OPWDD connects people to the services they need through the Front Door, which is where their person-centered planning process and learning about service options begins.

The Front Door is the point of contact between you and the services you desire and require. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll be guided through a person-centered planning process that will help you learn about and access service alternatives that are tailored to your specific needs and aspirations. Moreover, it will provide you with the opportunity to direct your own service plan or to assist a family member or loved one in the direction of theirs.

In order for The Front Door to function, it must be understood that you, as a person with developmental disabilities, have the right to:

  • Have fulfilling relationships
  • Experience personal growth
  • Give back to your community
  • Live in the house of your choosing

Front Door personnel will guide you through the procedures required in determining whether or not you are eligible for services via the OPWDD, as well as identify your requirements, objectives, and preferences, and assist you in developing a strategy for obtaining those benefits.

At AC Cares we will help guide you and your family through the Front Door and onward to connect with the services that will best serve you and your unique circumstances, so that you and your child can live full and fulfilling lives.

There are several key components or steps involved with Front Door, and we at AC cares can assist you every step of the way. The steps are:

  • Initial contact with the local Front Door regional office
  • Determining whether or not a person is eligible for services
  • Evaluation of one’s own abilities
  • Identifying the need for assistance
  • Authorization and execution of the plan

Initial Contact with Front Door

The first step is to make contact with the Front Door Regional Office nearest you, and attend an orientation session. Front Door offices are located throughout the state, and are divided up by county as follows

Capital Region

The first step is to make contact with the Front Door Regional Office nearest you, and attend an orientation session. Front Door offices are located throughout the state, and are divided up by county as follows

  • Albany
  • Fulton
  • Montgomery
  • Rensselaer
  • Saratoga
  • Schenectady
  • Schoharie
  • Warren
  • Washington

Hudson Valley

Front Door Office Rockland

Front Door Office Orange & Sullivan

Front Door Office Westchester

Front Door Office Upper Hudson Valley – serving the counties of:

  • Columbia
  • Dutchess
  • Greene
  • Putnam
  • Ulster

Central New York, Southern Tier and North Country

Front Door Office Southern Tier – serving the counties of:

  • Broome
  • Chenango
  • Delaware
  • Otsego
  • Tioga
  • Tompkins

Front Door Office Central NY – serving the counties of:

  • Cayuga
  • Cortland
  • Herkimer
  • Lewis
  • Madison
  • Oneida
  • Onondaga
  • Oswego

Front Door Office North Country – serving the counties of:

  • Clinton
  • Essex
  • Franklin
  • Hamilton
  • Jefferson
  • St. Lawrence

Long Island

Front Door Office Long Island – serving the counties of:

  • Nassau
  • Suffolk

New York City

  • Front Door Office Queens
  • Front Door Office Brooklyn
  • Front Door Office Manhattan
  • Front Door Office Bronx
  • Front Door Office Staten Island

Western NY & Finger Lakes

Front Door Office Finger Lakes – serving the counties of:

  • Chemung
  • Livingston
  • Monroe
  • Ontario
  • Schuyler
  • Seneca
  • Steuben
  • Wayne
  • Wyoming
  • Yates

Front Door Office Western NY – serving the counties of:

  • Allegany
  • Cattaraugus
  • Chautauqua
  • Erie
  • Genesee
  • Niagara
  • Orleans

Determining Eligibility for Services

The eligibility evaluation process is the method through which the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) evaluates whether or not you have a developmental impairment or are eligible for supports and services.

The application procedure begins at one of the five Developmental Disability Regional Offices (DDROs) operated by the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) throughout New York State. Medical professionals will perform evaluations of you and your family, and you will be required to provide documents and records as part of the process. Your care manager may be able to assist you with this procedure.

The information you provide will be examined to determine whether or not your handicap satisfies the standards set out by state law in New York. If your application passes the standards, you will be considered eligible for OPWDD services. Please keep in mind that further actions, such as registering in Medicaid, are required in order to get the majority of assistance and services, including Medicaid funded services for special needs.

In certain cases, depending on the intricacy of your disease, you may be required to submit reports from numerous specialized evaluations in order to receive an eligibility determination. Face-to-face interviews may also be conducted as part of the selection process.

Evaluation of Abilities

Next, an assessment is done once you have been found to be eligible for OPWDD services. This examination helps to identify your strengths and needs, as well as any natural or community resources that may be accessible to you. For the time being, the Developmental Disabilities Profile-2 (DDP-2) and the Coordinated Assessment System are the instruments that the OPWDD employs to determine assistance needs.

Developmental Disabilities Profile-2 (DDP-2)

In order to identify the issues that you may be experiencing and to determine your assistance requirements, the OPWDD uses the Developmental Disabilities Profile-2 (DDP-2), a short examination. In the course of the first evaluation process, OPWDD staff will work with you and your family members, if you so want, to complete the DDP-2. In order to do this, OPWDD personnel will ask you questions about your life in order to have a better understanding of your strengths and needs.

Coordinated Assessment System (CAS)

The Coordinated Assessment System (CAS) can help the OPWDD discover your strengths, needs, and interests while also assisting in the development of person-centered plans for your care. It asks several questions about you, such as your living environment, your needs and interests, and your obstacles in order to ensure that you receive the most appropriate service possible. The CAS is now being utilized for anyone who is 18 years of age or older, who has recently become eligible, and/or who is transitioning from school.

Identifying the need for assistance.

Once the assessments have been completed, the individual’s need for assistance will be determined, and a plan developed by their case manager.

Authorization and execution of the plan

The life plan is ready for execution, toward a fuller and more fulfilling life for the individual and their family.