Temporary relief for Monroe County families with early intervention services


    On Thursday, Monroe County Communications Director Jesse Sleezer announced the county will allocate six employees from the Department of Health to focus on intake service coordination. (WHAM photo)

    Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Families in Monroe County who rely on county services to help their children with disabilities heard good news Thursday.

    County officials announced Thursday afternoon that they found a work-around to help them avoid creating waiting lists for the estimated 1,200 children who currently receive Early Intervention services.

    Early intervention services help children with physical, occupational and speech therapy, among other crucial aid.

    New York State repays local agencies less than it costs to provide the special education services. Last month, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said the county blames the state, adding that the broken rate-setting structure is driving providers out of early intervention and jeopardizing families’ access to both direct services and service coordination.

    On Thursday, Monroe County Communications Director Jesse Sleezer announced the county will allocate six employees from the Department of Health to focus on intake service coordination. He cautioned that the solution is very temporary.

    "We found an internal solution to ensure that there is no wait list, to sure that kids are seen in Early Intervention as they always have been - at least the intake and evaluation processes. But the program will not be sustainable long-term until the state takes action," Sleezer said. "There are no ifs, ands or buts about that."

    Sleezer spoke on behalf of Dinolfo, who was in Albany Thursday asking for emergency funding for Early Intervention services.

    13WHAM News has reached out to Governor Andrew Cuomo's office for comment, but have not yet heard back.

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