Speaker Carl Heastie today announced the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2019-20 approved budget includes funding for essential human services, including the areas of social services, mental health, children and families, alcoholism and substance use, aging and veterans.
"The Assembly Majority is committed to putting New York families first, regardless of the state's fiscal challenges," Speaker Heastie said. "This budget reflects our commitment safeguarding the programs and services that make a tremendous difference in the day-to-day lives of New Yorkers."
"This budget reflects our commitment to investing in programs that help low-income individuals and families achieve greater economic security," said Social Services Committee Chair Andrew Hevesi. "These programs are critical to helping New Yorkers achieve financial independence and ending the cycle of poverty."
"Direct support professionals play a critical role in caring for our state's most vulnerable individuals and deserve our support through fair and competitive salaries," said Mental Health Committee Chair Aileen Gunther. "Our budget includes additional funding to increase DSP wages. We will continue to push to ensure that a cost of living adjustment is included in next year's budget."
"The Assembly Majority has long prioritized supporting programs that help improve outcomes for children and families," said Children and Families Committee Chair Ellen Jaffee. "While this budget makes an important investment to maintain the market rate for child care, I look forward to working with my partners in government to increase child care slots for hardworking New York families in the future."
"With more New Yorkers dying every year from substance use disorder, now more than ever we must acknowledge the need for responsible revenue sources that do not burden our most vulnerable populations," said Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee Chair Linda B. Rosenthal. "I look forward to continuing to work with my partners in the Assembly Majority to find meaningful ways to deliver New Yorkers the comprehensive prevention, treatment and recovery services they need."
"The Assembly Majority is committed to protecting the health, safety, independence and quality of life of New York's older adults," said Aging Committee Chair Harry B. Bronson. "Our spending plan makes much needed investments in the programs our older population needs to continue to enjoy their communities and age comfortably and with dignity."
"Veterans selflessly serve our nation and we are proud to support them and their families," Veterans' Affairs Committee Chair Didi Barrett said. "Our budget restores critical funding for programs that provide essential mental health, housing, workforce and other services for veterans that allow our New York veterans to transition from military service to civilian life with dignity."
Wage Increases for Direct Support and Clinical Staff
The approved budget would direct funding to support salary increases for direct support professionals (DSP's), direct care worker and clinical staff employed by the Office of Mental Health (OMH), the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). DSP's and direct care workers would receive a two percent increase on January 1, 2020 and direct care workers, direct support professionals and clinical staff would receive another two percent increase on April 1, 2020 for a total of $80 million dollars.
The Enacted Budget includes $33.04 million for the Advantage Afterschool Program, which includes an increase of $10.8 million to support the minimum wage and $5 million for additional services. Advantage Afterschool Programs provide quality youth development opportunities to school-age children and youth for three hours directly after school. Research shows that children who participate in quality afterschool programs have higher school attendance and academic achievement and are less likely to be involved in risky behaviors during the afterschool hours.
In addition, the plan would restore $1.5 million for the Disability Advocacy Program, $2 million for refugee resettlement support and $350,000 for programs for those who have been displaced from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands that have now resettled in New York.
The approved spending plan also includes $69 million for Pay for Success, which leverages public/private partnerships using a social impact bond model that pays for positive outcomes in areas of workforce development, early childhood development, child welfare, health care or public safety.
The enacted budget removes the requirement that survivors of domestic violence apply for public assistance and contribute for services rendered.
Children and Families
High quality child care that is accessible and affordable is essential for New York families. The SFY 2019-20 Budget invests $26 million, for a total of $832 million, to maintain the market rate for districts outside of New York City.
To ensure continued eligibility for federal child care funding, the enacted budget includes language to enact various provisions of law required to comply with the health, safety and training standards contained in the federal re-authorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant of 2014. In addition to provisions related to compliance, language was also included to provide due process for individuals newly required to receive state and federal background checks under the federal reauthorization.
The enacted budget includes language to ensure local social services districts continue to receive reimbursement for preventive services necessary to assist youth alleged or adjudicated to be a Person in Need of Supervision (PINS) and their families. The enacted budget also takes steps to reform the current system by limiting the time a youth can spend in pre-and-post dispositional placement, as well as limiting such placements to foster care settings only.
The plan would also provide $4 million for the Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer-to-Peer program.
The approved budget extends Ambulatory Patient Group (APG) rates for all behavioral health services, except inpatient, until March 31, 2023.
The Heroin and Opioid Crisis
Like many states, New York is battling an ongoing opioid epidemic. The enacted budget includes $2 million to fund Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Specialist in New York City.
In addition, the plan provides $4.73 million to expand the jail-based substance use disorder services in county jails.
The budget also includes $350 ,000 for loan forgiveness and scholarship programs to recruit and retain staff in the prevention, treatment and recovery service system.
The spending plan includes $15 million to increase funding for the Expanded In-home Services for the Elderly Program to target unmet need.
The budget will also allow counties the option to implement private pay protocols for individuals above 400 percent of the federal poverty level for New York State Office for the Aging programs and services. The plan includes a cap on the rates counties can charge individuals for services, protections to ensure those below 400 percent of the federal poverty level remain the highest priority for services, and reporting requirements to assess how unmet need is being addressed by revenue from the private pay protocols.
The budget increases the statutory cap on Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) from $200,000 to $300,000. Additionally, $325,000 is included to support NORC nursing services.
Those who selflessly serve our country deserve our support. The SFY 2019-20 budget includes $21.25 million in funding for agency operations and various veterans programs. The plan also changes the name of the Division of Veterans' Affairs to the Division of Veterans' Services to avoid confusion with United States Division of Veterans' Affairs.