Our Services

Exceptional Family Resources provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities who live in Onondaga County.   Our staff works to ensure that all people, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, lead full, active and productive lives in the community.

Employment Services assist individuals with obtaining and maintaining successful, fulfilling employment by teaching job development skills, providing support on the job site, and partnering with potential employers to help pave the way for a positive working experience.

Pathway to Employment (PTE) offers an individualized planning process that helps individuals identify a career or vocational direction and provides instruction/training in job readiness skills and development of a plan for achieving competitive, integrated employment at or above the New York State minimum wage.

Supported Employment (SEMP) services help individuals with developmental disabilities work in all types of community businesses and industries by providing job development and on-the-job training, assistance and support.

Employment Training Program (ETP) is a vocational training program that enables business to employ individuals with developmental disabilities and have their wages paid by OPWDD for up to 18 months..

Family Directed Supports provides direct financial assistance to support the needs of a family member living with a disability.
Family Education & Training provides training opportunities to caregivers of individuals who are eligible for this Medicaid Waiver service.

Self-Direction (SD) allows people to plan and access services through an annual budget they design to meet their needs. Each person, with the involvement of a Support Broker and “planning team,” develops a budget of how funds will be used, along with a plan for their services. They also choose the level of support they would like in implementing these plans.

EFR provides both Support Brokerage and "Fiscal Intermediary" (FI) Services. The FI service monitors and bills for the services included in a person's budget.

At this time, EFR provides Self-Directed Services to people residing in Onondaga County.

For more information on EFR's Self Direction program, contact the Director of Self-Directed Services (315) 478-1462 ext 365.

Exceptional Family Resources offers several opportunities for individuals with disabilities and volunteers from the community to participate in recreation activities together. These volunteer companionship opportunities match people together to engage in shared interests with the goal of developing long-lasting friendships. The group of volunteers and service recipients get together monthly to enjoy activities such as baseball and hockey games, theatre performances, Halloween Costume Parties, “Friendsgiving” Dinner, and concerts in the park.

In addition, Friends Connection has a “student placement” component that utilizes student volunteers from local colleges and universities to spend time with peers who have a developmental disability. Students learn about issues pertaining to disabilities through their volunteer experience.

Friends Connection provides service to teens and adults who live at home with their family members; service recipients must have eligibility for OPWDD services.

For more information, contact the program supervisors at (315) 478-1462 ext. 385 or ext. 368.

Community Habilitation Services provide individualized assessment, training, and assistance in acquiring skills and increasing a person’s repertoire of interests. The goal is to enhance the individual’s independence, both at home and in the community, using a variety of individualized activities and supports based on each person’s unique situation, desires and goals.  Person-centered habilitation plans focus in assisting participants to:

• develop independent living skills (ex., general household chores, personal care and safety)
• increase communication skills
• learn how to use money
• socialize appropriately in neighborhood/community settings
• participate in social, health-related and recreational activities that are included in the person’s individualized service plan (ISP).

EFR recruits, screens and orients people from the community who have proven ability in ADL (activities of daily living) training and community integration for individuals with developmental disabilities to become community habilitation service providers.

For more information contact Glenda Criss at gcriss@contactefr.org or call (315) 478-1462 ext 341.

Project Explore offers two to eight weeks of half-day of recreational summer programming to teens and young adults with developmental disabilities. Participants have the opportunity to experience both new and familiar activities in a safe, supportive environment that fosters friendship and belonging. Youth meet at a home base each day of camp and staff provide transportation from the designated home base to daily activities. These activities include but are not limited to swimming, hiking, team building, amusement parks, and various games. Families are responsible for their child’s drop off and pick up at the home base. Families are also responsible for daily activity fees associated with their child.

A Winter Project Explore is also offered the week between Christmas and New Year’s, with seasonal activities such as snowshoeing and sledding.

Participants must live at home with their families and be eligible to receive HCBS waiver services.

For more information, contact the program supervisor at (315) 478-1462 ext. 335.

Parent’s Night Out provides group recreational activities for youth ages 6-12 years old, one evening per month at various community locations. Youth enjoy fun activities such as trampoline parks, splash pads, game nights, zoo, apple picking, and holiday parties.

Youth must live with their family members and have eligibility for OPWDD services.

For more information, contact the program supervisor at (315) 478-1462 ext. 319.

The Respite Services at Exceptional Family Resources provides care to individuals with developmental disabilities, giving families a break from their caregiving responsibilities. Families are individually matched with providers who are paid an hourly rate by Exceptional Family Resources to care for and support their family member.

Take a Break: Our Take a Break Family Respite service provides 10-25 hours/month of respite service for the child with a disability and any siblings in the family. Staff cannot provide transportation during this service and the respite is provided primarily in the home. Staff are matched with families and their children based on the needs of the family and availability of staff; families then schedule their respite directly with the staff. These services are provided through a contract with the Onondaga Department of Mental Health and funding from United Way. Each service recipient must live at home with their family and be eligible for OPWDD services.

Community Waiver Respite (CWR): This waiver respite service provides respite to only the individual(s) with a disability; service can be provided in the home or in the community, as staff are able to provide transportation for the service recipient. Staff are matched with service recipients based on the needs of the family and availability of staff; families then schedule their respite directly with the staff. Under this waiver respite service, allocations are determined by the state for those new to the service or looking to increase their hours. Each service recipient must live at home with their families and be eligible to receive HCBS waiver services.

For more information about our respite programs, please contact the Program Manager, Irene Fiesinger, at ifiesinger@contactefr.org or call (315) 478-1462 ext. 334.

The Senior Caregivers Program serves families in which a caregivers, who is 55 or older, is caring for and sharing a home with someone with a developmental disability.

The Senior Caregivers Program provides individualized and caring assistance to help people:

• Establish eligibility for developmental disability services
• Apply for Medicaid
• Apply for SSI or Social Security Disability
• Acquire information on guardianship, special needs trusts, residential options and other future planning topics
• Begin future planning for their family member with a disability
• Begin to secure support services for the disabled family member
• Navigate the changing service system
• Secure support services for the caregiver, including senior services and financial supports when eligible

For more information or to make an appointment, either in our office or your home, contact Deb Gibson-Jaworski at dgibsonjaworski@contactefr.org or call at (315) 478-1462 ext 332.

Specialized Resources at Exceptional Family Resources is a free program designed to provide families with information and referrals to appropriate programs and services throughout the community in the areas of respite, recreation, service coordination, residential and vocational services. Limited one-to-one Special Education assistance is also provided. For more information, contact Resource Specialist, Karen Adams at kadams@contactefr.org or call (315) 478-1462 ext 337.

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Exceptional Family Resources resource manual is produced every two years and guides users to the many services that exist in Onondaga and surrounding counties.   We are always looking for local businesses who are interested in purchasing advertisement space in the manual.