Arounja Now Available In App(le) Store!


Many Americans are only a missed paycheck or unexpected medical bill away from hunger and homelessness.  CCNY and Americorps want to help because life shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be this fraught with uncertainty and instability.

If you don’t have to constantly worry where the next meal is coming from or whether you can afford a babysitter, that’s more energy you have for finding a job, finishing your homework, starting your own business— you know, actually living your life.

We understand that it can be frustrating and time-consuming for the average person struggling to get by to seek out aid.  To that end, CCNY are pleased to announce that Arounja is now available for iOS devices, making it easier than ever take that power directly in your hands.  You just type in what you need help with, whether it’s food, domestic violence, education, legal advice, etc., and Arounja will search for what’s available within a given area that you specify.

Android and desktop versions are also available.  Whether you’re a resource provider or seeker, all basic versions are free to the community!

Interested in going Pro?  If you live and/ or work in Erie County, e-mail us to request a free license.

ACCESS of WNY Seeks Vendor Services Supervisor



Reports To: Executive Director

Weekly Hours: Varies 20-30 hours flexible but may include weekends or evenings

Department: Case Management

Position Overview

Assist in the development of a new Vendor Services program at ACCESS of WNY to provide individualized, time-limited, home-based supports to families served by Child Protection Services.

Responsibilities (Essential Functions**):

  • Recruit and hire a diverse staff team, with an emphasis on filling needed positions in identified geographical locations and for identified skill sets
  • Develop and facilitate trainings to staff to enhance skill set and onboard new hires Provide monthly supervision to both clinical and non-clinical staff
  • Model and endorse a Solution-Focused, Trauma Informed approach Ensure prompt assignment of vendors to service recipients and timely entry of progress notes
  • Develop strong professional relationships with Care Coordination agencies, Vendor Service Network, ECDSS, ECDMH, CCNY and community services providers
  • Market the program in the community to increase awareness and utilization of services offered Monitor program budget and timely payment for services rendered
  • Provide on-call consultation to vendors after hours Complete agency and System of Care reporting
  • Attend relevant coalition meetings to represent the interests of our agency/program and work collaboratively with stakeholders and colleagues


  • LCSW is preferred, equivalent licensure will be considered
  • Ideal candidate will have 2 years supervisory experience, and experience in High Fidelity Wrap, Vendor Services, or Preventive Services.  Reliable transportation is preferred, with a willingness to travel as needed
  • Ideal candidate is outgoing, able to develop relationships, familiar with the human services landscape, and able to think innovatively and creatively
  • Knowledge about best practice models, specifically High Fidelity Wraparound preferred
  • Candidate must have a strong understanding of home-based practices, the needs facing families engaged in the child welfare system, and strategies to serve both urban and immigrant populations.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Solid written and verbal communication skills
  • Trained in trauma informed care (current or shortly after hire)

In Conversation With Clients: Erie County Department of Mental Health


In honor of Star Wars Day, CCNY spoke to Erie County’s Director of Intensive Adult Mental Health Services to discuss how we helped them harness the Force of evaluation and QI.  Thanks to Ronald Schoelerman for chatting with us!

1.  How did you first come to work with CCNY?

Erie County Forensic Mental Health (ECFMH) and CCNY partnered through efforts to enhance mental health documentation and in order to establish an Electronic Record of services provided to individuals incarcerated in the Erie County correctional system and receiving mental health services.

2.  What does your organization do and how did CCNY’s work help improve those services?

ECFMH provides mental health services to Criminal Justice Mental Health (CJMH) clientele within the Erie County Sheriff correctional settings.  This includes various levels of referrals, levels of care, and ongoing service delivery, including:

  • Mental Health Assessment
  • Comprehensive Suicidal Risk Assessments
  • Mental Health medication and prescribing
  • Treatment planning
  • Discharge Planning

The collaborative efforts of CCNY and ECFMH assist in the ongoing QA/QI and continued growth in providing necessary services.

3.  What do Evaluation and Quality Improvement mean to you?

As the Director of ECFMH, it is essential that an effective Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement (QA/QI) process be in place.  This permits assessment of program procedures, quality delivery of services, program and staff development, as well as assist in the identification of interventions, service needs, and areas for improvement.  The collaborative efforts with CCNY have assisted to implement consistent and targeted monthly reporting that serves short and long term QA/QI goals.

