montage of people
May 11, 2021

OPWDD Invites People Receiving Supports and Their Families to Help Plan the Future of Our Service System

OPWDD Invites People Receiving Supports and Their Families to Help Plan the Future of Our Service System

The public forums will provide you the chance to give input on OPWDD’s strategic priorities, the use of funds from the American Rescue Plan and the development of the agency’s 5-year Statewide Comprehensive Plan.

OPWDD urges self-advocates, family members of people with developmental disabilities, advocates, and other interested parties to take part. We ask that each person take part in only one forum so that we can hear from as many people as possible. You may choose to provide spoken testimony at the event, submit written testimony or simply listen.

OPWDD invites comments on the following focus areas or other areas that you believe should be part of the agency’s strategic plan or considered as one-time financial investments in the OPWDD service system:

  • How should OPWDD meet the growing demand for services throughout a person’s life to assure sustainability, equity and access?
  • How can OPWDD include the values of diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the service system?
  • How can the direct support and clinical workforce be strengthened to provide quality supports for the people we support?
  • How can the OPWDD service system build and sustain a variety of housing supports?
  • How can day and employment services better help people to achieve their life goals?
  • How can the self-direction program better address the needs of the person and support for family caregivers, as well as assure equity of access and sustainability of self-directed supports?
  • How can technology be used to support a person’s life goals?  
  • How can OPWDD, working with other state agencies, best plan for and serve children and adults with complex needs?
  • How can OPWDD best use telehealth to meet a person’s clinical needs?
  • How can care coordination better support people with complex needs or enhance the skills of Care Managers?
  • What research projects would assist in screening, evaluating, identifying and supporting people with developmental disabilities?

Written testimony can be submitted to [email protected] or mailed to:


Attn: Communications Office

44 Holland Avenue, 3rd Floor

Albany, NY 12229


Speakers must register in advance and limit their comments to three (3) minutes. The deadline to register as a speaker is the close of business two days before each event. Opportunities to give spoken comment will be given on a first come, first served basis, as time permits. All webinars will be recorded and links to the recordings will be posted on OPWDD’s website after the events. 

To sign up to speak, please call or email the contact person for each forum (for email, please include in the subject line “speaker request”). If you only plan to listen, you can click on one of the links below to sign up. You can also request language access for the event or arrange for a special accommodation by using the links below (please register early if you need accommodations):


Forum Schedule and Contact Information

Forum Webex Link




Region 1 (Western NY & Finger Lakes)


1 PM -
4 PM

Amy Hoffower

[email protected]

(585) 241-5797

Region 2 (Central NY, Southern Tier & North Country)



10 AM –
1 PM

Jessica Davis

[email protected]

Phone: (607) 217-6619

Region 3 (Capital Region & Hudson Valley)


3 PM –
6 PM

Karen Francisco

[email protected]

Phone: 518-388-0431

Region 4 (NYC)


6:30 PM –
9:30 PM

Heather Ifill-hinds

[email protected]

Phone: (718) 642-6112

Region 5 (Long Island)


6:30 PM –
9:30 PM

Gina McCready

[email protected]

Phone: (631) 601-6065

*Speaker requests will be processed during normal business hours.


More information about OPWDD’s strategic planning is available at

HCBS Enhanced Funding

New York State submitted its initial draft spending plan to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the enhanced federal funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP).  The draft spending plan and narrative can be found on this web page: