PLEASE TELL GOVERNOR CUOMO TO BE OUR HERO and include funding to SAVE OUR SCHOOLS in his budget amendments!

Governor Cuomo failed to include funding to raise teachers' salaries so that schools can attract and retain the certified teachers that children with disabilities deserve, in his initial budget proposal.


BUT, the Governor has another chance to be a hero to all of the children we serve and their families.


The Governor and his staff are well aware of the gaping difference between what teachers are paid in school districts and what our schools are able to pay after years of zero tuition growth. They have given a 31% increase to school districts during the same time that they have given a 12% increase to our 853 school-age programs and a 4% increase to our 4410 preschools. It's not hard to imagine why services for the kids with the greatest need are in jeopardy!


Everyone needs to CALL OR WRITE the Governor, your Senator, and your Assemblymember

and tell them:
Saving our schools requires a NEW $18 million in State funds in the Governor’s 30-day amendments to take the first step towards lessening the gap between salaries that school districts pay and what our schools can pay their teachers.


Act NOW or it will be too late!  The Governor’s Budget 21-day amendments are due on February 7th and his 30-day amendments are due on  February 16th!

“I am calling on behalf of the Approved 853 and 4410 Schools for school-age children and preschoolers with disabilities.    Governor Cuomo MUST provide $18 million in his budget amendments to increase teacher’s salaries which are a fraction of what teachers are paid by school districts! This funding is critical to enable these schools to attract and retain teachers and therefore, the State's ability to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education to children with developmental disabilities.  Without teachers, we can not give our children the education they deserve and the State will be in violation of the federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.” 

  1. Governor (518) 474 -1041 and press 2 to speak to an assistant.  If you get no response, you can then press 1 to leave a voice mail. 
  2. Senate switchboard – (518) 455 – 2800 – and ask for your Senator.  You can find your Senator at
The New York State Senate is designed to increase public participation in the legislative process.
      3.  Urge your Senator to Call the Governor and tell him or her to stand up for our children and fund the $18 million . 

      4.  Assembly switchboard (518) 455-4100 – and ask for yourAssemblymember.  You can find your Assemblymember at

New York State Assembly Home

     5.  Urge your Assemblymember to Call the Governor and tell him or her to stand up for our children and fund the $18 million . 


OR To Write Letters:  
Send letters to the Governor at:
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224






DDI’s Children’s Residential Program (CRP) is playing a key role in setting new standards for the care of children in residential settings across the State.  DDI’s CRP is one of three programs in New York officially designated as a Center of Excellence for children with complex disabilities. The press release from the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) describes some of the goals of this grant. 





OPWDD Announces Centers of Excellence

in the Care and Treatment of Children with Complex Disabilities


A Partnership to Improve Information Gathering and Provide More Timely and Cost Effective Approaches in the Care of Children with Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Conditions


The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) today announced a partnership between three not-for-profit agencies, The Center for Discovery (TCFD), Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI), and Upstate Cerebral Palsy (Upstate CP), in the creation of the Centers of Excellence which will address the care and treatment of children with complex disabilities, such as autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions.  This partnership is made possible through an award of federal Balancing Incentive Program (BIP) funding administered through OPWDD, in coordination with the New York State Education Department and the New York State Department of Health. 

The goals of the Centers of Excellence are to launch an intense and coordinated effort aimed at identifying best practices for intervention, conducting research, and developing new treatments and strategies to support children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders in the most integrated setting.  The three separate Centers of Excellence will benefit from the collective intelligence and insights of each member organization and, in turn, work with New York State agencies and other providers.   

“Now that we are better able to identify children and families who need support, we need to better address the supports and systems available and make sure we are better able to meet their complex needs,” said Kerry Delaney, Acting Commissioner of the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities. “This innovative project will address the urgent and fast growing needs of children with autism and other intellectual disabilities and define more effective supports for children and their families. We look forward to working with the three agencies involved in the Centers of Excellence partnership to ensure that more effective and seamless approaches to care are achieved across New York State.”

“This initiative supports and nurtures the cutting edge clinical practices that our Centers have and will develop to support children with complex needs and their families,” said Patrick Dollard, President & CEO of The Center for Discovery.

While progress has been made in identifying children and families who need support, there has been a need for a coordinated effort to provide care and education. The Centers of Excellence will develop an interactive database and other tools to improve information gathering and sharing with federal, state, and local agencies in an effort to provide more timely and cost effective approaches to care. 

Developmental Disabilities Institute Executive Director John Lessard noted, “The funding under this grant is giving our Centers the ability to take current systems supporting our children to an exciting new level, one that will have a significant positive impact on their quality of life and the quality of life of their families.”

“The opportunity to share best practices with our colleagues in other parts of the State as we work toward streamlining our processes is unprecedented in this area, and the staff at all three Centers have been inspired and excited by the possibilities this project presents,” said Louis Tehan, President & CEO of Upstate Cerebral Palsy.

The efforts of the Centers of Excellence will be coordinated through the Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State. 

DDI van wrapped in recruitment advertisement


As part of DDI’s on-going efforts to attract new perspective staff, the workforce development committee came together to create a solution.


The solution had multiple objectives.


Read more: It's a Wrap

Children visiting the CRP holding handmade pillows and bean bags


Developmental Disabilities Institute’s Children’s Residential Program (DDI's-CRP) was welcomed last week by students from the Commack School District. They came with their arms full of handmade pillows and bean bags for the children in the CRP.

Read more: Stuffed with Love