Task Force on Protecting the Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities


The Assembly Republican Conference has also been the leading advocate in Albany for individuals with developmental disabilities. Due to the multitude of issues facing the developmental disability community, including the closing of “Sheltered Workshops” (organizations or environments that employ people with disabilities in a sheltered environment), the Assembly Minority Task Force on Protecting the Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities was established with Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch as the Task Force Chairman.

After holding 11 forums, the Task Force released the Championing Aid, Rights, Equality and Services (CARES) Plan,” designed to address the challenges faced by New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. This plan resulted in the following legislation that is supported by the Assembly Republican Conference:


  • Bill of Rights for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities – Outline the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities in New York. Some of the rights outlined include:

    • The right to be treated with respect,

    • The right to have an appropriate and safe living environment, and

    • The right to make decisions for their lives, including housing choices and work environments (A.2403, Crouch).

  • Wage Study for Direct-Care Workers – Require OPWDD and the DOL to conduct a comprehensive study on wages of direct-care workers, and following the publication of the report, the Governor and Legislature must determine an appropriate base wage for aides to the developmentally disabled (A.1383, Crouch).

  • Service Learning/Internship Program at Sheltered Workshops – Create a service learning/internship program for students enrolled at a State university or  community college to receive academic credit while spending time at sheltered workshops among individuals with developmental disabilities (A.5901, Malliotakis).

  • OPWDD Support Tools for Families and Individuals – Require OPWDD to establish family support navigators to assist families and individuals to navigate the various worlds of insurance, transportation, and healthcare. Furthermore, require OPWDD to post available housing for individuals with developmental disabilities on its website so it is clear not only where housing is available, but also where the greatest need exists throughout the State (A.5882 of 2018, Miller, M.).

  • Tuition Rates for Special Act Schools – Require the Commissioner of Education to set tuition rates for Special Act School Districts and 853 Schools based on the same annual percentage rate increase provided for general support for public schools (A.4130, Ra).

  • Statewide Transportation Study – Require OPWDD and DOT to conduct a study on the availability of transportation for the developmentally disabled, the decision making authority for non-emergency Medicaid transportation, and any unique concerns based on regional issues. A report must be submitted to the Governor and Legislature with the hope of developing solutions in the future (A.4106, Palmesano).