News alerts

5/25/22 – 10 Ways Community Schools Help All Students and Families Thrive from 6 PM – 7 PM

5/10/22 and 5/17/22 – DEC, State Parks, and Adirondack Park Agency Announce Virtual Public Forums on Inclusivity, Accessibility, and Sustainability in the Outdoors

3/9/22 – PARENT AND FAMILY ENGAGEMENT

2/10/22 – Students with Disabilities and Emergency Response

2-9-22My name is Kendra Scalia and I’m a Hudson Valley Leader with the NY Caring Majority, a disabled woman using Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA), and I am a trained healthcare policy analyst.

2/8/22 – Governor Hochul signs bill reinstating the NYS Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities: A Victory for all disabled New Yorkers.

2-1-22 – Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC) Calls on Governor Hochul to Hire a Chief Disability Officer, and Sign A. 3130/

S.1836 Into Law, Reinstating the Office of the Advocate for People With Disabilities.  

1/27/22 – NEW YORK’S DISABILITY COMMUNITY STILL WAITING AS GOVERNOR HOCHUL HOLDS OFFICE OF THE ADVOCATE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES BILL

10/19/21 – Watch this powerful short film on the home care crisis and signed a petition calling for increased wages for home care workers in New York.

10/12/21New York State Governor, Kathy Hochul, issued a proclamation declaring October 2021 as Disability Employment Awareness Month.

10/1/21STIC hosts Press Conference with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in support of the Better Care Better Jobs bill currently in congress.

9/13/21 – September is National Preparedness Month, and FEMA has put together a webpage filled with information videos, and toolkits.

9/10/21 – Southern Tier Independence Center calls on Governor Hochul to support the “Fair Pay for Home Care” bill

9/9/21 – STIC Calls on Governor Hochul to Hire a Chief Disability Officer, and Sign A. 3130/S. 1836 Into Law

 

5/25/22 – 10 Ways Community Schools Help All Students and Families Thrive from 6 PM – 7 PM

Join us to learn more about Community Schools and the role they play in promoting student success in many area schools. During the event, presenters will share the key features of a community school approach, the different community school approaches happening across NYS, and the array of university-assisted community school programs, priorities, services, and challenges in our region.

Presenters:

Liz Anderson, Ed.D, Associate Professor at Binghamton University, currently serves as Director for the NYS Education Department Central/Western Region Community Schools Technical Assistance Center. Liz’s research examines the intersections of academics, mental health, and health and the potential impact on learning, development, and behavior. Through her work, Liz seeks to support the whole child by improving the alignment and integration of programs and services across sectors.

Elissa F. Brown, PhD, Director of the Binghamton University Community Schools, Regional Network. From 2012-2021 she is past director of the Hunter College Center for Gifted Studies in NYC and served as a distinguished lecturer and program leader in Special Education. She supported all NYC schools with professional development, research, serving on task forces, and working with educators on ways to differentiate instruction and build systems capacity in schools.

Luann Kida, MA, LMSW, Executive Director of Binghamton University Community Schools leads and supports the multiple component projects associated with their university-assisted community schools’ approach. Luann began her career in higher education supporting students with disabilities to ensure they are aware and connected to resources needed to support academic success. In her current role, Luann continues to promote the university assisted community school approach as a systemic way to address educational equity for all children and their families.

Naorah Rimkunas, PhD, MS, Assistant Professor at Binghamton University, with expertise around university-school partnerships; community schools; broadening participation in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education initiatives; and inter-professional collaboration in school-based settings. As director of the University-Assisted Community Schools Regional Training Center, Dr. Rimkunas provides technical assistance for leaders in higher education to develop strategies to form university-school partnerships in PK-12 schools.

Registration:

https://drny-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMvcO6orj4tGtCrZsIlDCdmATszs8dz8SHT

Upon completing registration, you will receive an e-mail with webinar call-in information.

All trainings will have closed captioning. ASL interpretation available upon request.

Need additional information or any accommodations?

