Janine Fitzmaurice

Coordinator of Children with Special Needs Services

Ages birth through 5 years old

(845) 486-3518

jfitzmaurice@dutchessny.gov

Linda Monkman

Coordinator of Children’s and Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Services

Ages 5 years through adulthood

(845) 486-2766

lmonkman@dutchessny.gov

Toni-Marie Ciarfella

Deputy Commissioner for Special Needs

(845) 486-3434

tciarfella@dutchessny.gov

If this is an emergency and you need immediate assistance please contact 911

Crisis Counseling, Support, Information & Referrals

Dutchess County HELPLINE 

Toll free: (877) 485-9700

Stabilization Center

(845) 485-9700

NY State Central Register for Child Abuse 

(800-342-3720)

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Self-Direction – A practical guide

This Guide is for families who are interested in using Self-Directed Services for their child with developmental disabilities. If you need an introduction to Self-Direction, see “Frequently Asked Questions about Self-Directed Services,” and “Steps to Transition to a Self-Determined Life” at www.nyselfd.org

Self-Direction in New York – A Practical Guide for Families (2016)

There have been significant changes in Self-Directed Services since this guide was written in 2013, many of which resulted from changes in federal Medicaid policies. We’ve done our best to bring you up to date as of November 2016. You will also note we’ve added sections labeled “Our take,” to offer our opinion about the implications of current policies and practices.

You can also visit the NYS OPWDD for current information on Self-Direction that is available.

Until recently, most people with Intellectual/Developmental disabilities who finished high school had no other choice but to accept an available slot in a traditional, congregate program, where their chances to explore their interests and be part of their communities were limited.

This Guide is for families who are interested in using Self-Directed Services for their child with developmental disabilities. If you need an introduction to Self-Direction, see “Frequently Asked Questions about Self-Directed Services,” and “Steps to Transition to a Self-Determined Life” at www.nyselfd.org.

There have been significant changes in Self-Directed Services since this guide was written in 2013, many of which resulted from changes in federal Medicaid policies. We’ve done our best to bring you up to date as of November 2016. You will also note we’ve added sections labeled “Our take,” to offer our opinion about the implications of current policies and practices.

Until recently, most people with Intellectual/Developmental disabilities who finished high school had no other choice but to accept an available slot in a traditional, congregate program, where their chances to explore their interests and be part of their communities were limited.

Currently most people choose Self-Directed Services, which are uniquely designed for, and based on, the individual’s interests, goals and needs. Because of this highly responsive, customized system of supports, people have the chance to develop rich multilayered relationships and spend their time doing activities that absorb them, in addition to working on those “life skills” that we all need. All of us contributing to this guide have seen our children’s lives deepen and mature way beyond our expectations through Self-Direction. 

Self-Directed Services require more effort than getting your child on the bus every day (itself not an easy task at times!), but it’s not that difficult. In fact, some people who switch from congregate to self-directed services, talk about how much less stressful it is, because they are to be able to have a say in who works with their child and what they do every day. When our children started using Self-Directed Services each of us were faced with situations we didn’t have the information or experience to deal with. For answers, we turned to each other to compare notes and puzzle out solutions. We’ve compiled this information into the resource we wish we’d had when we began.

Note: We’re acutely aware of the individuality and uniqueness of every person and every family, and have tried not to be prescriptive, or underestimate the deep knowledge parents have of their children. There’s no one right answer for everyone.