About Us

Supporting People to Live, Work and Take Part in Their Community

The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is responsible for coordinating services for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, Prader-Willi syndrome and other neurological impairments. We provide services directly and through a network of approximately 450 nonprofit service providing agencies.

OPWDD was created in 1978 as the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, an independent cabinet-level state agency, largely because of the need for an autonomous entity to implement the Willowbrook consent decree and the resulting closure and downsizing of institutions. In the decades that followed, it has become one of the state’s largest agencies. People supported by this agency and their family members forged a strong working partnership that shaped the way the system grew to support increasing numbers of people with developmental disabilities to live with greater independence in their communities.

In 2010, the agency and its stakeholder partners marked an historic milestone for the people they support when New York State changed the agency’s official name, eliminating the term “mental retardation” from its new title.

Supports and services, which include Medicaid funded long-term care services such as habilitation and clinical services, as well as residential supports and services for over 40,000 people, are primarily provided in community settings across the state. 

In addition to these Medicaid services, OPWDD also provides New York State-funded family support services, which are designed to assist families in providing care for their loved ones who live full-time in their family home, and employment supports, which include ongoing job coaching, job matching, and vocational training.

Vision and Values

People with developmental disabilities enjoy meaningful relationships with friends, family and others in their lives, experience personal health and growth and live in the home of their choice and fully participate in their communities.


Our values describe how we interact with the people we serve, their families, staff, the community and each other, including compassion, dignity, diversity, excellence, and honesty.


Guiding Principles

Our guiding principles frame how we conduct business:

Put the person first, maximize opportunities, promote and reward excellence, provide equity of access, nurture partnerships and collaborations,  and require accountability and responsibility.

Strategic Planning
OPWDD is committed to creating a service delivery system in New York State that ensures access, equity and sustainability while addressing the needs of the people we support. We believe every eligible New Yorker with a developmental disability deserves equal opportunity to access OPWDD services regardless of where in the state they live, their age or their ethnicity. OPWDD seeks regular stakeholder feedback to inform our decision-making and accomplish our system goals through our strategic planning process.

Kerri E. Neifeld

Kerri Neifeld serves as the Commissioner of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) following her nomination as Commissioner by Governor Kathy Hochul in early November of 2021.
Kerri has short straight dark hair with a side part. Smiling. Wearing a tan blazer with a black shirt.

Agency Organization

Council & Boards
Inter-Office Coordinating Council

The Council is a collaborative entity created to improve continuity and coordination of services for New Yorkers across state agencies.

Board of Visitors

The Board of Visitors is made up of volunteer advocates who inspect facilities where people are receiving care and treatment from New York State operated psychiatric centers, children's psychiatric centers and facilities operated by OPWDD's developmental services offices.

Contact Us
A comprehensive list of OPWDD contacts.
Dial 7-1-1 to reach New York Relay for people who are hard of hearing or who have a speech disability.