Assembly Announces Budget Includes Funding for Human Services Programs that Support Vulnerable New Yorkers

Speaker Carl Heastie today announced that the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-22 Budget includes critical funding for programs that support children and families, as well as invests in vital mental health, addiction and substance abuse services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives – and has put incredible strain on many New Yorkers who were already struggling,” Speaker Heastie said. “The Assembly Majority is committed to putting families first, and this budget will do that by investing in the programs that will help them when they are most vulnerable.”

“It was more important than ever this year that we make important investments in programs that support our children’s growth and well-being,” Children and Families Committee Chair Andrew Hevesi said. “This year’s budget will do that, as well as ensuring parents have access to quality affordable child care, so they can know their kids are safe when they head back to work.”

“This budget includes important funding for our friends and neighbors while they are at their most vulnerable – struggling with substance use disorders,” Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee Chair Phil Steck said. “These investments in support services will get New Yorkers the prevention, treatment and services they need.”

“The budget we passed will fund critical programs across the state, including housing support, care services and more for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities,” People with Disabilities Committee Chair Thomas J. Abinanti said. “The Assembly Majority will continue to work to ensure our state’s most vulnerable populations have access to the services and resources they need and deserve.”

Children & Families

The American Rescue Plan passed by Congress provided approximately $2.4 billion in federal child care aid for New York State. The budget directs that funding to ensure local social services districts are able to fully fund subsidies provided to eligible families at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level statewide, expands access to priority groups that do not currently receive subsidies, limits copays, provides reimbursement for absences and makes investments in workforce stabilization. This funding would also be used to support child care providers with stabilization grants to cover necessary expenses.

The Legislature restores $69.4 million in local assistance for programs that provide services critical to the wellbeing of New York’s children, including childcare, child welfare services, foster care, adoption subsidies, adult protective and domestic violence services.

The budget would also ensure that funding for foster care agencies received through the federal Paycheck Protection Program does not reduce the agencies’ future maximum state aid rates.

Also included in the approved spending plan are restorations for family support programs, including:

  • $2 million for Safe Harbor;
  • $2.45 million for Settlement House;
  • $1.9 million for Kinship Care; and
  • $1.5 million for Youth Development Program.

Additionally, the spending plan provides critical supports and services to children suffering from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The proposal also expands training for mandated reporters to be able to identify abuse and neglect while interacting with children virtually, as well as providing them with critical skills related to ACEs protocols to reduce racial biases.

The budget also prevents youth in foster care from aging out of care during the pandemic, and grants the authority for local social service districts to receive foster care maintenance payments during the youth’s additional time in care. Additionally, the provision allows for reentry of youths who were discharged from care during the pandemic to voluntarily reenter and remain in care.

Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the mental health of many New Yorkers. The approved funding plan provides critical funding for mental health services through the Office of Mental Health (OMH) including restoring $17.2 million for local assistance payments for non-residential programs under the OMH, as well as providing $1 million for Crisis Intervention Teams and $1 million to create a suicide prevention program for high risk individuals, including Latina adolescents, Black youth, members of the LGBTQ community and rural communities.

The spending plan requires the OMH and Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) to establish crisis stabilization centers and arrange crisis intervention training and mental health first aid training for law enforcement and first responders, mobile crisis teams, and other alternative or innovative approaches in relation to community-based public safety crisis response.

The budget includes $8 million to the Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center, preserving 15 in-patient beds and 75 full-time jobs, as well as $4 million to preserve 100 residential beds at state-operated facilities and 50 full-time jobs.

Many veterans return home from their service and struggle with their mental health. The budget funds the Dwyer Veteran Peer-to-Peer Services at a total of $5 million.

Addiction & Substance Abuse

The approved budget would create a $32 million fund to support treatment and prevention of opioid use disorder, including funding to support medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in correctional facilities. The funding would be provided from the opioid settlement with McKinsy and Company, Inc.

Additionally, the proposal would restore:

  • $5 million for MAT in local jails;
  • $3.48 million and provide an additional $2 million to fund Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Specialist (SAPIS) in New York City, for a total of $5.4 million;
  • $3.2 million in funding for OASAS HIV Early Intervention Services;
  • $1.875 million for the Jail-based Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Transition Services Program;
  • $1.2 million for the College Coalition Intervention Program; and
  • $826,000 for outpatient rehabilitation services.

Office of People with Developmental Disabilities

The budget provides $72.4 million for the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to create new service slots, including an expansion of certified housing supports, community habilitation, respite services, housing subsidies, self-direction of services and an expansion of day programs and employment options.

The spending plan would add:

  • $26.9 million for residential management within OPWDD;
  • $20.8 million for Care Coordination Organizations rates;
  • $12 million for local assistance programs for non-Medicaid payments;
  • $10.5 million in funding for the fee-for-service Medicaid rate; and
  • $1 million for the Institute for Basic Research.

COLA

The budget includes $51 million for human services cost of living adjustments (COLAs) across the OPWDD, OASAS, OMH, Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (OTDA). This includes COLAs for direct care workers.