Affiliate Update 2016

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6-23-16 CP News

6/23/2016 10:20:00 AM

Click HERE to view the 6/23/16 CP News on the web.


Volume #22 – Issue #6


Nearly 200 people from agencies that serve and support people with disabilities joined members of the New York State Legislature at the State Capitol in Albany on June 8, to call on the Governor and the Legislature to include funding in the state budget to increase wages for staff who provide services at these agencies.

Organizations that support individuals who have developmental disabilities have seen just one rate increase since 2008 and now face as much as a 67% increase in the mandated minimum wage. More than 90% of their funding comes from government, and 80% of that goes directly to wages.

The #bFair2DirectCare Coalition has launched its “300 Days to Better Pay” Campaign, which says that the State needs to address this issue before the next state budget is adopted.

Our thousands of frontline staff – direct support professionals, teachers, teachers’ aides, drivers, cooks, and other direct care workers – provide hands-on services to more than 100,000 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities.

“The State must take care of those who cannot care for themselves,” said Senator Robert Ortt at the Capitol news conference. “We can and must invest in our direct support professionals,” said Mary Ann Allen, a parent and Executive Director of Wildwood Programs. “Without them, the meaningful supports and services this state has built over the last 30 years for people with disabilities will absolutely collapse.”

Al Shibley

Former Assemblymember Harvey Weisenberg (left), Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (2nd from right) and NYS Senator David Carlucci listen as Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara speaks during the news conference


More than 100 individuals with disabilities, children, staff, and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, gathered at Upstate Cerebral Palsy on June 22 as part of the #bFair2DirectCare Coalition’s “300 Days to Better Pay” Campaign, which calls on the Governor and State Legislature to address critical need for adequate funding in the next state budget to avoid a crisis. “New York needs to do a better job of investing in the dedicated and caring staff members that support people with disabilities,” said Susan Constantino, President & CEO of CP of NYS. “We require a great deal of them. We entrust them with the safety and well-being of individuals who we support. They do so much more than the minimum and deserve to be fairly compensated. New York State must step up and provide the needed resources to pay these workers a fair wage.”

Louis Tehan, President and CEO of Upstate Cerebral Palsy, who moderated the event and introduced the speakers said, “The work that our Direct Support staff do on a daily basis is phenomenal and well beyond that of minimum wage positions.  They are dedicated, hardworking and responsible for caring for our individuals’ lives, many of whom cannot speak or care for themselves.  Our Direct Support staff deserve pay commensurate with their job responsibilities, which are crucial to the health and well-being of hundreds of children and adults, and thus should be adequately funded.”  

Speakers at the Utica event included Donna Goss, who is a Residence Manager at Upstate Cerebral Palsy, and Kelsie Bongiorno, Residence Counselor, Upstate CP.  Kelsie said “This isn't just a job to the employees at Upstate Cerebral Palsy, this is their second home, and the people we support become our family.”  Assemblyman Brindisi (D-Oneida County) said, “Family members of people with developmental disabilities often tell me how important direct care workers are to their loved ones.  I have made it a priority to work with my colleagues in the State Legislature to help the agencies that care for the developmentally disabled to have the resources they need to fairly compensate their employees, who perform such important work on a daily basis.” Senator Joseph Griffo (R-Oneida County), who was out of town, sent a representative to the event who said, “We appreciate all of the outstanding services these organizations provide on behalf of people with developmental disabilities, and the hard work of their staff members should never be taken for granted. We recognize, and agree, that funding is an issue that needs to be addressed and resolved in a way that is mutually beneficial to the employees, the agencies and the state.”   

Al Shibley

Louis Tehan, President & CEO of Upstate Cerebral Palsy (left), along with Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi

CP of NYS has been working with other organizations to highlight the dire need for additional funding in the NYS Budget that will allow organizations providing supports and services for people with disabilities to pay Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), residential and day staff, teachers’ aides and all those who support individuals with disabilities, a salary that matches their responsibilities and contributions.  

