Assemblymen Palmesano, Friend Join Local Families, Mental Health Experts To Discuss Protecting The Rights Of People With Developmental Disabilities At Task Force Forum

April 18, 2016

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) and Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R,C,I-Big Flats) hosted a forum this evening in Corning focused on supporting the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities. Invitees included people with developmental disabilities and their families, non-profit organizations, mental health experts and community leaders.

The task force hosted its third regional forum at Corning-Painted Post High School in response to concerns from families, non-profits, community organizations and individuals with developmental disabilities about the impact of the Olmstead Decision. Discussions focused on identifying better ways to support the rights of people with developmental disabilities; expansion of community-based care programs; the effectiveness of current transition plans for individuals in sheltered workshops; and identifying whether the input and desires of people with disabilities are being considered.

“Individuals and their families deserve to have their voices heard, their rights respected,” said Palmesano. “Unfortunately, for many, their input and wishes have been ignored through a hastily and flawed transition process that has left them with nowhere to turn as sheltered workshops across the state are shuttered.”

Participants included representatives from Pathways, Inc., Seneca Cayuga ARC, AIM Independent Living Center, ARC of Schuyler County, ARC of Chemung County, and local families.

“It is absolutely vital that we take the necessary steps to understand the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and address any shortfalls,” said Friend. “Today’s task force forum helped us open the dialogue with local caregivers, families, and people with developmental disabilities about the most effective ways we can ensure all New Yorkers are afforded a chance to thrive.”

“As legislators and residents of this state, it is our obligation and goal to provide services and address the needs of every New Yorker, regardless of age, religion, creed or disability,” said Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch (R-Bainbridge), task force chairman. “These forums provide us with the opportunity to hear from families, caregivers and individuals with developmental disabilities to offer another layer of support when it comes to aiding those with disabilities in communities across our state.”

The next Assembly Minority Task Force on Protecting the Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities forums will be held on Wednesday, April 20 in Medford and Lynbrook. For more information on the task force, please contact the Assembly Minority Office of Public Affairs at 518-455-5073.