CP State Annual Art and Photo Contest

CP State will, once again, hold an art contest from which we will produce a commemorative poster. This year, more than ever, we believe it is important that we continue to offer opportunities for the people we support to express themselves through art.


Featuring Artwork by People with Disabilities from CP State Affiliates

We know that it may be more difficult for you this year, but we are asking that each Affiliate select and submit one piece of original artwork created by someone receiving services from your agency.  It must be submitted by the Affiliate. There is no minimum or maximum age. You may submit artwork by children or adults, but please submit just one piece of original artwork per Affiliate.

Please email a high-resolution (at least 240 dpi) picture of your Affiliate’s entry to Bill DeVoe at by September 14, using your Affiliate name and “Art Show” in the subject line. We will display the pieces in a virtual art gallery during our virtual conference October 26-28. A commemorative poster will be printed and sent to affiliates.

Please make sure that we have permission to publicly display the work and the artist’s name.  We ask that you obtain permission to use any of the art on our website or in some of our Conference-related materials. Click here top download the permission form. Please complete the form and send it with the artwork.


We will also conduct a photography exhibit. Make sure to submit work that we have permission to display publicly and on line A permission form is attached.

We would also like to have permission to use any photograph submitted in publications or online.

Please send us a digital version of the photo so that we may incorporate all the entries in the conference materials.

Contact me if you have any questions at (518) 478-4809 or

Senator Carlucci Op-Ed: Thirty Years Later – The Fight for Inclusion and Equality

The following Op-Ed appeared in the July 28, 2020 edition of the River Journal


NYS Senator David Carlucci

On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. Few laws have affected the lives of so many Americans, and even fewer have made such sweeping positive change. Thirty years later, we credit the ADA for improving accessibility—requiring elevators, ramps, and curb cuts. We credit it for reasonable accommodations and revolutionized telecommunications for individuals with hearing and speech disabilities. More than this, the ADA is a civil rights law, which prohibits discrimination often faced by individuals with disabilities. The law was the first step in guaranteeing equal opportunity to employment, housing, education, transportation and more for individuals with disabilities. Thirty years after the ADA’s passage, we celebrate the landmark law, and commit to the necessary reforms still needed to eliminate barriers for individuals with disabilities.

As Chair of the New York State Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, it’s been my goal to ensure equal access to independence, employment, and quality of life improvements for individuals with disabilities. My work has included authoring and passing a number of bills to this end like the NY ABLE Act and the Inspire New York Act. The NY ABLE ACT allows New Yorkers with disabilities to save for expenses related to their disability, without risking their eligibility for Medicaid or Supplemental Security. The Inspire New York Act provides a tax credit to employers who hire individuals with a developmental disability. Further, to help destigmatize disabilities in New York, I worked to update the State’s accessibility logo and remove the word “handicapped” from new or replaced signage. We know despite these reforms, barriers to equality remain in our state.

To help ensure equality, we should start with opposing the proposed $238 million in funding cuts to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). These cuts will harm progress we have made in New York, such as securing Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), who care for our most vulnerable, the pay increases they were promised. DSPs have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic since day one without adequate personal protection equipment, and now they stand to lose salary increases they deserve. With these proposed cuts, essential service providers who offer housing and support services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be gravely impacted, creating ripple effects that hurt those we should be protecting during a pandemic. Rather than slash funding, our federal government should be taking the necessary action to provide funding to States to protect individuals with disabilities.

It’s imperative the federal government work to eliminate barriers for individuals with disabilities by addressing unemployment. Thirty years after the ADA’s passage, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities remains more than double that of their non-disabled peers leaving many in poverty. Under current law, employers can pay sub-minimum wages to workers with disabilities—a predatory and unjust practice. Despite attempts to change the law passing through the U.S. House of Representatives, the law was stopped in the U.S. Senate. On top of that, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) remains inadequately funded, which is supposed to ensure that children with disabilities get the education and training they need to succeed. Ensuring a quality education, regardless of ability, should not be a political matter. These are just a few examples of a seemingly endless list of barriers that stand in the way of true equality for individuals with disabilities. However, these barriers represent a roadmap of actionable items that we must address to continue our progress in the spirit of the ADA’s thirtieth anniversary.

As we commemorate the ADA, we cannot backpedal in the fight for inclusion and equality. We must understand that this law’s passage did not mark an end to this fight, rather, a new beginning. Let’s be alert to the gaps that remain, continue our work to level the playing field, and fight to ensure inclusivity in all aspects of our society.

CP Unlimited welcomes two Columbia Grad School students for fellowship during COVID-19  pandemic

In June, CP Unlimited welcomed 2 students from Columbia University Graduate School of Business for the start of their Summer Fellowship Program.  Stephanie Lin and Li Wang met with CEO Susan Constantino and CFO Tom Mandelkow to share their interests in learning about the services we provide, and their hopes that their projects will provide useful analysis and information to CP Unlimited.