Contact Nancy Nowak at Disability Rights New York: Nancy.Nowak@drny.org or 516.238.1261

Websites:   NY Special Ed Task Force  Disability Rights New York

When: May 25, 2022 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance:

https://drny-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMvcO6orj4tGtCrZsIlDCdmATszs8dz8SHT

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

5/10/22 and 5/17/22 – DEC, State Parks, and Adirondack Park Agency Announce Virtual Public Forums on Inclusivity, Accessibility, and Sustainability in the Outdoors

Lunchtime Sessions Feature Introduction by Kimberly T. Hill, Chief Disability Officer for Governor Kathy Hochul

Tuesday May 10th and May 17 –  click here to view event info PDF

3/9/22 – PARENT AND FAMILY ENGAGEMENT WITHIN THE FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT (FBA) & BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION PLAN (BIP) PROCESS 6pm to 8 pm online via Zoom

Register Here

 

2/10/22 – Students with Disabilities and Emergency Response

Niagara University Disability Awareness Training (NU DAT) is currently working the states of New York, Louisiana, South Dakota, Missouri and Nebraska to educate anyone involved in emergency planning, preparedness, response, and recovery as it pertains to individuals with disabilities and access and functional needs. NU has tailored a presentation that identifies the responsibilities of parents, school districts and emergency responders in an emergency. This program will introduce their First Responders DAT and components of the Emergency Management DAT as it pertains to the intended audience.

Topics to be discussed:
•    Defining Access and Functional Needs
•    First Responders and their Responsibility in Special Education
•    Emergency Planning and Preparedness-Special Education and the School District
•    Evacuation Planning and Students with Disabilities
•    COVID-19 and Persons with Disabilities

Presented by Dave Whalen:

David Whalen has been in the field of disabilities since 1986, founding Disability Awareness Training in 2004, having presented some 650 times, 250 in the field of first/emergency response. He is the Project Director of the Niagara University First and Emergency Responder Disability Awareness Training programs, creating the nation’s only comprehensive training for law enforcement, fire fighters, emergency medical services, and 9-1-1 telecommunicators.

 
Dave’s background in emergency planning, preparedness, response, and recovery includes chair of the New York State (NYS) Independent Living Council emergency preparedness committee, a FEMA Access and Functional Needs trainer, presenter at FEMA Get Real, and NYS Emergency Managers Assn. conferences

Date/Time: Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Time: 6PM – 7:00PM

Registration: https://drny-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYodu2hqD4rE9IYtxhOQbEO368TeXKzJFNN

SPACE IS LIMITED. Upon completing registration, you will receive an e-mail with webinar call-in information.

All trainings will have closed captioning. ASL interpretation available upon request.

Need additional information or any accommodations? Contact Nancy Nowak at DRNY.

Nancy.Nowak@drny.org or 516.238.1261

2-9-22My name is Kendra Scalia and I’m a Hudson Valley Leader with the NY Caring Majority, a disabled woman using Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA), and I am a trained healthcare policy analyst.

Last year at this time I submitted testimony to this Legislature regarding the home care crisis our state continues to ignore. I told you about my experience losing three personal assistants (PAs) during the start of COVID and how I had just one PA working seven days per week. I expressed the importance of Fair Pay for Home Care workers – to make it possible to recruit new workers to this field. And I also let you all know that, “I live in constant fear that should something happen to my personal assistant or should he find a better paying job, my literal independence and freedom will be taken from me overnight.”

I wish I could sit here today and tell you that I’ve hired workers, am able to eat a hot meal every day, and that my fears of institutionalization are quieted. But this body failed to provide the bare minimum attention to slow down the home care workforce crisis last year. And so, today, my fears are being realized. My one PA cut back his hours because he found that better paying job. Not a single candidate in 18 months has accepted a job offer with me for $13.20 an hour. Parts of my independence have been lost, as entire areas of my life I simply can’t engage in.

Because my one PA can only work four hours at night, I’m forced to go without the toilet all day long. I stay in the same position in my wheelchair for 20 hours at a time. I sleep in my wheelchair five nights per week because I have no one available to get me out of bed in the morning. The limited help I receive is packed with bare essentials of survival, such that upkeep of my home is neglected; physical therapies and respiratory treatments are skipped more frequently than they are provided; medical appointments are all but impossible to attend in-person; and I’ve developed additional medical conditions that could have been wholly prevented were home care worker wages raised because home care is health care.

If you visited my home today you would find my bed covered in small plastic bins holding remote controls, switch activating buttons, telescoping reachers, and zip lock baggies of cashews, cheerios and protein bars. A dozen opened water bottles with straws floating inside line my kitchen table from one corner to the other, allowing me the ability to at least stay hydrated while I spend more than 80% of each day without care that I need.

