Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Spring 2014 Somos el Futuro Conference

Once again Sinergia was represented at the Somos el Futuro Legislative Conference held in Albany on March 22nd.  Sinergia and NYAEMP presented a workshop which discussed whether the Transformation of the NYS OPWDD service system for unserved/underserved individuals with disabilities was “of the people, by the people, and for the people? Panelists were Sinergia Executive Director Myrta Cuadra-Lash, Yvette Watts, Executive Director of the New York Assoc. of Emerging and Multicultural Providers, Yndhira Rodriguez (parent), Frank Ferreiras (consumer) and Robert Kehl (grandfather) who were accompanied by other parents and staff.

The workshop questioned whether “managed care” would bring full blown hospital-style mega-provider consolidation to the field of developmental disabilities and imperil the role of smaller, unique practitioners of community owned and operated multicultural, bilingual services and supports in which New York State has invested to impact communities of color.  Also how the imposition of consolidation into DISCS and very large organizations into the system of very individualized and continuously changing lifelong community services and supports for and with people with disabilities affect person centered, multicultural, multilingual access to services and supports “in the most integrated setting” for minority and limited English people with disabilities.

It is important that through forums and other educational events that family members and community providers bring awareness of the role and the impact that our community organizations play in the lives of individuals and families with disabilities. Legislators and policy makers need to acquire a broader understanding of the need for these services to be supported and delivered in their communities.  As a community based multi-service and multi-cultural, bilingual organization located in East Harlem, Sinergia is governed by a board of directors with a majority of parents and community residents. Services and supports are developed in response to the needs of the individuals and families we serve. The conference was an opportunity to inform the legislators and the public of the need to sustain smaller community based organizations that are of the people, by the people and for the people.

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