Southern Tier Connect helps developmentally disabled

Local News

There’s a new agency working to assist the disabled and their families in our community.

Southern Tier Connect is a care coordinator for the developmentally disabled.

Under the direction of the federal government, New York State has authorized Southern Tier Connect to work with clients and their families to access services from finding a job or learning social skills to securing housing or accessing specialty medical treatment.

Springbrook, the Family Enrichment Network, JM Murray in Cortland and Delaware Opportunities partnered to create the organization earlier this year.

Executive Director Meghann Andrews-Whitaker says agencies like Springbrook used to offer both services and care coordination, but that the government saw that as a conflict of interest.

She says the new model provides an enhanced level of coordination.

“We would help them with the supported employment, we would help them with housing and that sort of thing.  Now, we really are focusing on all domains.  We’re looking at mental health and physical health and the whole person rather than just those social determinants,” Andrews-Whitaker says.

She says the new model also makes it easier for the developmentally disabled to remain living with their families.

Southern Tier Connect is one of seven care coordinators in the state and one of three operating in our region.

Connect covers a 14 county area stretching from Utica to Elmira.

It’s planning a family open forum on November 19th at the Springbrook office at 199 State Street in Binghamton.

For more information on its services, go to SouthernTierConnect.org.

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