We need Fair Pay for Home Care in the budget (A.6329/S.5374A). Governor Hochul missed this opportunity in the executive budget – proposing one-time bonuses that will not come close to solving the home care workforce shortage. The solution is Fair Pay for Home Care – and we are relying on YOU, our state legislators, to make this happen in the budget. When our workers are paid well, disabled and senior New Yorkers who rely on home care workers to live independently are able to fill these positions. We’re able to receive the health care we need to be safe and stay healthy.

(She did not read this paragraph in her testimony but it is included in her written comments). And if you’re someone who sympathizes more with the fiscal responsibility to the statewide community, I have great news for you – based on a CUNY study, Fair Pay for Home Care would generate $5.4 billion in economic benefits for New York State! It does so while improving an essential healthcare service. The data and analysis are in, and it’s simple– we need Fair Pay for Home Care and Fair Pay for Home Care is a win-win for each constituency involved.

The time is now to address the crisis of long term care. I hope next year I find myself back at this budget hearing to tell you about the fabulous personal assistants I was able to hire after you
passed Fair Pay for Home Care in this year’s budget; how my health improved and I no longer need these additional medications; and how comfortable my body feels when I am finally able to lay it down to rest on my soft, warm bed every night once again like all of you.

Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC) Calls on Governor Hochul to Hire a Chief Disability Officer, and Sign A. 3130/

S.1836 Into Law, Reinstating the Office of the Advocate for People With Disabilities  

There is currently no one single office that represents people with all types of disabilities in New York State government. This year, the legislature recognized that people with disabilities need greater representation and passed A.3130 (Steck) / S.1836 (Skoufis) to reinstate the Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities.

This office was tasked with advising and assisting the governor in developing policies designed to help meet the needs of people with disabilities and served as the State’s coordinator for implementation of 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But this office no longer exists and there is no office to represent the interests of people with disabilities in state government.

Governor Hochul has an opportunity to break with the past and send a strong message to disabled New Yorkers that their needs and rights matter. 

Originally established by Governor Mario Cuomo through Executive Order, the Office of the Advocate was intended to provide a formal voice within state government for New Yorkers with disabilities. The Office helped develop policies to ensure the state met the access needs of people with disabilities, and also served as the states coordinator for the implementation of Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

When a previous administration created the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs and consolidated the state offices, the vital policy and advocacy function that the Office of the Advocate provided did not survive. While there are state agencies that address individuals with specific diagnoses, there is no state agency charged with meeting the needs of the Disability Community at a systemic level. Large segments of the Disability Community are left without a state agency addressing their needs and representing their interests in state government.

Action:

Send a message to Governor Hochul

https://ilny.us/advocacy/action-alerts?vvsrc=%2fCampaigns%2f87900%2fRespond

2/8/22 – Governor Hochul signs bill reinstating the NYS Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities: A Victory for all disabled New Yorkers. Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC) extends many thanks and appreciation to Governor Hochul for recognizing the needs of the disability community by signing the bill, and responding to advocacy efforts by disabled individuals, advocates, and Senator Skoufis among others. After seeing former Governor Cuomo veto this bill and refuse to work with advocates, this was a ray of sunshine after 12 long cloudy Cuomo Administration years.We consider this a signal of good faith between the governor’s office and the disability community as a whole. There are no losers in this. Thank you Governor Hochul for working with us on this issue. We are pleased that a cooperative working relationship has been established, and we look forward to future endeavors.

1/27/22 – NEW YORK’S DISABILITY COMMUNITY STILL WAITING AS GOVERNOR HOCHUL HOLDS OFFICE OF THE ADVOCATE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES BILL

Contact: Maria Dibble, (607) 724-2111, ext. 318

Governor Hochul has until February 4th to sign the legislation.

Governor Hochul has told disability advocates that the concerns of the disability community are a much higher priority in her administration than the previous one. She can demonstrate this commitment by signing A.3130 / S.1836 to reinstate the Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities. The bills unanimously passed the New York State Assembly and Senate last year.

The Governor’s Executive Budget does set aside funding for three people to staff an Office of the Chief Disability Officer funded through the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. However, there is nothing in writing to describe the structure and mission of this office. Governor Hochul should sign A.3130 / S.1836 instead, to ensure the office’s mission is in statute and that the advocacy functions in state government for all disabled people are restored.