In June and July we are conducting a series of media events throughout the state to make New Yorkers aware of the critical need for more funding. We need your help in getting out the message. We are asking you to invite DSPs, people with disabilities, families, other staff, and volunteers from your organization to join us at these media events and stand together.  If there is not a planned event in your region, you are still invited to send people who may wish to participate to any of these events. We ask that you let Barbara Crosier at [email protected] or Al Shibley at [email protected], in the Affiliate Services Office, know if you will have people attending any of the events.

The first media event took place on Wednesday, June 8 in Albany; the second event was held June 22 at Upstate Cerebral Palsy in Utica – see related stories.

Additional media events have been scheduled at the following sites:

  • MINEOLA – Friday, June 24 at 11:00 am, Nassau County Supreme Court Building, 100 Supreme Court Drive
  • NYC – Friday, July 15 at 11:00 am on the steps of City Hall

For more information, or to register to attend an event, please contact Barbara Crosier at 518-436-0178 or [email protected].

Barbara Crosier


The NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) has announced a partnership between CP of NYS Affiliates The Center for Discovery (TCFD) and Upstate Cerebral Palsy (Upstate CP) and Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI), in the creation of the Centers of Excellence which will address the care and treatment of children with complex disabilities.  This partnership is made possible through an award of federal Balancing Incentive Program (BIP) funding administered through OPWDD, in coordination with the New York State Education Department and the New York State Department of Health.  The Centers of Excellence will develop an interactive database and other tools to improve information gathering and sharing with federal, state, and local agencies in an effort to provide more timely and cost effective approaches to care.  

The efforts of the Centers of Excellence will be coordinated through CP of NYS.  

Greg Siegel



Sharon Zysk, Systems Management Specialist at Central New York Health Home Network, Inc. (CNYHHN), an affiliate of Upstate Cerebral Palsy, represented disability service providers on a nonprofit panel conducted at the Callidus Cloud Conference in May.  Callidus Cloud is the company behind Litmos, an on-line learning management system (LMS) that has been adopted by Upstate Cerebral Palsy, CP of NYS, Metro Community Health Centers, and the Center for Disability Services. Sharon was selected based on her experience with the implementation of Litmos. She continues to collaborate with Affiliates across New York State to utilize Litmos to provide training and information to direct service providers, the community of individuals we serve, their family members, and advocates.

During the panel discussion, Sharon shared with the audience how Litmos was able to keep agencies compliant with training requirements in a highly regulated environment with high employee turnover.  Sharon added that “the challenges facing non-profit agencies are very similar to the challenges facing other profit-driven industries. The main difference between the work that we do with educating our staff and partners with the LMS is that we have more at stake.  We are dealing with our client’s mental and physical health.  So for us, the stakes are higher and we have a greater responsibility to the community to stay in compliance and operate ethically.”

Litmos has generously agreed to donate $50 to CNYHHN for each review of Litmos that is posted on-line by conference participants.  CNYHHN is still waiting to learn what the total dollar amount of the donation will be.

For more information on Litmos, please contact Lorie Liptak at 518-436-0178 or [email protected].

Lorie Liptak


The NYS Department of Health (DOH) will be holding Regional Value Based Payments (VBP) Bootcamps.  The Bootcamps are regional learning sessions created by DOH with a goal to equip future VBP contractors with the knowledge necessary to implement NYS Payment Reform. The VBP website will provide you with the Bootcamp schedules, content outlines, and ability to register for sessions in your region. Please remember to visit and sign up.  Registrations will open 3 weeks in advance and close 1 week before the event. These events are free and open to the public.

