Over the years IAC has seen a number of trends come and go. Service models such as ICF’s and Sheltered Workshops, once viewed as positive alternatives to institutions, are rapidly being replaced with less restrictive options. Day services, once provided in school-like settings, are now conducted in the community where participants learn life skills in real world settings rather than artificially simulated ones.
Special education programs for children have experienced changes as well. Over the last few years, the team based approach of 'Mommy & Me' early intervention programs has been replaced with itinerant service providers. And while the universal preschool program in New York City fails to provide the necessary services for children with special needs, the special preschool providers find that their funding is sorely inadequate to address the growing need for services. At the same time, special education school programs increasingly see their certified teaching staff being lured away by the public schools who can offer salaries that eclipse the ability of our providers to pay.
Within this constantly changing service environment, providers of services to both children and adults with intellectual / developmental disabilities find the regulatory requirements and restraints imposed on them make their role ever more challenging. At IAC, member agencies have not only an advocate but a source for information and guidance on compliance and fiscal issues. Through its Committee structure, IAC offers its members meaningful support, as well as the opportunity to learn from their peers. And now thanks to technology and video conferencing Associate members, who are located at distances that prohibit their attendance in person, can participate in meetings.
Although education, technical support and training sit at the core of IAC, its heart still lies in advocacy. In addition to utilizing its position with regulatory agencies and the legislature to advocate for its members, IAC assists its members to participate in the advocacy efforts through annual lobbying and other events. Now IAC is acting in concert with four other associations under the banner of NYDA (New York Disability Advocates) to ensure a united message is heard in Albany and beyond.
As the service environment continues to move through its transition to managed care, first with Health Homes Serving Children (HHSC) in December 2016 and then in July 2018 with the initiation of CCO (Care Coordination Organizations) and the eventual introduction of Managed Care for adults with I/DD, IAC members will continue to benefit from the network of relationships that IAC has established with governing agencies and the legislature. And IAC will ensure that the values which have always guided the services provided by our members are not lost along the way.