There is currently no one office that oversees issues like ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and as a result, there is nobody for people with disabilities to contact to resolve access and other issues they experience with the State. Governor Cuomo repeatedly enacted policies without considering the impact on people with disabilities. New York State now has a shameful legacy of litigation in recent years for not ensuring access, including during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when Governor Cuomo refused to have an ASL interpreter onscreen during his daily briefings, denying Deaf individuals an equal opportunity to benefit from the information. Signing A.3130/S.1836 would help to demonstrate to the disability community that the Hochul administration takes the concerns of people with disabilities seriously. If the Governor is not going to sign the bill, , she should clearly articulate an alternative plan, and meet with the disability community personally to discuss it. “

Maria Dibble, Executive Director of Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC) said, “We at STIC, on behalf of the thousands of people with disabilities we serve, strongly urge Governor Hochul to sign this important legislation, benefiting all disability groups, and empowering them by restoring their voice in state government.”

10/19/21 – Watch this powerful short film on the home care crisis and signed a petition calling for increased wages for home care workers in New York.
Join STIC and take action!

Click here to watch the film and sign the petition

New York State is looking for your feedback! Please consider registering for Stakeholder meetings -coming in November! You can register for as many as you want but registration closes on October 24th. Additionally, the FACE center is running an informational session on October 26th to help you prepare.

Register for 10/26 at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/spp-preview-tickets-187725972437

Click here for Stake holder inviter letter

October is National Disability Employment Awareness month (NDEAM

The theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) 2021, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

NDEAM is held each October to commemorate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. Browse the U.S. Department of Labor’s website for ideas and resources for employers, community organizations, state and local governments, advocacy groups and schools to participate in celebrating NDEAM through events and activities centered around the theme of “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.”

STIC provides Supported Employment services to people with disabilities. See more information in the services section of our webpage. We are strongly committed to full integration of people with all types of disabilities into the workplace, and we are actively pushing a bill, A.3103/S.1828, which would end the practice of paying people with disabilities sub-minimum wage. The practice is unacceptable and must end!

10/12/21 – New York State Governor, Kathy Hochul, issued a proclamation declaring October 2021 as Disability Employment Awareness Month. Governor Hochul said that New York State is committed to ensuring working individuals with disabilities have equal opportunities and are supported in the work place. New York State has a long-standing commitment to supporting inclusive workplaces and innovative solutions to empower workers with disability to achieve financial independence through employment and decreasing unemployment and poverty for individuals with disability in our communities.

NYS Employment First

 National Disability Employment Proclamation

10/1/21 – STIC hosts Press Conference with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in support of the Better Care Better Jobs bill currently in congress.

Click here to watch the video.

9/13/21 – September is National Preparedness Month, and FEMA has put together a webpage filled with information videos, and toolkits. Very timely, considering the deaths and damage due to Ida.

Click here for more information https://www.ready.gov/september

9/10/21 – Southern Tier Independence Center calls on Governor Hochul to support the “Fair Pay for Home Care” bill (S5374/A6329), which would pay a living wage to home care workers and resolve the critical shortage of Home Care Aides and Personal Assistants in NY

9/9/21 – Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC) Calls on Governor Hochul to Hire a Chief Disability Officer, and Sign A. 3130 / S.1836 Into Law, Reinstating the Office of the Advocate for People With Disabilities  

There is currently no one single office that represents people with all types of disabilities in New York State government. This year, the legislature recognized that people with disabilities need greater representation and passed A.3130 (Steck) / S.1836 (Skoufis) to reinstate the Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities. This office was tasked with advising and assisting the governor in developing policies designed to help meet the needs of people with disabilities and served as the State’s coordinator for implementation of 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But this office no longer exists and there is no office to represent the interests of people with disabilities in state government. Governor Hochul has an opportunity to break with the past and send a strong message to disabled New Yorkers that their needs and rights matter. 

Originally established by Governor Mario Cuomo through Executive Order, the Office of the Advocate was intended to provide a formal voice within state government for New Yorkers with disabilities. The Office helped develop policies to ensure the state met the access needs of people with disabilities, and also served as the states coordinator for the implementation of Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

When a previous administration created the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs and consolidated the state offices, the vital policy and advocacy function that the Office of the Advocate provided did not survive. While there are state agencies that address individuals with specific diagnoses, there is no state agency charged with meeting the needs of the Disability Community at a systemic level. Large segments of the Disability Community are left without a state agency addressing their needs and representing their interests in state government.