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News, Notes and Events

Visit this page often to stay apprised of current news and events. Use our submission form to suggest news or events for inclusion on the Multiple Systems Navigator.



Coronavirus : Information and Resources

We wanted to let you know that resources from New York State are available to help answer your questions and concerns.

New York State Department of Health has set-up a 24/7 hotline to answer any of your Coronavirus-related questions. To reach them, please call 1-888-364-3065. You can find the latest information at their resource site:

New York State Department of Labor is working tirelessly to handle incoming claims. If you have been unable to get through our phone and/or online system this week, please keep trying. Once filed, all benefits will be retroactive to the day you were out of work. For more information, please contact 1-888-4-NYSDOL (888-469-7365). Or visit Below are some helpful tips. 


New York State Office of Mental Health - If the pandemic is impacting your mental health or creating anxiety - there are resources available to help. Please contact the our Emotional Support Hotline: 1-844-863-9314. Or visit

Isolation can be dangerous. If you're experiencing domestic violence during this unprecedented time, critical services are available for you and your family.

If you are in immediate danger - call 9-1-1. If you need help with how to be safe, please call the New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906. 

Below are additional resources:

  • Price Gouging hotline: 1-800-697-1220.
  • If you believe an employer is in violation of either existing labor laws or recently issued executive orders, please contact the New York State Attorney General's Office at (212) 416-8700 or
  • For information regarding State business regulations and general guidance related to the coronavirus, please visit Empire State Development (ESD) FAQ'S at coronavirus-faq-businesses.
  • If your question is not answered there, please contact ESD at our website at: help.

As the Governor mentioned this week, it's not the easy times that forge character, it's the tougher times - and no one is tougher than New Yorkers.

Please stay safe, stay in, and stay healthy.

Lieutenant Governor

Kathy Hochul



Caregiver Support Program

ProActive Caring Program

As we are all navigating these present times - there are tools, resources and supports that can be helpful. We have sent this message out to the individuals, families, community-based agencies and social-media sites that are involved in our statewide ProActive Caring Program funded by the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (NYS DDPC). The ProActive Caring Program provides Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) strategies and training to individuals, families and staff.

In times of stress - internal or external - staying in the moment with a focus on one breath at a time - can be calming and reassuring. We ask that you take a glimpse at the information we have shared with you ( about the “ProActive Caring Program” and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), with an intent on: “staying in the moment."

Stress is a learned response and it can be unlearned. By using simple but powerful techniques of breathing and imagery, all things are manageable. We know it works - and so will you!

Be stress free


Also, here is the link to a Zoom-Cast that we created this week. The title is: “Pro-Active Caring - School Exchange”. This format will be created on a weekly basis on Wednesday at 10 am - the future video formats will run for 15 minutes and then open for questions, thoughts and exchanges.

The intent is to immediately be available for Parents, Families and Staff - to provide resources, presence and support.

Please feel free to share this link throughout your networks. Also, please feel free to contact us at 845-569-3164.

Be safe. Thanks.


Best wishes,

Larry Force, Jeffery Kahana, and Elaine Sproat

The Center on Aging and Disability Policy



SAMHSA | Quick Guide to Some Resources

SAMHSA has a number of resources to assist you in getting help, access treatment, and connect to a crisis counselor.

They include:

Millions of Americans have a substance use disorder. Find a treatment facility near you.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Free and confidential support for people in distress, 24/7.


Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator

Find treatment facilities confidentially and anonymously, 24/7.


National Helpline

1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Treatment referral and information, 24/7.


For those who prefer texting/social media (Facebook Messenger) to seek help. This resource is supported mostly by private companies such as Netflix and YouTube.

Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text


from anywhere in the US to text with a trained Crisis Counselor. Crisis Text Line trains volunteers to support people in crisis.


Visit www.samhsa.gov1-877-726-4727



NYS Office of Mental Health Guidance


NYS Office of Mental Health encourage you to check out our guidance released. Here, you can find all guidance, including the COVID-19 related guidance from OMH.