4.  What were your goals going into this project?  Did you have a clear/ strong sense of what needed to be done?

ECFMH and CCNY are engaged a few projects that include:

  • Interaction and liaison with the current EMR provider (Centricity/Fusion) in order to obtain and collect data for reporting, as well as ensure that ECFMH is able to reach a maximum benefit through use of the EMR
  • Targeting new documentation and assessment tools within the EMR – and development of planned QA/QI and research related data

– Texas Christian University Drug Screening V – implemented fall 2016 – and targeted for enhanced QA/QI reporting and data collection efforts that will incorporate data from other documents for correlations and improved understanding of substance use within our service population – Current project

– Electronic Discharge Planning Document – implemented January 2018 – and targeted for enhanced QA/QI reporting and data collection efforts that will incorporate data from other documents for correlations and improved understanding of discharge planning needs within our service population – Current project

  • Electronic Training Databases and Tools

– Provide a formalized computer/program based training surrounding the ECFMH Manual and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that will permit:

* Consistent and clear training mechanism for new staff, interns, and residents

* A measurable outcome for individuals trained that will further identify and assist in areas for additional efforts and training when needed

* Remedial training opportunity when/if a circumstance demonstrates a potential need for specific re-education surrounding on SOP

* Potential for mandated annual refreshers that can be provided as evidence of ongoing staff development/ training

* Potential expanded efforts for trainings into target areas that will benefit ECFMH and ECFMH clientele (i.e. Mental Status Exam, Clinical Interviewing)

  • Semiannual Reporting – related to qualitative and quantitative reviews of various levels of care within the ECFMH service delivery

5.  How does your role fit into the grander scheme of data collection, reporting, and evaluation at Erie County FMH?

It is essential that ECFMH continue to develop in data collection, reporting, and effective QA/QI evaluation that will permit clear evidence of service delivery and program needs.  Evidence and data provide justifications and support for grants, funding, and potential resources.  It also will permit a targeted and proactive use of any supports, grants, and funding that is based on evidence of that area of need that is necessary as a public service/program that is appropriately accountable to Erie County residents.

6.  What was your experience with data collection, reporting, and evaluation before working with CCNY and how has it changed since, if at all?

I have always strived at data collection, QA/QI efforts, and proactive approaches based on data driven activity in order to assess and modify my work.  I have experience in using data in various other work experiences that did not involve mental health, and brought that with me as I moved into mental health and my current position with ECFMH.  I appreciate how CCNY can and assisted in problem solving, data collection, and working toward finished products that assist meeting mental health needs of the ECFMH staff and Clientele.

7.  What would you recommend to a healthcare organization dealing with governmental oversight before diving into this sort of undertaking, either in terms of preparation, setting expectations, or infrastructural requirements?

I would recommend that an organization should work with their team and an agency, such as CCNY, to clearly identify short and long term goals, as well as embrace that the reporting and QA/QI process is all about finding your problem areas and that finding them is a Positive, as long as the goals include continued monitoring and efforts to improve aspects of the program throughout the process.  I feel that CCNY has provided individuals that understand that although the process can be difficult at times, it is not adversarial.  The process requires some essential “pushing and pulling” to challenge results and enhance reporting, so let the data guide you toward end goals of improved service delivery.

Emily’s Paid Paid Vacation


This was perfect timing!  My partner and I already planned a five-day cruise in March with some other relatives, so we were able to use this benefit to go on a couple excursions and try some local Mayan food.



We sailed out of New Orleans after a day of tours and beignet binging.  Our first stop on the cruise was in Cozumel to see the Mayan ruins.  Then, we went to the Yucatán, where we explored cenotes (“sea holes”) and ate some tacos.
Come on, Jub-Jub.

Mayan ruins.



Stairwell leading into another cenote.


We also tried a drink made from a local plant.  We had fun on the ship and even won a game of bingo!

Balcony view from our ship’s quarters.

Read more about our previous Paid Paid Vacation winner’s trip here.

Ithaca College Retention Specialist Training (FLGEC)


Attention all health and social service agencies of Central (Syracuse) and Western New York (Batavia): registration is now open for a FREE Retention Specialist training this June.

This is an evidence-based model program developed by Cornell University researchers to systematically address problems of low job satisfaction and resulting turnover.

Registration priority will be given to those who take part in the stipended program wherein a $2500 stipend is granted to 8 agencies each in CNY and Western NY that, once trained, agree to employ a Retention Specialist devoting 20% of their time for one year (July 2018 – June 2019).  This program will also provide technical assistance and require participation in 3-4 brief guided and user-friendly evaluations throughout the year.

Both trainings are open to all counties and are being sponsored by the Health Foundation of Western and Central NY as well as the Fellows Action Network.  However, the stipended program is only available to the following counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, Wyoming, Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, and Tompkins.

More details available here.

