Family Advocacy

Family Advocacy

Your voice is essential to help representatives and legislators truly understand the essential services Arc of Onondaga provides. We believe that the more voices we have in our fight, the better our chances of making strides on behalf of your loved one and thousands of others with disabilities.

In 2023, chapters of The Arc New York across the state rallied for an 8.5% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for the field and a Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE) for our staff. The COLA was intended to meet the increased cost of delivering services due to inflation and ensure we can sustain quality supports and services in the future. The wage enhancement aimed to stabilize our workforce crisis and compensate our staff fairly for their skill and responsibility. Both the Senate and Assembly included the full 8.5% COLA in their one-house budgets. Yet, the final NYS budget included only a 4% COLA for I/DD service providers and no direct support wage enhancement. This minimal increase did not even cover half the rate of inflation.

While we needed more, we were pleased to see some recognition for the needs of your loved ones and others who receive support from agencies like ours across New York state, and the dedicated staff who support them.

Previous advocacy efforts have resulted in staff wage enhancements and increased awareness of the needs of people we support. With unprecedented turnover and vacancy rates in our programs, we cannot afford to see our staffing crisis continue. We cannot afford to be underfunded and lose valuable resources needed to support people with I/DD.

We cannot do this work alone. Please consider getting involved in our advocacy efforts. If your family is interested in getting involved, please contact Joanna Jewett, Director of Development and Public Relations at or 315-401-0917.



The Arc Achievers is the name of our chapter’s self-advocacy group, and the name certainly fits!  The group meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 10:00 am. During the meetings (which are currently being held both in-person and virtually) members discuss topics that are important to the them, including how to advocate for themselves and others. In March, they launched their “Think twice. Be nice.” campaign with the goal of making our community more respectful, accepting, and inclusive. Learn and watch more here.

For information about joining the Arc Achievers, please contact Jessica Goritski at



We work closely with SANYS, the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State, Inc., is an organization founded, and led, by people with developmental disabilities for people with developmental disabilities. They promote the awareness and recognition of the civil rights and responsibilities which include the opportunities and choices of equal citizenship.

Central/Northern Office

1005 W. Fayette Street, Suite 1A

Syracuse, NY 13204

Office: 315-473-6927