512 West State StOlean, NY 14760p: 716-373-4602f: 716-373-4604
2626 West State StSuites 202,208,212Olean, NY 14760p: 716-379-8670f: 716-806-1147
55 E. Fassett LaneWellsville, NY 14895p: 585-296-3408f: 585-296-3499
Directions in Independent living, Inc. (DIL) is a center dedicated to offering limitless opportunities to all people with disabilities. We are a person-centered, peer advocacy organization where choice is paramount to the needs of our consumers. Choice and responsibility are essential to all people with disabilities gaining better acceptance, inclusion, and empowerment in their lives and in their communities.Please call or drop in to Directions if you need assistance or just would like to come in and introduce yourself to us and find out what Directions in Independent Living is all about. Consumers choosing and directing their own lives is our goalLenny X. Liguori, CEO
Directions in Independent Living, located in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties in the Southern Tier of New York State, is driven to help individuals with disabilities live with greater dignity and independence in their personal lives and as active members in the community. Our staff’s high quality professional, focused, person-centered, and compassionate response to those requiring one-on-one care had helped thousands develop vital real-life skills to achieve greater independence.Our collaborative team relationship with medical and social work professionals ensures the multi-faceted needs of our individuals are met with the highest standards of care available.Directions serves individuals with cognitive, mental health, physical, visual and hearing impairments, including sensory or multiple disabilities related to age, blindness or disability and their families, regardless of economic standing. We provide Medicaid and non-Medicaid services.Directions was begun in 1989 to provide professional support for individuals with disabilities and advocate on their behalf for equal civil rights, increased accessibility to community services and programs, and greater real independence. This on-going activism has resulted in significant changes in Olean. We are here to help you find solutions to concerns you may have. Feel free to call us.
Learn more about the myriad programs and services at Directions, all offered with the goals of Accept. Include. Empower.Click on the Service name in the list below to learn more about that program, and to contact the program’s Coordinator or Manager
Health Homes of Upstate New York (HHUNY) is a Care Coordination resource to help Coordinate care and service providers, Advocate on your behalf, Navigate the health care system and local resources, Link to essential services, and help you Learn about available options for your overall health and well-being. This includes not only medical, mental health, and substance abuse services, but also the social service needs of an individual as well. Eligibility to enter the program is age 18 and over, have active Medicaid, and one or more of the following: two (or more) chronic conditions, HIV/AIDS, one or more serious mental illnesses, plus: significant behavioral, medical or social risk factors which can be address through Care Coordination.
Children’s Health Homes of Upstate New York (HHUNY)
Available in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties
Children’s Health Homes of Upstate New York (CHHUNY) offers family driven, youth guided Care Coordination that builds on individual and family strengths and ensures families have a “voice and choice,” at every stage. A Care Coordinator can advocate for, collaborate with and provide access to the available services an individual needs to promote and maintain overall health and well-being. Eligibility requirements are to be 21 or under, enrolled in Medicaid, and have one or more of the following: two (or more) chronic conditions, diagnosed Severe Mental Illness (SMI), Severe Emotional Disturbance (SED) or HIV. Pending approval from CMS, “trauma, and at risk for another chronic condition” will be added to these eligibility criteria.
This program provides Care Coordination Services to adults with mental illness who do not qualify for Medicaid. To be eligible for this program an individual must live in Cattaraugus County, have significant mental health issues, and does not have Medicaid but can have Medicare or third party insurance to qualify. This program’s mission is to avert repeat hospital emergency room visits in Cattaraugus County.
Our agency provides advocacy services for adults with disabilities transitioning from the hospital and/or incarceration back into community living. The advocate can assist with benefit advisement, locating doctors, housing, and for Food Stamp (SNAP) benefits. This program can also facilitate support groups upon request.
This program developed in collaboration with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Western New York provides mobile supportive services to 100 at risk youth/young adults (aged 10-25) and their families who reside in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. The program focuses on a reduction of behavioral and physical health needs of youth and gives support to their families in their communities.
The Rep Payee program ensures that SSI/SSDI consumers who need assistance with their finances have their basic housing and medical needs managed each month in order to maintain safety and security. After basic housing and medical needs are paid, any surplus funds are provided to the consumers in a weekly Personal Needs Allowance (PNA). There is a $45.00/month fee for the Rep Payee service. Available in the following counties: Allegany, NY, Cattaraugus, NY. McKean, PA. and Potter, PA.
Directions offers various services regarding accessibility issues for businesses, public buildings, schools, churches, and homes. Some of the services include accessibility studies on-site, consultation on ramp design and placement, as well as advisement on residential interior accommodations such as bathrooms.