If you have any questions related to how your agency should proceed with specific aspects of operation during COVID-19 interruptions, please submit to




Coronavirus and The Recovery Community

As we all continue to navigate our way through this pandemic and abide by the Governor's guidelines of social-distancing for the safety of ourselves, our families and others, FOR-NY continues in working to bring you updated COVID-19 information and how it may affect the Recovery Community statewide.

We have added a special page to our website that can be accessed through this link or when you visit our website at, you will find it in a tab on the top right titled "COVID-19 Information."  Here you will find online recovery resources, the latest updates from OASAS, the NYS Governor, as well as CDC guidelines.

We will be updating this information regularly so be sure to visit often and use this as a resource tool as needed.

We are in this together!



Coronavirus - Resources for Parents

The NYS Parent Portal ( has launched a "Coronavirus - Resources for Parents" web page with parenting tips, activities and information on how to talk to your children about the Cornavirus.



Partner Webinar Series on the Power of Peer Support

Partner Webinar Series on the Power of Peer Support: Integrating Peer Support to Expand the Workforce for Individuals with Behavioral Health Challenges

The steady climb of individuals in jails and prisons with behavioral health disorders has ignited a deeper dive to understand the use of peer support to reduce recidivism, homelessness, unemployment, and instability. Whether part of the formal process or simply as a matter of people building relationships in peer support groups, the notion of one-to-one peer support is central. Peer support groups and forensic peers, individuals who have been involved in the criminal justice system, provide a variety of support activities specifically aimed to help with re-integration and maintaining positive community involvement.

The peer support specialist works from the context of recovery, frequently utilizing language based upon common experience rather than clinical terminology, and person-centered relationships to foster strength-based recovery. The core principles of peer support create a longer and competent role of recovery for individuals.

Part One: March 30, 2020, 1:30 p.m. ET

Part I - This series will provide an overview of this topic to include community engagement, the benefits of employing persons with lived experience, and expanding the workforce, including non-traditional ways to utilize peers.


  • Gwen Whiting, Everyday Democracy: Community engagement with a racial-equity lens
  • Maegan-Charjoi Pringle, Mental Health America: The benefits of employing persons with lived experience, expanding the workforce and non-traditional ways to utilize peers
  • Rosie Anderson, Missouri Department of Mental Health: Wrap up 


Part Two: April 20, 2020, 1:30 p.m. ET

Part II - This series will delve into the practical application of using persons with lived experience in pre-arrest diversion, during incarceration, and for reentry-related services.


  • Justin Volpe, Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida: Using persons with lived experience in preventative measures—prearrest diversion
  • Jill Mays, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities: Using persons with lived experience during incarceration
  • Kasey Moyer, Mental Health America: Using persons with lived experience for reentry 


This webinar will be hosted by Policy Research, Inc., in support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge.

Location: Webinar
Date: March 30, 2020
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET



Support Resources - During COVID-19 Period

National Parenting Education Network (NPEN)

Resources to support parents, children, families and caregivers during current Coronavirus period. Information was shared at a recent NPEN Zoom meeting. 



Resources for Helping Parents and Children around Coronavirus

Understanding coronavirus and how germs spread (for kids),-Caring-for-Your-Kids/


Platform for Running Virtual Online Classes 


Podcast for Recognizing, Respecting and Allowing Children’s Healthy Emotions 

“Unruffled" by Janet Lansbury


Activities Parents Can Do With Kids is a great web site for cooking with kids



For Parents Who Are at a Distance From Their Children (e.g. co-parenting)

"Moms over Miles" and "Dads at a Distance" have good suggestions and ideas for activities that may be useful especially for parents not together.



Juvenile Law Center: New COVID-19 Resource



Here is a link to our latest resource, a publication written in conjunction with our partners at The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice and SchoolHouse Connection.

Beyond the Food Pantry: COVID-19 Response for Students Who Are Homeless or With Experience in Foster Care is meant to be a resource for caseworkers, social workers, students themselves, and those who care about them in these difficult times. We hope you will read and share in your networks.

We will continue to advocate for youth in the child welfare and justice systems facing unique challenges with the current situation.




