Auburn City Councilor Visits

May 24, 2016

Auburn City Councilor James Giannettino, Jr., visited the Cayuga Centers campus May 24, 2016 to learn about agency programs.  Councilor Giannettino expressed appreciation for the invitation to visit, “There is often a disconnect between government and the community. I am glad to visit and learn more.  It’s clear you are doing important work that I previously knew little about.” 

Below, Councilor Giannettino learns about the respite programs from Lexie Shutter, Director of Support Services; and Shannon Abate, Vice President of Services for People with Developmental Disabilities.


Diane (Dee Dee) Schenck, Vice President of Community Partnerships, gave an overview of the agency’s program areas: Residential Treatment, Treatment Family Foster Care, Foster Care for Unaccompanied Children, Community-Based Interventions, and Services for People with Developmental Disabilities.  She described the growth the agency has experienced in recent years, including expanding foster care to Delaware and Florida.

Kelly Ware, Director of Case Planning and After Care, explained that the Residential Treatment Center serves youth placed by family court. Teens are actively engaged in Individual and Group Therapy to help heal from trauma and manage mental health issues.  At the same time, family members are involved in treatment planning and Family Therapy.  She described Treatment Family Foster Care like “residential treatment for one” – providing a youth in foster care with services typically found only in congregate care settings in addition to strong support for the foster parents. 

This year, the agency will celebrate the high school graduations of four youth in the out-of-home care programs.  Rhoda Overstreet-Wilson, Vice President of Out-of-Home Care, praised the partnership with the Auburn Enlarged City School District, which operates the on-grounds school. “They are going to walk the stage in caps and gowns, and receive diplomas, and we’re going to hold a graduation party,” she said.

Lexie Shutter, Director of Support Services, described programs such as Day Habilitation and Respite which help give a break for caregivers of those with developmental disabilities; both programs can play an important role in helping families care for their loved one at home.  Shannon Abate, Vice President of Services for People with Developmental Disabilities, explained Medicaid Service Coordination, which assists over 1,000 individuals in obtaining needed services.

Jessica Whitwood, Coordinator of Cayuga Family Resiliency Programs, explained the agency’s home and community-based interventions that work to prevent out-of-home placements or which can work effectively with youth and families before, during and after discharge from a facility to ease the transition back home. 

The group toured the campus, including Cowen Cottage in the Residential Treatment Center, and visited the Weekday Respite program for those with developmental disabilities, as well as walking through the gymnasium and rec centers, and the agency’s health department.


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