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Where do parents find help for their kids? Parents of children with developmental disabilities, even if they are eligible for services, are finding that the kinds of support services that were readily available just a year or two ago are now hard to come by. Whether it’s an after school program, an at-home service, service coordination or other assistance, families seeking help, unless they fit the â€œhigh needâ€ criterion, are now being put on waiting lists.
Things have changed but what is most disconcerting to many of these parents is the lack of information.
The good news is that a parent’s forum scheduled for November 30th has been organized by the Rockland County Developmental Disabilities Work Group, a group working with county government, in order to shed a little light on what’s going on.
â€œWith the state’s economic crisis, funding for new services is very limited,â€ explains Dan Lukens, Camp Venture’s Executive Director who also sits on the District Planning Council. â€œResources are very limited so the local office of OPWDD (Office for People With Developmental Disabilities) has formed the District Planning Council to involve parents, agency heads, county and state officials in making decisions about how to most effectively use the very limited resources available. Unfortunately, the resources are so scarce that residential placements are limited to backfilling existing spots and respite opportunities are being limited to people whose family members and personal situation are the most difficult,â€ Lukens said. â€œThe forum is to help families looking for assistance to understand how decisions are made and to talk about what is available.â€
The forum will be help at the Jawonio Tech Center on 775 N. Main St (Rt. 45) New Hempstead, NY 10977 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM Tuesday, November 30th 7pm-9pm.
Representatives from the NYS Office of People with Disabilities (Hudson Valley Region), Rockland County-based agencies (like Camp Venture) ,the Rockland County Department of Mental Health and from the District Planning Council will be there to answer your questions.
â€œThis meeting is not the answer but it is a first step,â€ said Lukens. â€œYou can start fighting for your child when you know the lay of the land and the hope is to arm parent with that information.â€
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