Don’t Ya Wish Your Gastropub Were Cheap Like Me


Buffalo Restaurant Week 2018 has officially begun and we’ve pored over countless menus and fine print to find YOU the best deal in the area.  Check out the map below to explore prices, cuisine types, and more!

Click the   icon in the upper-left corner to toggle between map layers.

Please note that the data reflected above is for 84 restaurants captured by 12th April 2018.  As many locations were still uploading their menus in the days leading up to Restaurant Week, we were not able to include all of them.


A few notes on deal rankings:

Negligible = Discount of $5 or less.

Good = Discount between $5 and $10.

Great = Discount between $10 and $20.

Best = Discount greater than $20.

Cuisine Type was pulled directly from Restaurant Week submissions, i.e., categories submitted by the restaurants themselves.

Discounts were calculated based on average prices of equivalent items taken from standard menus and in their absence, based on clarification from restaurants themselves or estimated local market value.

Be advised that many but not all restaurants serve smaller portions than usual during Restaurant Week.  This was factored into calculations to the best of our ability.

Happy searching and bon appétit!

Mobile Safety Net Team Resource Hub Coordinator Opening


Community Resource Hubs bridge the gap between residents and the services they need – right in their community!  Four of MSNT’s community coalition’s operate Hubs and are seeking to fill the position of “Resource Hub Coordinator.”  This full time, 6 month (June-December 2018) AmeriCorps position (w/potential for extension) will be with the MSNT and work closely with all 4 Hub coalitions. Ambitious applicants can apply at Contact Natalie Cook for a full position description and with any questions at or (716) 830-5636.

In Conversation With Clients: Autism Services, Inc.


In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, CCNY spoke to Autism Services, Inc. to shed some light on our full spectrum of services.  Thanks to Dawn Van de Wal for chatting with us!

1.  How did you first come to work with CCNY?

Our organization participated in the first cohort of GetSET and we received funding to use as we felt necessary in relation to the initiative.  We hired CCNY to assist us with understanding and developing data tracking tools.

2.  What does QI mean to you?

Quality Improvement, to me, is looking at a current state and analyzing it to see how it can be made better.  Through it we can identify trends, both good and bad, and make adjustments to ensure we are providing the best possible services while being able to prove it.

3.  What were your goals going into this QI project?

We had tremendous amounts of data but were not doing anything with it.  We wanted a way to identify trends in a variety of areas but did not know where to start.

4.  How does your role fit into the grander scheme of QI at Autism Services?

In my position as COO, I am a support to the QI Department.  I work with them to develop the various tools they use, whether simply reporting on incident trends all the way to developing effective observation and audit tools.  We work together to developing reporting mechanisms that are shared with the teams so changes that need to be made can be clearly identified.

5.  What does ASI do and how did Christa‘s recommendations help improve those services?

We provide a wide range of services to people with autism spectrum disorders.  Working with Christa and the CCNY team gave us a different perspective in how we looked at the information we were collecting and how we were reporting out on it.  We learned how to create data tracking tools in excel and create reports that have benefited both agency staff and our board members in better understanding the issues we face.  We completely revamped our quarterly QI meetings by developing goals for each program and quality outcome measures along with correction plans when needed.  We have many more systems in place to ensure quality in both our services and administrative areas.

6.  Where did ASI start, how far have you come, and where do you hope to be in five years?  Do you feel confident that CCNY’s assistance has given you the tools to forge on ahead on your own?

Three years ago when I started we had a few tracking and reporting tools but they were not providing information that was valuable or helpful to the stakeholders.  Now, just about every department utilizes tools that we learned how to make from CCNY and people have a better understanding of what is coming out in each report.  We will continue to look for areas that need improvement and develop functional tools for data collection and reporting. CCNY’s assistance and instruction was invaluable in this regard.  CCNY did not develop the tools for us, they taught us how to think about the data we have and showed us how to create the tools so we can transfer the skills to other areas.

7.  Do you feel QI is something all healthcare organizations should strive for?

Yes, absolutely.

8.  What would you recommend to a healthcare professional considering third-party evaluation/ QI before diving in, whether in terms of preparation, setting expectations, or infrastructural requirements?

I would offer that the tasks of developing data collection and reporting tools should not be added to an already busy staff’s duties.  I was brought on, at first, to specifically address this and having it be my main responsibility allowed me the time needed to create effective tools.  Over time, my role has changed, but in the beginning, it was helpful that I was dedicated just to these tasks.  It allowed me to fully understand the process, analyze each department separately, and take my time developing the tools needed.  Now that we have many tools in place, it is easier for this to be just a part of my job as the process does not take as long and I’ve learned along the way how to instruct staff as well to own some of the process so it does not all fall on me.