NYS Updates on Coronavirus

NY State Updates on Coronavirus and Operation of Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs

Hunger Solutions New York is following the development of emergency plans for the continued operation of federal nutrition programs as New York communities work to slow the spread of COVID-19.

School Meals

NYS Education Department Guidance: "Operating Child Nutrition Programs when Schools are Closed due to COVID-19" encourages schools to prepare now to be able to continue to provide “critical support services” like school meals in the event of a school closure.  Highlights include: 

  • School districts and sponsors in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) may provide reimbursable meals to low-income children during school closures related to COVID-19.
  • To provide meals to children in areas affected by school closures, schools must complete a one page application and submit to for review and approval, prior to commencing meal operations.
  • Upon Child Nutrition’s approval of their application, schools may provide up to two meals per day per child through the SFSP or the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) of the National School Lunch Program.  
  • Meals may be provided and consumed at schools or other locations in the community or provided for consumption at home. 
  • This memo also includes a Q&A to clarify guidance for operating child nutrition programs when schools are closed due to COVID-19.

We encourage any school with questions to please contact your Child Nutrition Program Representative directly, or email if you have additional questions or concerns.


On March 12th, OTDA issued a notice on COVID-19 to social service districts.  
Highlights include:

  • No waivers and no special provisions have been approved or offered to the states in the operation of SNAP, and the program continues to operate normally. Local social service districts should continue to plan to ensure safe and continuous access to SNAP.
  • Local districts are reminded of the requirement to grant good cause when a participant's failure to meet program requirements is due to factors beyond the participant’s control. The COVID-19 pandemic may result in the inability of individuals to attend agency appointments, including work activity assignments, due to factors such as lack of transportation, lack of child-care, or worksite closures.

Districts are reminded that telephone interviews at both application and recertification are permissible for all SNAP households and are encouraged to utilize or implement this process. For SNAP cases due for recertification, districts also have the option to extend the certification period up to the maximum allowable certification period of 12 or 24 months, or up to 48 months for NYSNIP cases.

These additional websites are providing updated information as it becomes available.

As a statewide organization dedicated to alleviating hunger, our mission is more important than ever. We will continue to keep you updated on developments.



Guidance for NYS Home and Community Based Services and Health Homes

COVID-19 Outbreak

Image result for coronavirus

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is providing this guidance to New York State Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) providers serving children/youth under the 1915(c) Children’s Waiver, pertaining to the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

Please click learn more to view the Guidance documents fo HCBS providers and Health Homes, and visit the Novel Cornoavirus Information for Providers page for additional information. It is important that providers continue to monitor the Department of Health website and all Medicaid Updates, as the situation is changing rapidly.

Thank you for your dedication and commitment to serving our most vulnerable Medicaid members.



Talking with Children about Novel Coronovirus

With the spread of the Coronavirus and other types of diseases on people's minds, parents, teachers, and clinicians are looking to find ways to calm the anxiety and the best preventative measures to teach children. What if your child is diagnosed with anxiety/OCD and is already washing “too much”? Or maybe your child with ADHD is impulsive and can’t stop touching and does not easily follow directions? What happens when these preventative measures cause more hurt than help for children with Anxiety, OCD, ASD or ADHD?

In this 1-hour webinar, Dr. Lori Evans and Dr. Kathleen Camacho will focus on how to help children cope with the Coronavirus information when diagnosed with behavioral disorders and will provide ideas by diagnosis and developmental level.



Manage Anxiety and Stress

Coronavirus Disease 2019 - CDC


The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.  How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and  the community you live in.

People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use

Click the Learn More Link below for tips for parents, responders, people who have been released from quarantine, and links to additional resources.



Reaching Underserved Students with Breakfast After the Bell

Hunger Solutions New York has released its annual statewide report, Bridging the Gap: Reaching Undeserved Students with Breakfast After the Bell. The report, which includes state and district-level statistics for New York State’s public schools, is based on 2018-19 school year data. The report analyzes school breakfast participation to provide a better understanding of, and potential solutions for, the state’s historically stagnant participation in free and reduced-price school breakfast.

