YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews;
#UYP19 Registration is OPEN!
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UYP19 Registration is LIVE!

  University of YOUTH POWER! is the premiere youth peer leadership conference modeled after a college experience. This conference provides Youth Peer Advocates and change agents the opportunity to build skills and expand their professional network. Young people ages 18 to 30 can register for this for-youth-by-youth social justice conference with a major of Peer Advocacy, Systems Advocacy or participate in the NEW Recovery Track with Youth Voices Matter. This conference will take place June 22-25 at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. 

Join us in amplifying the skills and professional networks of young leaders across the state!

Register as a Resident or Day Student: Resident students will be provided overnight accommodations in the apartment style dormitory as well as meals on campus and all classes/activities for $725. Young people may also register as a day student and receive all the same perks as students excluding the overnight lodging for $475.  Online registration fees may apply.

View all scholarship information at:

Fill out the scholarship application to the best of your ability. If you are downloading a scholarship application, please follow all directions on the application.

Email: -  Phone: 518-949-4338 
University of YOUTH POWER_ class of 2019_ The college of Saint Rose_ Albany_ NY June 22-25_ 2019.
NYISA Registration is LIVE!
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Do you have a developmental or intellectual disability?
Do you want to learn skills to improve your community?
Are you ready to be a self-advocate and help train other self-advocates like you?
YP! of FTNYS is partnering with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) to bring an exciting initiative; the New York Institute for Self-Advocacy. Funded by the New York Developmental Disability Planning Council (DDPC), t his free 4-day, 3-night event will train young adults with developmental disabilities to advocate for themselves and their peers.
Participants will learn a variety of skills including public speaking, media literacy, networking, budgeting, and much more. Graduates will move on to the Emerging Leaders Network, taking what they learned and training new self-advocates across New York State.

This year's institute takes place August 3-6, 2019 in Troy at the Hilton Garden Inn. Young adults (21+) are encouraged to apply. The deadline for this year's application is July 1st, 2019.

YP! and the New York Institute for Self-Advocacy want you! Are you ready to be a leader in the developmental disability community?

Questions? Contact Zack Kilmer, NYISA Coordinator, at or 518-708-3808.
All Hands on Deck! Sign the Letter Urging Passage of #HALTSolitary Confinement Ban, Rehab Alternatives!
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All Hands on Deck!
Sign on Letter Urging Passage of #HALTSolitary Confinement Ban, Rehab Alternatives!

For many years, self and system advocates for people with mental health challenges from across the nation have called on their states to end the torturous practice of solitary confinement for people with mental and other disabilities and to limit solitary confinements for everyone to 15 days at one time, as so many spend months to years at a time in the 'Box.'

At the current time, we're at a tipping point to see passage of a bill in New York State that could be the first in the nation to do just that, the HALT Solitary Confinement Law that has the votes to pass both houses.

On May 30, mental health advocates will be joining with key NY Senate leaders to hold a news conference citing all of the reasons why the use of solitary confinement must end for people with mental health challenges and replaced by the use of specialized rehabilitation units.  Sign up for the Mental Health Day of Action for #HALTsolitary
 Click here and join hundreds of supporters by signing the electronic version of the letter. 
Sign up for the YP! YPA Listserv!
Sign up for the YPA Listserv to stay up to date on all things pertaining to Youth Peer Advocates_ including_ upcoming trainings_ credentialing updates_ resources_ supervisor supports_ and professional development opportunities.
YOUTH POWER! of Families Together in NYS would like to invite you to sign up for the:

Sign up for the YPA Listserv to stay up to date on all things pertaining to Youth Peer Advocates, including: 
  • upcoming trainings
  • credentialing updates
  • resources
  • supervisor supports, and
  • professional development opportunities
May is Mental Health Month - Celebrating 70 years!
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Since 1949, Mental Health America and their affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. Mental Health America welcomes other organizations to join them in spreading the word that mental health is something everyone should care about by using the May is Mental Health Month toolkit materials and conducting awareness activities. 

