I was a 22- year-old single parent with a High School Diploma in the summer of 1989 when my daughter Alexandria was born. Alexandria was born with a very rare chromosomal anomaly. She has severe intellectual disabilities, medical complications and significant behavioral issues. Soon after she was born, I learned quickly how to navigate through systems, including hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, home care services, and educational services.
At that time, services were scarce, and advocacy was necessary in order to survive the everyday challenges of raising a baby with multiple medical complications with a very limited support system. At that point in my life, poverty was real and homelessness was imminent.
In the mid 90’s I realized that pursuing a nursing career would allow me to better understand the medical industry that was so much a part of our lives as well as to allow me to break through poverty. I graduated from Cochran School of Nursing with an Associate’s Degree. I pursued a career as a Pediatric Registered Nurse. I then decided to pursue a BSN and graduated Suma Cum Laude from the College of New Rochelle.
Soon after working as a pediatric homecare nurse I recognized the lack of true comprehensive case management services for this very fragile population, which included services for my daughter Alexandria. Most case managers that I knew did not have a background in nursing which appeared to be a disadvantage.
In June of 2000, I founded Advocates for Exceptional Children, Inc., a not for profit corporation that provided Medicaid Service Coordination to hundreds of children and their families. My role as the Executive Director for Advocates for Exceptional Children, Inc. allowed me to manage all operations of this organization as well as provide direct service (Medicaid Service Coordination). My background as a registered nurse was a definite advantage to understanding all the medical components and complexities that needed to be addressed, managed and coordinated within the Medicaid service systems for this fragile population. My personal experience as the mother of a severely disabled child brought deep compassion, insight and strong advocacy to my role as Executive Director and service coordinator to the agency. Our organization helped guide, support, navigate and educate parents within multiple healthcare and service systems. Our agency was small but our impact was tremendous for families in many counties, including, all counties within the Hudson Valley Region along with the Bronx and Staten Island.
In 2009, I formed AFEC Services, LLC, a for profit entity that focused on private pay comprehensive case management and case management for Children on the Care at Home Medicaid Waiver.
In July of 2015, due to the changes that the state was proposing, I decided it was time to merge Advocates for Exceptional Children, Inc. with Community Based Services, Inc. This allowed me to provide continuity of care to children that transitioned to adult services. My role changed but my passion to help individuals remained.
In December of 2017, I resigned from Community Based Services, Inc. in order to focus on building AFEC Services, LLC.
The New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) system is continuously going through changes. At this time, Medicaid Service Coordination will be transitioning to Care Coordination. Voluntary agencies (not-for-profits) are at maximum capacities or close to it to help families navigate and link to this system and others. My goal is to link, educate and help navigate you and your loved one quickly and efficiently through our complex healthcare system. My services will give you an option to partner with an agency that will deliver competence and efficiency.
My services are offered on a contracted rate and tailored to meet the individual’s needs. For more information, please contact me at AFEC01@aol.com.