This program assists individuals with all types of disabilities to understand all areas of the Social Security Administration. Advocacy in completing Social Security applications (SSI/SSD), compiling medical records for review, Work Incentive Programs, over payment issues, and in understanding the denial and appeal process.
The Youth and Family Special Education Coordinator provides advocacy to youths and their families during the special education process within the school district. This coordinator is able to attend CSE meetings to help the family and the school district come together in a positive way. This program is also affiliated with United Way of Cattaraugus to provide social events and group activities to youth in the catchment area.
OPWDD (Office for People with Developmental Disabilities) Services
Our agency serves people with developmental disabilities under OPWDD in multiple ways. We provide Transition Services, Transportation Services, a recreational dance program, Community Habilitation and assist individuals and families obtain OPWDD eligibility. We also facilitate OPWDD Front Door sessions throughout the year.
Deb Coble– Developmental Disability Program Manager
This program works towards increasing independence, while focusing on 2-3 specific goal areas the individual would like to improve. Each individual is assigned a one on one Com Hab Specialist (or CHS) they work with on a weekly basis. Typically the CHS would work with their individuals 2-3 times per week, totaling anywhere from 2-15 hours a week (depending on approval from OPWDD). The main purpose of their time with their CHS is to work towards the goals they have set for themselves, while increasing independence in all areas of their lives, and receiving support and assistance from their CHS. Three of our most common goals areas: Socialization, Overall Health and Wellness and Money Skills."
This program provides transition services to youth and young adults ages 14-25 with developmental disabilities. Services include working one on one or in a group on higher education, independent living skills, and employment readiness skills. This program is provided in Allegany and Cattaraugus counties.
This recreational dance program is for individuals 12 and older, have a developmental disability, and are OPWDD eligible. While it normally occurs 3 Saturday’s a month, it is currently on hold until we find a new location to hold classes.
This program provides transportation services to individuals with OPWDD eligibility that live in Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties. This service can be used for any travel needed by the individual such as a medical appointment or to a shopping center. This program also provides travel vouchers for local taxi and ride sharing companies. Appointments must be made a few days in advance.
Compeer is a friendship program that matches volunteers from the community with persons receiving treatment for mental health. Participants must be referred to this program by their mental health provider. The volunteer is cleared through background checks, references, and fingerprints, as well as completes training before meeting with their participant.
The PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer to Peer Programwas created to help veterans meet with other veterans in a secure, comfortable atmosphere to help each other cope with effects of PTSD and TBI. The Vet to Vet, Peer to Peer approach allows for complete anonymity without fear of reprisal. The program goal is to link veterans in Cattaraugus County together through socialization, friendship, and peer support in a non-clinical setting.
Allegany/ Cattaraugus County Veteran Peer to Peer Program
Available in Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties
Our new veteran’s program is about bringing veterans together in social settings and community events. We want to bring veterans together to feel the camaraderie they had while serving, along with bringing veteran families together for support. Our goal is not to counsel but to provide peer support and linkage to the community.
NY Connects is a point of entry to resources, long term services and support systems for people of all ages and needs. Anyone - individuals, concerned family members, friends, or professionals – can access NY Connects for help in finding the information, services, and supports they need. Independent Living Specialists can also assist with various referrals. Both short and long term services and supports can be provided in the home or in community-based or residential settings to help someone stay healthy and independent.
Michele Smucinski – Cattaraugus County Department of Aging, NY Connects - Independent Living Specialist
Olean County building, One Leo Moss Drive, Olean, NY 14760
Victoria Kearns, DIL - Drum beats rocked Olean's War Veterans Park on September 29 for about 20 people from Direcction's Compeer, Transitions and Together We Thrive programs. While some kept up with the drums better than others, together the group synchronized to the rhythmic drum beats led by Rich Schuler of Jamestown Thunder Drums.Huge thanks to Rich for an awesome afternoon.
Candi Foster, CHUNNY lead Care Coordinator, shows a tattoo that reminds of her life-long commitment to help children of abuse.
