Public Notice of COVID-19 Safety Plan for Certified Day Program Reopening – Queens (Updated on August 28, 2020)
Public Notice of COVID-19 Safety Plan for Certified Day Program Reopening – Brooklyn (Updated on August 28, 2020)

Supporting People to Live at Home and Develop Life Skills

At Birch Family Services, we are committed to supporting individuals at home and in the community to learn skills that facilitate independence. This empowers individuals to thrive and families to remain together. We strongly believe in partnering with individuals and their family members to understand available service options and choose those that best fit the person’s interests, needs, and valued outcomes. Our various service opportunities are funded by the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). These services are part of the Home and Community Based Services Waiver or Family Support initiatives – most of which are funded through Medicaid. In order to qualify for OPWDD services, one must be deemed eligible by meeting with OPWDD through a process known as the Front Door. In addition to meeting with staff, medical, psychological, and psychosocial evaluations that provide proof of an autism or developmental disability diagnosis is required. To learn more about the Front Door process, go to and click on the Services and Supports link.

Once eligible for services, you will need to select a Care Coordination Organization (CCO) to receive care management services. A Care Manager works with each person on the development of a Life Plan, linking to OPWDD service providers, and coordinating with health, mental health and social services. Care Design NY is a CCO that could assist once eligible. Go to for further information. Birch staff can assist with obtaining information so that individuals with autism and developmental disabilities and their families are empowered to make choices and decisions best suited to them. This may include becoming involved in advocacy efforts necessary to obtain desired supports.

Developing Skills that Last a Lifetime

Through our various Life Skills and Family Support programs, we work with adolescents and adults as they develop the skills necessary to achieve greater independence. We empower them to live with dignity and have choices in how they fulfill their dreams. Our Day and Community Habilitation services provide individualized skills development to maximize a person’s strengths and identify areas of need. Additional service options available include respite, employment, prevocational, and residential supports.

Day Habilitation

Day Habilitation is a site or community based, person-centered program that supports individuals with autism or intellectual and developmental disabilities to work on non-vocational personal skills, develop desired community relationships, promote greater independence, encourage self-advocacy and facilitate informed choice. People participating in this program are encouraged to advocate for the lives they want, be a part of their community, and understand how to access and enjoy the opportunities available to them.
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Community Habilitation

Community habilitation is a person-centered service that supports individuals to become valued and active members of their communities. Participants increase their ability to live as independently as possible by using the community to learn life skills, pursue social and leisure interests, attend medical appointments, engage in travel training activities and develop self-advocacy abilities.
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