In 2019 Mental Health America is expanding upon last year's theme of #4Mind4Body and taking it to the next level, as they are exploring the topics of animal companionship (including pets and support animals), spirituality, humor, work-life balance, and recreation and social connections as ways to boost mental health and general wellness.  While the topics above are relevant to all Americans, they may be especially important to the health of those living with chronic health conditions and the people who care for them. That's why we've put together these additional resources.

NYS Children's Medicaid System: A FREE Discussion with Children & Families

New York State (NYS) invites Children and Families who are:
- Getting children's Medicaid services for mental health or substance abuse; OR
- Are enrolled in the new Medicaid Children's Waiver * that started on April 1, 2019 
to in-person events about the Children's Medicaid System Transformation, including new Medicaid services and the move to Medicaid Managed Care.

NYS wants to make sure that Medicaid services work best for children and families. This means making sure that youth have access to all of the services they need, and that their health care services treat the whole person. It also means youth and families have a say in what services they want, where services are delivered, and how services are provided.

The NYS Department of Health and Offices of Mental Health (OMH), Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Children and Family Services (OCFS), and People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) have scheduled this meeting this summer for families to share thoughts, ask questions and get more information. 

REGISTER NOW for one of these events in your region below! 
For all locations r efreshments start at 4:30pm and the p resentation will begin at 5:30pm

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Tarrytown
455 South Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Kimmel Center for University Life
60 Washington Square South Rm 914, New York, NY 10012

Hilton Garden Inn Troy
235 Hoosick Street, Troy, NY 12180

Buffalo Marriott Niagara
1340 Millersport Highway, Amherst, NY 14221

Marriott Syracuse Downtown
100 East Onondaga Street, Syracuse, NY 13202

Follow Youth Voices Matter!
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Established in 2017 as an ancillary of Friends of Recovery-New York, Youth Voices Matter-NY is a Youth Recovery Community Organization (YRCO) made up of a collective of diverse youth and young adults in recovery, as well as members and allies from across the state. 

YVM-NY encourages multiple pathways to recovery and provides support to youth and young adults in finding and developing their personalized recovery process.  YVM-NY is sensible of the needs as well as the barriers to recovery that young people face on a daily-basis.

Four Core Values
1. Each community should decide on which areas of concern to address.
2. The power of reinvention has the capacity to restore the lives of individuals, families and communities. 
3. We are capable and should be allowed to represent ourselves as young people in all endeavors.
4. Resources, services, and supports
are crucial in promoting health and wellness in the process of achieving our full potential.


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New guidance and resources  are now available to help school districts implement policies and programs that promote Social Emotional Learning (SEL), State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced. These tools facilitate systemic whole school implementation and include district-developed resources aligning SEL competencies, academic standards, classroom activities and teaching practices.

"Social Emotional Learning tools are not just for our students; they help parents, teachers and children acquire the knowledge and skills they need to understand and manage their emotions," Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said.

"The impact of these Social Emotional Learning initiatives is truly being seen in our schools, where suspensions are down and students are being lifted up by educators who are working together to build positive school climates," Commissioner Elia said.

Recovery Fine Arts Festival needs YOUR Submissions
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Open to all Recovery Artists to submit one original form of art in the following five categories:
  • Poetry
  • Drawing (graphite, pen & ink, colored pencil)
  • Painting (oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor)
  • Photography
  • Mixed Media
Now accepting submissions to be received by August 15, 2019
Artwork will be on display at the Empire State Concourse from September 9th-20th.
For more information, please contact Debbie at

Raise the Age NY Update
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Note from FTNYS:   The report documents the extraordinary progress made so far: after six months of implementation, there are several positives signs that the new legislation is operating as intended. Moving forward, it is crucial to hear directly from families, young people and colleagues on the ground about their experiences navigating this new system.  Do you or someone you know have an experience to share? Please share your insights with us. Reach out to Brad Hansen at or call 518-432-0333 x28.

Raise The Age Six Months In: What has changed?