Healing the Broken Child
Healing the Broken Child
Child abuse is heartbreaking. It is a tragic reflection of the sad state of depravity that lurks in the shadows of our society. Without professional care, the inescapable terror a child experiences remains deeply imprinted in the child’s subconscious, continuing to wound the child’s self-esteem and limiting their ability to live their dreams and achieve success. Directions in Independent Living in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties offers a multi-systemic approach to supporting children who have been abused. Professionals offer a healing path for children, youth, and adults struggling with behavioral issues, stemming from early life abuse“We use a trauma-informed approach in providing care,” Sue Hannon, Directions’ Mental Health Program Manager, said, adding the agency is involved with the Trauma Informed Care Coalition in Cattaraugus County. “All our providers are aware of the principles involved in setting up trauma-informed care. We know adversechildhood experiences (ACES)have an impact on a child’s future health, both behavioral and physical,” Hannon said. By affirming the child’s self-esteem through using trauma-informed principles which include listening and peer-to-peer support, Direction’s Care Coordinators bolster a child suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, stemming from the abuse. Candi Foster, Direction’s lead Care Coordinator of the Child Health Home of Upstate New York, CHHUNY, works with children and youth with mental and behavioral health issues. Her caseload of 30 children often includes children who were abused.“I affirm, listen, encourage and empower,” Foster said. “That’s what they need. They need that person, that somebody, to tell them what they’re worth. If they don’t have someone to tell them what they’re worth, they’ll continue to hear the abuser’s voice in their heads.”In one of her many cases, she supported a mom who has a son, 16, who abused his younger brother, 12. That older son, was one of Foster’s CHHUNY cases. (Some of the details of the case are excluded for the family’s privacy.)“The son who did the abusing had been abused. The mom was having a difficult time. I supported her through the whole ordeal.”First, Foster contacted the Child Advocacy Center and called for an investigation into the abuses.“Then, later, after her son returned after nine months in a treatment facility, I was able to sit with the mom and help her process. The abuser had been able to work through what had been done to him and what he had done to his younger brother,” she said. “But the younger son had not been able to work through what had been done to him by his brother because COVID prevented him from getting counseling.”Foster offered a listening presence, understood the deep pain the mother was experiencing, and affirmed the entire family, allowing them all the space and support in which they could grieve and heal. As a child abuse survivor herself, Foster brings a “wounded healer” approach to working with individuals immersed in the complicated web and pain of abuse.In another case, Foster supported a young girl who was treated unfairly. She used her own healing to support the child.“I wanted her to realize she did nothing wrong to be treated as she was,” Foster said, adding she empowers the children by helping them see the abuse is not their fault. “I understood how she felt and now I fight for the children that are abused and unfairly treated. I showed her my tattoo and told her when she grows up to be the kind of person she needed when she was young. I told her to fight for all she sees that is unfair. I think that really helped her. It empowered her with a sense of purpose.”Another program offered by Directions which supports adults, some of whom have been abused as children, is Southern Tier Recovery Advocacy Without Walls (STRAWW), funded by Recovery Options Made Easy. The community-based program has two advocateswho meet with individuals struggling with a range of issues by combining active listening and peer-to-peer support. While Directions’ STRAWW program is geared toward adults, many still carry the emotional scars of childhood abuse. There is also a STRAWW program offered for youth by Recovery Options Made Easy. “Peer-to-Peer is huge,” Foster said. She worked with the STRAWW program for five years prior to coming to Directions CHHUNY program where she has worked for four years. “When kids realize others have gone through what they’ve gone through, they feel so much better.”“When they realize they can be more than what the abuser told them, they’re free. That’s when they begin to heal.”The Together We Thrive program, funded through a grant from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield Blue Fund, offers peer-to-peer support groups for people from age 10 to 25. Emily Sullivan is director of the program which is meeting via zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic.CoCo & Chill (Together We Thrive Program) is offered in three separate age groups which include a Social Group for ages 10 and up (designed for students who may benefit more from social connection and special attention, rather than instruction), which meets on Zoom from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. on Mondays; a Teens Group for ages 13-17 which meets from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays; and an Adults Group for individuals who are out of school and are ages 17-25 from 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. Mondays.In Cattaraugus County, 520 children experienced abuse in 2019 reflecting almost 30 percent of 1,000 children are abused. In Allegany County, 270 children were abused in 2019 and abuse rate is 28 percent of 1,000 children. The national average is 17 percent. Data is from the KWIC County Report: https://www.nyskwic.org. In New York State, 67,269 children were abused in 2019, according to the latest data available.https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/report/child-maltreatment-2019For information about Directions’ programs in Cattaraugus County, please contact Sue Hammon, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716-373-4602; in Allegany County, please contact Nancy Kehl email@example.com or call 585-296-3408. Directions in Independent Living, Inc. is grateful for United Way of Cattaraugus County grant funding which benefits agency youth programming
