must tackle to ensure secure, accessible and efficient 2018 Federal Elections. 

"It was tremendous to watch leaders in the election and disability fields discuss the importance of voting accessibility," said Helen Charland, DRNY PAVA Advocate. 
Workshops Don’t Work –
People With Disabilities Deserve More
Graphic for Workshops Dont Work
Did you know that nearly 9,000 New Yorkers with disabilities are in sheltered workshops? Sheltered workshops are segregated settings where people with disabilities are paid sub-minimum wages. These settings are supposed to help prepare people for competitive employment. We have visited over 40 workshops and found that people in these settings are not given the support they need to find employment.

The states of Alaska, Maryland and New Hampshire have made it illegal to operate sheltered workshops. New York State had planned on closing all workshops by 2019. However, that date was pushed back to 2022. New York is now proposing new rules that do not benefit the employees. We objected to these proposed changes because they continue to erode the timely transition of New Yorkers out of sheltered workshops and into competitive employment.
21st Annual NYS Special Education Task Force Conference 
Logo for NYS Special Education Task Force
We are excited to invite everyone to the 21st Annual NYS Special Education Task Force Conference on April 17, 2018. 

Through the Special Education Task Force, we train parents, school personnel and other service providers together to reduce special education conflict and improve the educational outcomes and opportunities for students with disabilities.
For more information and to register online now:  http://bit.ly/2F2BoTL
My Voice Matters : Why Students Belong in IEP & CSE Meetings
Directing your own educational path is something that many students with disabilities are not given the opportunity to do. DRNY collaborated with the NYS Special Education Task Force to create a video about students who are self-directing their educational plans. 

The video follows real students as they decide who they are, who they want to be and what they need from their school to get there. 
PrideAbility Comes to Albany
Logo for PrideAbility
On March 26th we are excited to be co-hosting the PrideAbility meeting at Albany Law School. 

PrideAbility works to expand LGBTQIA advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To learn more or join the movement go to: https://www.facebook.com/prideability
Share Your Story
Graphic for Casting Call
We are looking for New Yorkers with disabilities who wish to share their personal experiences and concerns in our video series. 

If you or someone you know wishes to share their story, please send a brief description and a headshot to:  mystory@drny.org
Open Call For Artists
Call For Artists Graphic
We are looking for art to feature in our campaigns throughout 2018. This is an open call for all media (paintings, sketches, photos, videos, projection, or digital art).

Please submit your work to submissions@drny.org.
Empire State of Rights
Empire State of Rights Logo

We hope you enjoy the DRNY Newsletter, “Empire State of Rights”, with its new inclusive and thoughtful logo. 

DRNY represents people with all types of disabilities – both seen and unseen. This logo embodies not only who we are, but more importantly, those who we represent.
DRNY is supported by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration; U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration; and, the Social Security Administration. This Newsletter does not represent the views, positions or policies of, or the endorsements by, any of these federal agencies.