For those who are unable to attend the Bootcamps, sessions 1, 2, and 3 of Region 1 (Capital region, Mid-Hudson, and the Southern Tier) will be webcast live. The link will be sent out when it becomes available.
To see the VBP Bootcamps page and a VBP library, click here.
Any questions may be directed to [email protected].
Deb Williams


At the CP of NYS October Annual Conference in Albany, we will again hold an art contest of original work by program participants. For the fourth straight year we will also conduct Snapshots, a photo exhibit of work from our Affiliates.

We will produce a commemorative poster containing the individual entry of original artwork from each Affiliate.  We ask that each Affiliate select and submit one piece of original artwork created by someone receiving support or services from your agency.  It must be submitted by the Affiliate. There is no minimum or maximum age. You may submit artwork by children or adults, but please submit just one piece of original artwork per Affiliate. Submissions are now due and should be sent to the CP of NYS Affiliate Services Office at 3 Cedar Street Extension, Suite 2, Cohoes, NY 12047-3151. The poster will be designed and printed by the end of summer.  An independent panel will select one artist to be recognized at our Annual Conference at the Albany Hilton Hotel October 17-19.  This year’s Annual Conference will be a celebration of the 70th Anniversary of CP of NYS.

We will also conduct a photography exhibit at the conference. We are asking each Affiliate to select and submit one original photograph created by someone of any age who participates in one of your agency’s programs to be included in an exhibit at the CP of NYS Annual Conference in Albany.  We will conduct a vote at the Conference to honor one photographer’s work.  Send the photograph to the Affiliate Services Office by Friday, September 16.  

For both exhibitions, please make sure to submit work that we have permission to display publicly. If you have any questions, please contact Al Shibley at (518) 436-0178 or [email protected].

Al Shibley


NYSEA Major Projects CEO Jamie Peace (left) and Major Projects Committee Chair Jan Pashley (right) with outgoing ELKS ambassador families – The Comfort family, with Allie (seated left) and The Kennedy family, with Kimmie (seated right)


The New York State Elks Association (NYSEA) took time at their spring convention last month to say thank you and farewell to two families who have served 3-year terms as Ambassador Families for the NYSEA Major Projects fundraising efforts. The Comfort Family, and daughter Allie, and the Kennedys, and daughter Kimmie, have made numerous appearances at Elks events across the state in the past three years to help Elks members better understand how their donations directly impact the lives of people with disabilities and their families. Two new families will be chosen this month to assume the Ambassador roles for the next three years.

At their convention, the Elks also approved funding of three $10,000 grants to help three Affiliates purchase replacement vehicles for their Home Service Programs. The Elks donate nearly $500,000 each year to support the CP of NYS Home Service Program. Since 1964 this effort has raised well over $20 million for the program.

The organization also approved several smaller grants to Affiliates needing support for specific projects in their communities. To find out more about the NYSEA, visit their website at

Al Shibley


Willie Ryan has been nominated by his fellow photographers at the West Farms Photo Works to represent them by submitting one of his photographs to Voice! 12, a state wide art show sponsored by Arc Otsego. This is exciting because Willie has been shooting with a camera for less than a year. Progressive Visions photographers Frank Ferebee and Kimberly Bland will also be submitting their work to Voice! 12. Frank is a veteran photographer who won a juror’s award of $100 at the Voice! show two years ago. For Kimberly, who has been shooting with an adapted camera for several years, this is her first submission to Voice!

David Horsham, a member of both the Progressive Visions Photo Club and West Farms Photo Works, has been looking for an online contest to submit his work.  He chose Magum Photos’ Photography Awards 2016.  He recently submitted one of his award winning photographs. His submission is now included with some of the best photography being done around the world.

Good Luck Willie, Frank, Kimberly and David.  

Also, please mark your calendar and don’t miss this exciting joint exhibition later this year. The members of both the Progressive Vision Photo Club and West Farms Photo Works will be having a joint exhibition of their work at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. The show will run from December 2, 2016 through January 14, 2017. The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning is located on 161-04 Jamaica Avenue.  Please plan to stop by and see the show.

Jim Interlicchio

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