GENERAL DUTIESCare Managers provide outreach and enrollment services to children presumed to meet eligibility requirements of New York State’s Children’s Health Home program. They gather assessments and enter documentation that confirms eligibility and identifies areas requiring supportive services. They work with children, families and service providers to create a comprehensive Plan of Health Care, identify additional service providers as necessary, and coordinate the continuing involvement of families and service providers in the execution of the plan. Care Managers document progress and arrange for eventual transition between health homes as necessary, or from health homes to other levels of service following changes in eligibility.QUALIFICATIONSBA in Human Services with 2 years relevant experience, OR RN with 2 years relevant experience, ORMA with 1 year experience COMPETENCIES•Relevant experience in serving children and families in child welfare, developmental disabilities, behavioral health, primary health care, or social services.•Experience coordinating and participating in team settings.•Solid writing and verbal communication.•Work effectively and knowledgeably across a broad spectrum of cultural, ethnic, and racial communities.•Ability to work in an effective and focused manner when self-directed and beyond immediate oversight. •Ability to deliver family-driven, youth-guided services.Each Care Management Agency will ensure that its teams include Care Managers with experience with a range of special populations, to include experience with children/youth with substance abuse and/or complex medical conditions. RESPONSIBILITIES•Document all case activity, including outreach, consent development and assessment, plan de-velopment, client progress and transition arrangements.•Administer CANS-NY, updating periodically.•Develop a comprehensive, family-driven youth-guided Plan of Health Care.•Inventory and coordinate existing services relevant to the Plan of Care, identifying and secur-ing additional services as appropriate.•Convene and conduct quarterly meetings to review progress, update POCs, and confirm con-tinuing client eligibility.•Provide education to family and child concerning the nature and desired effect of services, along with information concerning conditions being treated.•Assist families and children in the acquisition and maintenance of public benefits e.g., finan-cial, educational, social, and community services.•Provide Health Home services for children with medium and high acuity needs, including at least two services per month, with at least one of those conducted face to face.•Assure responsible transition of client service into and out of Health Home care, between child and adult health homes, and between inpatient and community care as appropriate.•Participate in mandatory and optional training, including but not confined to: CANS-NY ad-ministration; family-driven, youth-guided, trauma-informed care; IT, LGBT, safety in commu-nity work, and meeting management.•Participate in supervision
Essential Functions:Implement transition support services for youth and young adults ages 14-25 with developmental disabilities eligible through Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) living with their families in isolated rural communities. Help support individuals and families through the OPWDD eligibility process for those that are found not to be eligible for services. Responsibilities (include but not limited to):•Meet all family support services grant goalsoServe a minimum of 50 individual with a developmental disability eligible under OPWDD in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Allegany County with 3000 service hours yearly.•Outreach to the community promoting the program.•Work with local schools and community organizations to identify youth that would benefit from person centered transition planning and effectively interconnect their services without overlap.•Walk families through the OPWDD eligibility process by collecting documentation, filing and submitting applications•Work with individuals and families to get the appropriate services in place once eligibility is deemed•For individuals not deemed eligible for services walk them through next steps or refer them to other appropriate services•Refer and link individuals to community organizations as well as their natural supports to create a circle of support.•Distribute and track satisfaction surveys to consumers and families after the completion of services. •Track and document service hours. Job Qualifications:Degree in Human Services / Education, strongly preferred 2 years’ experience in Special Education / Developmental Disabilities population and OPWDD Behavioral Competencies:AccountabilityClient LoyaltyCommunication – VerbalCommunication – WrittenOrganizing / PlanningTeam Player
Essential FunctionResponsible for assisting individuals to become more independent when preforming activities of daily living in order to achieve their valued outcomes. Habilitation services are designed to develop skills to increase an individual’s level of independence. Services are primarily community based and revolve around volunteer and recreational opportunities in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties.Principal Activities•Services include community and home based services to accomplish their goals including interpersonal skills, social skills, independent living skills, and safety •Become certified in CRP/FA/SCIP•Work independently and multi task•Ensure effective instruction and safety of individual •Help individuals build relationships •Ensure that documentation is kept in billing compliance •Maintain a safe vehicle and valid driver’s license •Participates in ISP meeting •Ensure that incident reports, annual assessments, monthly summaries, time sheets, etc. are consistent and submitted in a timely manner •Complete all required trainings •Contributes to team effort by accomplishing related results as needed and directed by supervisor and / or CEOJob Qualifications•High School Diploma or GED•1 year experience working with individuals with disabilities •Ability to provide services independently in the community•Excellent written, verbal and organizational skills •Desire to work with children and adults with special needs•Valid driver’s license with clean driving record is a MUST •Reliable vehicle •Current auto insurance Physical Requirements•Ability to lift at least 20lbs •Ability to run at least 500 feet •Ability to move or push heavy items such as tables•Must be able to kneel, twist and bend