Help us educate and spread the message about the power of school breakfast. Please share this report with your networks and on your social channels. Together we can make a difference in making sure more low-income children have access to the nutrition they need for their health and learning.

Read Our Press Release Here



Welcome to Text4Caregivers

With funding from the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, Parent to Parent of NYS is pleased to introduce our latest initiative, Text4Caregivers. Text4Caregivers is a free text service that distributes timely and relevant self-care and stress-management support via text messaging. As a caregiver, you take care of others; this service exists to remind you to take care of you.

To get started and receive free self-care text messages, fill out this online signup form:

Questions? Contact our Project Director, Valerie Colavecchio :



Con el apoyo del consejo de planeamiento de discapacidades en el desarrollo, Parent to Parent of NYS desea hacerles saber de nuestro nuevo programa, Text4Caregivers.

Text4Cargivers es un servicio de mensajeria gratuito que se le enviara a su telefono celular frecuentemente, con mensajes de como tener cuidado de su persona y como manejar el estres.   Este servicio esta creado para recordarle que antes de cuidar a otros, usted debe cuidarse primero.

Le invitamos a ser parte de este nuevo programa. Por favor registrese online en el siguiente link:

Preguntas? Comuníquese con nuestra Coordinadora de Familias Hispanas, Angela Picardo :




What's Great in Our State

Click here to download nomination form.

Deadline is February 24, 2020.

Please send your nomination form or questions to Kate Provencher:

Location: Glen Sanders mansion - Scotia, New York
Date: May 5, 2020
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.



Hunger Solutions New York - WIC

Do you need to connect or can you help connect pregnant women, new moms, infants and children under age 5 with the New York State WIC program?

WIC provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, nutrition education, and breastfeeding promotion and support to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. WIC helps non-maternal caregivers, who can apply for WIC for children under age 5 in their care, too.

There have been some exciting changes to WIC recently, yet statewide, the NYS Department of Health estimates that we are reaching only approximately one-half of potentially eligible New Yorkers.

For a limited time, Hunger Solutions New York is providing professionally printed outreach materials available on WIC Help NY’s Resource Center to statewide partners and community organizations to bulk order, free of charge.

Complete this online tool to order your free outreach and resource materials and help nourish more women, infants and children in your area.



Free File Options for New York State

If you (or someone you know) will be reporting income of $69,000 or less on your 2019 personal income tax return, you may be able to electronically prepare and file your income tax returns for free.



To make sure you aren't charged a fee, visit Free File your income tax return from the New York State Tax Department's website to access Free File software for both federal and state returns.




  • E-filing is the fastest and easiest way to file your return.
  • Online tax software is safe and secure.
  • Most e-filers get their refunds two weeks sooner than paper filers.


Resources for individuals



Governor Announced $20 Million Funding for 2020 Census Outreach Efforts


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced local governments can apply for their shares of the $20 million in funding made available in the FY 2020 State Budget and designated to help make sure every New Yorker is counted in the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census. The Funding is part of the State's $60 million outreach effort that also includes up to $40 million from existing resources that leverages the outreach capacity of dozens of State agencies and public authorities.

Click here for our newsletter and additional resources for the 2020 Census!




Announcing Podcast from MHDD

Mental Health Crossroads

An exploration of the many intersections between mental health issues and intellectual and developmental disabilities. You are invited to learn more about these issues from our monthly interview episodes with professionals, self-advocates, and experts.



NYS Office of Mental Health: Searching For Interagency Facilitators

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and its partners have been conducting follow up on the 2018 System of Care (SOC) Summit recommendations identified by statewide participants.  One request was for the state to support continued implementation and maintenance of SOC efforts statewide. Toward that end, the NYS SOC Pilot has engaged Policy Research Associates to design a curriculum to be used in local SOC planning efforts. 

The agency seeks up to 60 seasoned trainers/facilitators to facilitate day-long action planning events for local SOC teams.

Please click here for more details. Make the nomination Today! 


Suggest News or an Event?

Do you have relevant news or an event you would like posted to this site? Please be sure to include all relevant information. Click the button below to send us a posting request.

Developed by the Council on Children and Families and Funded by the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council