The Governing Board and Management of CP Unlimited would like to thank:

Bruce Usher, Co-Director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise; Elizabeth Strickler ’86 and Mark T. Gallogy ’86 Faculty Director &   Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Business School for sponsoring the students and giving us the opportunity to host the fellows.

Our special thanks to Program Director Ivy Hatsengate for her advice and guidance.


Stephanie Lin’s educational background consists of a double major for Finance and Statistics at NYU. She also has just finished her first year of an MBA at Columbia Business School and will complete her degree May 2021. Her work experience involves 3 years at Deloitte as a data consultant.

Her interest in CP U is giving her new experiences in working with a non-profit entity, particularly specializing in data analytics. Her experience as an intern is definitely helping her become ready for the nonprofit world: a sphere she hopes to work in post-MBA.

Stephanie wrote:

My project is about measuring the ROI of telemedicine. For context, CPU engaged in a telemedicine project since late 2018, and now want to assess if the grant money used to fund it was put into good use.

What I want to learn is what needs to be considered when assessing a project in the nonprofit space. I am used to evaluating the value of things from a for-profit perspective, so this internship is definitely a great learning opportunity for me to understand how nonprofits assess differently.

I hope to bring to CPU my background in data analytics for financial consulting, as well as my first year of an MBA education.


Li Wang recently graduated from Columbia Business School with concentration in Finance and Healthcare Management. She received her bachelor’s degree in economics from Tsinghua University in China. Her focus on healthcare industry for 7 years in Tokyo, Japan involved working as a strategy analyst for Takeda Pharmaceuticals, then as a management consultant for Price Waterhouse Coopers.  Li has accumulated rich experience in business analytics and organizational transformation.

Her project in CPU will be looking at the impact at COVID-19 in an IDD setting. This will give her the experience in looking at the health care industry in US and understand the financial impact of COVID-19 to OPWDD service providers in New York State. She is looking forward to gaining practical skills in risk/crisis management.

Li Wrote:

I am trying to quantify the financial impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the revenues and costs at CP U, and develop forecast of the upcoming years and recommendations for higher operational efficiency.

This project is tremendously helpful for me to understand the services for IDD population, healthcare system in New York and the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and our society.

Hopefully, the project results will bring a bit more visibility of the operations for CP U and be helpful in preparation for any potential crisis.

NYDA hosting July 23 panel with Senator Gillibrand

Register by COB Monday, July 20, for this online panel discussion of our provider system and the proposed OPWDD cuts.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Senator Gillibrand has leading voice for individuals with disabilities and the workforce that serves them. She fought for and secured an increase in the enhanced FMAP and for increases in HCBS waiver funding. 
Join Senator Gillibrand and NYDA members on Thursday, July 23, 11:30 a.m., for this very important discussion on the state of our field.

CFR training sessions to be held July 28-30

The Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), the Office of Mental Health (OMH), the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the Department of Health (DOH) and the Office for Children and Family Services (OCFS) will be conducting three training sessions on completing the July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020 Consolidated Fiscal Report (CFR):

All fiscal employees that feel they may benefit from the Webinars are welcome to attend. As each NYS CFR Agency is separately notifying providers, you may receive more than one announcement regarding this training.

Each session contains different content as noted below.



Start Time

End Time






Getting started, Time to do the CFR, Core Reports





General and Agency Specific Changes/Highlights, Steps to a successful submission, Claiming





COVID-19 Instructions

Use the links below to register for the sessions listed above. Please note that you must register for each individual session that you plan to attend.

Session 1 – Registration –

Session 2 – Registration –

Session 3 – Registration –

After the webinar is completed, a recording of the webinar will be posted for your viewing and a link will be sent out to all registered participants.

Note: Representatives from the State Education Department (SED) will not be present at these training sessions, and information regarding SED programs will not be covered. SED encourages filers to view the CFR on-line training modules located on the Rate Setting Unit’s website at the following address for CFR training guidance:

Visitation at residential programs to resume Friday

Governor Cuomo announced during his daily press briefing that group homes certified by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) may resume visitations at their discretion beginning Friday, June 19. 

Visitors will be required to wear masks and will be subject to symptom and temperature checks. Cuomo indicated that providers must notify the state once they reopen for visitation and follow state guidelines, but the specific details remain unclear. We anticipate further guidance from OPWDD within the week. 

We realize restrictions on visitation put immense emotional strain on loved ones who have been separated for months. The advocacy of CP State and its Affiliates was instrumental in reopening visitation in our residential programs, with appropriate precautions and procedures to ensure the health and safety of the people we support, our staff and communities. 

