Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities has completed a five-year strategic plan to help strengthen supports and services for New Yorkers. Developed with significant input from stakeholders over the course of 18 months, the 2023-2027 Strategic Plan identifies and organizes crucial agency priorities to guide the delivery of services for people with developmental disabilities statewide over the next half-decade.
"The New York dream should be a reality for everyone in our state, including people with developmental disabilities," Governor Hochul said. "This five-year plan provides a comprehensive roadmap to strengthen supports and enhance services statewide for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities - helping to build a more inclusive, equitable state for all."
The plan organizes agency priorities as identified by stakeholder input, which were collected over 18 months starting in 2021. The plan identifies three overarching agency goals with objectives and a range of initiatives that will support the agency's mission:
- Strengthening workforce technology and collaboration
- Transforming the agency through innovation and change
- Enhancing person-centered supports and services
The plan identifies strengthening the direct support workforce as a top and urgent priority. The plan also calls for improving how the agency uses and shares data; making improvements to supports and services; and ensuring that the unique needs of New Yorkers served by the agency are met throughout their lives.
The plan fulfills a requirement under state Mental Hygiene Law requiring OPWDD to prepare guidance for agency activities with input from the public. OPWDD will report progress in achieving the plan's stated objectives and goals to stakeholders on an annual basis, seeking input from them on success, areas for improvement, and any shifting priorities.
New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Kerri Neifeld said, "I am very proud to release the agency's strategic plan that will serve as our guide for improving the experience that people with developmental disabilities and their families have within our system and in their lives. The final plan represents the highest-priority goals and objectives of our stakeholders for OPWDD to pursue and will direct the agency's focus over the coming years. I look forward to working together to make the system more equitable, sustainable, and responsive to the needs of people we support."
State Senator John W. Mannion said, "As Chairman of the Disabilities Committee I have staunchly advocated for OPWDD to work with stakeholders to produce this plan and the outcome is encouraging. It has been over ten years since OPWDD last developed a strategic plan so I appreciate Governor Hochul taking this important step in improving agency operations, priorities, and identifying how it can best serve the disabilities community. Looking ahead, I'll be focused on making sure the plan is executed with transparency and proper oversight."
Assemblymember Abinanti said, "The Hochul administration has accomplished its goal in producing a plan to meet the needs of New Yorkers with developmental and intellectual disabilities for the next 5 years. Now the administration and the legislature need to collaborate to implement and fund the actions needed to achieve the plan’s goals. We all look forward to OPWDD and the community working together to improve the lives of people with disabilities.”
Self-Advocacy Association of New York State President Tony Phillips said, "We are grateful to OPWDD for listening to self-advocates as the new strategic plan was being developed. At the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State, we believe that a renewed focus on person-centered supports and services must come first. While we have a long way to go in addressing our staffing support needs and transforming our system, it is clear that we are taking meaningful steps in the right direction."
Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State President & CEO Mike Alvaro said, "As innovators of ensuring access to health and clinical services for people with I/DD, CP State is pleased to see that OPWDD's Strategic Plan embraces the important role their services play in improving the health of people with disabilities in New York State. We look forward to working with OPWDD as they promote best practices and support cross-agency innovation to streamline access while encouraging innovations in housing, clinic, day activities, employment, and other services critical to improving our community's quality of life and overall health."
New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation President & CEO Michael Seereiter said, "The NY Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation welcomes the release of OPWDD's Strategic Plan, concluding a comprehensive planning process that engaged stakeholders with a goal of creating a delivery system that ensures access, equity and sustainability in supporting the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in New York State. We are committed to continuing to work with OPWDD as a catalyst for positive change and leading resource for individuals with disabilities, their families and the organizations supporting them."
InterAgency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies Executive Director Thomas McAlvanah said, "The Interagency Council is excited to partner with OPWDD as it embarks on its strategic planning process over the next 5 years. We extend congratulations for their efforts to listen to advocates, families, service providers and all members of the I/DD community in crafting its vision for the future. Our thanks to Governor Hochul, Commissioner Neifeld and the leadership of OPWDD."
New York Association of Emerging & Multicultural Providers, Inc. Executive Director Yvette Watts said, "The vision articulated within OPWDD's Strategic Plan reiterates Governor Hochul's commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and we, at the New York Association of Emerging & Multicultural Providers, are ready to partner with her and her team to transform the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by making sure that all voices are heard. This is a great first step."
People Inc. President & CEO Rhonda Frederick said, "People Inc. is pleased to see the final version of the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities Strategic Plan come to fruition. The process to put the plan together was well-thought out and inclusive, with input from a wide variety of stakeholders through various mediums to ensure that all voices were heard. The 5.07 plan will set the standard for services for people with developmental disabilities in New York State and People Inc. looks forward to a bright future."
OPWDD's 2023-2027 Strategic Plan and information about the planning process are available on the OPWDD website. OPWDD will make the Strategic Plan and a plain language summary of the plan available in 12 languages.