On October 2018, the Raise the Age law went into effect in the state of New York, marking the first of two phases of the reform. Implementation of any criminal justice law, especially one as sweeping as Raise the Age, is a complex process, requiring education and coordination across communities, courts and correctional facilities. Where do we stand, six months after its implementation?

Raise The Age NY has put together an  Implementation Brief   to help advocates, legislators, and family members understand where the law stands and where it's headed. Some highlights include:

  • For the first three months of implementation, 88% of felony-charged 16-year-olds had their cases transferred from the Youth Part of adult Criminal Court to Family Court.This is what the law was designed to do: have the vast majority of youth's cases proceed in the Family Court as opposed to adult Criminal Court.
  • In January 2019, it was reported that since the October 1 effective date, felony arrests for 16-year-olds had fallen more than 40% statewide. This is consistent with similar Raise the Age reforms across the country: raising the age of criminal responsibility has led to decreased recidivism and increased public safety.
  • On October 2017, Raise the Age NY created new sealing provisions that allow anyone convicted of a crime to apply to have their records sealed after 10 years from sentencing or release from incarceration. As of February 2019, 941 people of all ages had successfully petitioned a court to have a case sealed under the new law.

Some communities have used the early stages of Raise the Age implementation as an opportunity to examine how they've been serving justice-involved youth and families. Some local stakeholders are already reporting improvements for youth under the law:

  • In NYC, nearly 100 16- and 17-year-olds have been moved off of Rikers Island to the Horizon Juvenile Detention Center. There are no more youth under 18 detained on Rikers.
  • In Ulster, the county approved a new Restorative Justice and Community Empowerment Center to expand existing capacity to serve youth and their families with specialized, evidence-based programs specifically aimed at reducing recidivism.
  • In Albany, the Department of Probation expanded training for its juvenile staff, emphasizing diversion for youth through community-based services and supports, and its approach to victim engagement to support diversion. Nine out of ten teens are having their cases handled in Family Court without the need for petition to be filed.

In the second phase of Raise the Age, these protections will be extended to 17-year-olds in the state. To that end, the approved FY 2020 budget increases State funds for local implementation of Raise the Age law. This essential funding supports a continuum of services including prevention, diversion and a treatment to help keep youth in their communities as the law's application expands to include 17-year-olds later this year.

The full report, with more insights, quotes and statistics, can be read  here.  We will continue to monitor and report on the impacts and processes regarding Raise the Age implementation in New York.

NY launches Nation's FIRST Recovery Tax Credit for Employers who Hire Individuals in Recovery from Drug/Alcohol Addiction
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"New York is launching the nation's first-ever tax credit for employers who hire individuals in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction! 

Hoping to boost employment and reduce stigma, legislative leaders included a Recovery Tax Credit Program as part of the state budget this year, allocating $2 million a year for employers who hire individuals with a substance use disorder in their past.
"As the opioid epidemic continues to impact families and communities across the state, we remain committed to ensuring individuals who are in recovery have the support they need to lead healthy lives," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement. "This tax incentive will help remove the stigma surrounding addiction and ensure those battling this disease can create a stable and sustainable path to recovery."

Starting in 2020, eligible employers can receive up to $2,000 in tax credits for every eligible person they hire who has worked a minimum of 500 hours. Credits are available for both part- and full-time employees."

The views and opinions expressed in third party messages and external links included in this eNews are those of the organization or individual mentioned. They do not necessarily reflect the official positions of YOUTH POWER! and Families Together in NYS.
YOUTH POWER! is the youth-run division of Families Together in New York State. We are a network of young people who have been labeled and are seeking change.  Together, we have decided to speak up about our experiences because no one knows what it is like for us better than we do.  Through peer-to-peer mentoring, we empower young people to be active citizens who are aware of government operations, their rights and the ability to use their voices to influence policies, practices, regulations and laws.  We are young people helping other people, ensuring availability of self-help and peer support while changing systems so that young people get the support they need with the respect and dignity they deserve.  Nothing About Us Without Us!

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