We thank families for their patience and understanding throughout this challenging time, and staff throughout the state for finding innovative ways to sustain connections between family and friends. 

Click here to read the June 16 OPWDD Commissioner’s message on visitatation.

Randi Rios-Castro to succeed Jill A. Warner as CEO of Jawonio

On June 15, the Board of Directors of Jawonio Inc unanimously approved Associate Executive Director, Randi Rios-Castro, to become the next CEO of Jawonio. Randi will succeed Jill A. Warner, who is retiring on September 30, 2020. Warner will stay on until the end of the year to work on the final stages of the campus revitalization and capital campaign.

“For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to work with Randi on a variety of important agency issues. She continues to impress me with how quickly she has developed a deep knowledge of both the program and the operations areas throughout the organization,” said Michael Algranati Chairman, Jawonio Inc Board of Directors. “At the same time, Randi has begun development of internal systems that will streamline agency processes and procedures. Additionally, Randi has begun to establish important community relationships by working closely with our non-profit, business and government partners on the state and local levels.”

Warner commended Rios-Castro, saying she is “the right person at the right time, who will embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and in doing so, ensure a strong and sustainable future for Jawonio.”

“We’re very proud of Randi,” said CP State CEO and President Susan A. Constantino. “She is a fitting successor to Jill, and we wish them both the best.”

“We are sorry to see Jill Warner go, but Jawonio will be in very capable hands” said CP State Executive Director Mike Alvaro. “Randi will be only the fifth CEO in the agency’s 73-year history, and that is a testament to the quality of their leadership.”

CP State Executive Director Mike Alvaro tapped for SED Reopening Schools Regional Task Force

CP State Executive Director Mike Alvaro has been invited to be on the New York State Education Department’s Reopening Schools Regional Task Force to participate in the Special Education break out session.

The first phase of the Task Force includes four virtual Regional Task Force meetings  with nine break-out sessions: Health and Safety; Transportation, Facilities, and Nutrition; Teaching and Learning; Digital Equity and Access; Budget and Fiscal; Social-Emotional Needs; Bilingual Education/Multilingual Learners/Bilingual Learners; Staffing/Human Resources; and Special Education.

In the coming days, members of the CP State Education Committee will receive a Zoom invitation and detailed agenda for the meetings.

In the second phase, “the Board of Regents and the Department will review and consider the input received at the four Regional Task Force meetings and elsewhere, and use that input to make policy and regulatory changes to help guide schools and school districts in the safe reopening of their schools.”

July ballet workshop cancelled

The dance workshop for children with disabilities scheduled to be conducted by artists from the New York City Ballet in Saratoga Springs this July has been cancelled.

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) will not be conducting their annual classical programs this summer, including performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet, so the ballet company will not be coming to Saratoga Springs for their annual week in residence.

Officials at the NYC Ballet have contacted us and indicated that they expect to be back in Saratoga Springs next July and will plan to conduct a workshop during their week at SPAC. We expect to have specific plans for the 2021 workshop early next year and are excited that we can again work with the NYC Ballet to conduct this wonderful event.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Al Shibley at or Deb Williams at

CP State welcomes Colleen Crispino as President and CEO of UCP Long Island

The Board of Directors of United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Long Island recently appointed Colleen Crispino as President and Chief Executive Officer.

“We are privileged to have someone of Colleen Crispino’s caliber and experience joining us to lead UCP of Long Island,” said Thomas Pfundstein, Board Chair.

Crispino brings a wealth of experience to UCP, with a 25 year demonstrated track record of strong leadership skills including program development, strategic planning, corporate communications, team building and staff  development.

Crispino has a career long passion for enhancing the lives of people with disabilities. She is a seasoned advocate with an extensive history of working collaboratively with elected government officials.

A New York native, she comes to UCP of Long Island with more than two decades of experience working with agencies that provide services to adults and children with disabilities. In her previous role, Crispino was the Chief Program Officer for The Viscardi Center on Long Island. She has held positions as the Assistant Executive Director for ACLD and was the Chief Operating Officer for Head Injury Association.

Crispino has a Master’s of Science in rehabilitation counseling from Hofstra University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston University. She has also worked as an Adjunct Faculty Professor for Hofstra University.

“I look forward to working in partnership with our dedicated board and staff to enhance the lives of those we serve.
Together we can increase our visibility and promote our vital mission in our community and to the businesses of Long Island. The increased community presence will enable us to create a LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS for individuals with disabilities” said Crispino.

“We’re honored to welcome Colleen Crispino to the CP State family,” said CP State CEO and President Susan A. Constantino.

“I’m looking forward to supporting Colleen and UCP Long Island in their mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities,” said CP State Executive Director Mike Alvaro.