Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Adult Overnight Summer Camp Information


The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has jurisdiction over the licensing and safe operation of all summer camps. Beginning in 2003 the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), functioning in an advisory role, has endeavored to enhance the safety of overnight summer camps for adults that regularly serve campers with developmental disabilities. OPWDD has been successful in its endeavors, in part because of the overall positive response of the summer camp directors.

However, effective immediately, OPWDD will be minimizing its role in the inspection process of the aforementioned summer camps. As of the 2010 camping session, OPWDD will no longer request annual self-surveys, conduct inspection visits to verify self-survey answers, or maintain a listing of camps that meet OPWDD standards on OPWDD’s Website. In the future, OPWDD will only conduct inspection visits at the request of DOH.

These activities are being curtailed primarily 1) as part of New York State government’s efforts to reduce redundancy and streamline operations in response to the ongoing fiscal crisis, 2) in acknowledgment of the overall improvement OPWDD has seen in the operation of Adult Summer Camps and, 3) in recognition of OPWDD’s limited jurisdiction, and DOH’s primary jurisdiction, regarding Adult Summer Camps.

Please be advised that if unsafe conditions at a camp are reported, OPWDD, within its statutory and regulatory authority will take actions that are appropriate and necessary to preserve the health and safety of campers with developmental disabilities. OPWDD also reserves the right to visit a camp at any time for any reason to ensure that quality care is being provided.

OPWDD continues to encourage camps to reference its Safeguarding Alerts, (which can be reached through the link on this page.)

OPWDD staff will continue to be available to answer any specific questions from adult summer camp directors that may arise regarding meeting the needs of campers who are developmentally disabled. If camp directors have any questions regarding campers, or about the information on this web page, please contact Ms. Ellie Smith, by telephone at (518) 486-7986 or by e-mail at