Pathway to Care

What Services Are Available Through HCBS?

Explore the various services available through the Home and Community Based Services program in New York State

What is HCBS?

The Children’s Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) program offers a vital array of services to support children with diverse needs. While there are many services available under the HCBS waiver, we will be focusing on the four that are most widely provided. These are Caregiver/Family Advocacy and Support Services (CFASS), Community Habilitation (Com Hab), Prevocational Training, and Respite Services. Each of these plays a crucial role in empowering children and their families, enhancing independence, and ensuring community integration. In order to access essential support for children with unique needs and their families, we hope to provide relevant information regarding the availability of these services.

What Services Are Available Through HCBS?

Focuses on educating and empowering caregivers and families of children with additional needs. It provides resources and training for effectively navigating healthcare and advocating for the child’s needs.

Aims to help youth aged 14 and above develop skills for employment or volunteer work. It includes training in workplace communication, problem-solving, and career planning.

Designed to assist individuals in acquiring social, daily living, and health-related skills within their community, promoting independence and integration.

Offers temporary relief to caregivers of children with disabilities or complex medical needs. It includes both planned activities and emergency support during crises.

There are many other health resources and home support services available through the HCBS waiver program for specific cases, such as palliative care, transportation, adaptive and assistive technology. However these four are the most commonly used services, so let’s take a closer look at each of them.

What is CFASS? (Caregiver/Family Advocacy and Support Services)

The Caregiver/Family Advocacy and Support Services (CFASS) program is designed to provide comprehensive support to caregivers and families of children with developmental, medical, or mental health needs. This service focuses on imparting crucial knowledge and skills to empower caregivers, ensuring they can effectively manage and advocate for their child’s needs. The program’s significance lies in its role in enhancing the abilities of families to provide the best care and support for their children, boosting the child’s overall well-being and development.

Key goals of the CFASS program include:

  • Educational Support: Offering tutoring and academic assistance to help the child excel in their education.
  • Life Skills: Teaching practical skills like grocery shopping, meal planning, and financial management to prepare the child for everyday tasks.
  • Personal Development: Providing the child with career coaching, meditation techniques, or various therapies to promote the child’s mental and emotional growth.
  • Enrichment: Encouraging the exploration of hobbies and interests, such as martial arts, music lessons, painting, or swimming, to enrich the child’s experience.
  • Support Services: Assisting families in their daily lives, such as helping them with home organization, navigating the healthcare system, or improving the child’s sleep schedule.

Each of these goals is tailored to address specific areas of a child’s life, offering a holistic approach to their growth and development. For example, life skills training might include hands-on activities like budgeting exercises or cooking classes, while personal development could involve sessions in mindfulness or stress management techniques. These diverse offerings ensure that CFASS is not just about meeting basic needs, but about enriching the lives of children and their families in meaningful ways.

What is Prevocational Training?

The Prevocational Training program is structured to assist youth in acquiring essential workplace skills before they enter the workforce. It focuses on developing competencies necessary for both paid employment and volunteer opportunities, tailored to the individual’s interests and abilities.

The significance of Prevocational Training lies in its capacity to bridge the gap between education and employment for youths with disabilities or unique needs. It prepares them for the challenges of the job market, enhancing their employability and boosting their confidence.

Key goals of the Prevocational Training program include:

  • Skill Building: Involves teaching time management, job interviewing techniques, organizational skills, and task completion. These skills are often developed through volunteering or workplace visits.
  • Supportive Services: Focuses on practical life skills like opening a bank account, resume writing, and acquiring new job or computer skills.

These components are crucial for preparing youths for the real-world work environment. For instance, skill-building activities might simulate actual job scenarios, providing hands-on experience, while supportive services offer the foundational knowledge needed for a successful career start.

What is Community Habilitation?

Community Habilitation focuses on helping individuals develop essential skills and independence within their community. This service provides personalized support, teaching practical abilities necessary for daily living and social integration.

The significance of Community Habilitation lies in its ability to foster autonomy and social participation. It enables individuals to navigate and contribute to their communities effectively, enhancing their quality of life.

Key goals of the Community Habilitation program include:

  • Personal Development: Aims at teaching individuals to use public transportation independently and become familiar with various community settings like stores, libraries, and restaurants.
  • Skill Building: Focuses on practical skills such as budgeting, grocery shopping, and improving social skills.

These goals are achieved through hands-on experiences and tailored support, ensuring meaningful learning and growth. For example, personal development might involve guided outings to practice using public transport, while skill-building could include interactive budgeting workshops.

What is Respite Care?

Respite services provide temporary care and relief for families and caregivers of individuals with disabilities or additional needs. These services are designed to offer a break to caregivers while ensuring the individual continues to receive necessary care and engagement.

The significance of respite services lies in their role in supporting the overall well-being of both the caregiver and the individual receiving care. It helps prevent caregiver burnout and ensures continuous, high-quality care for the individual.

Goals of Respite Care include:

  • Client Activities: Engaging the individual in enriching activities like art, music lessons, sports, or community programs.
  • Home Functioning: Assisting in maintaining home routines such as organization, meal preparation, and childcare support.

These services are tailored to the individual’s interests and needs, providing meaningful engagement while also supporting the family’s everyday functioning. For example, client activities might be tailored to the individual’s hobbies or interests, while home functioning support helps maintain a stable and organized home environment.


The Children’s HCBS program offers many vital services, the most popular of which are  Caregiver/Family Advocacy and Support Services (CFASS), Prevocational Training, Community Habilitation, and Respite Services. Each program is uniquely designed to support personal development, skill building, and provide necessary relief and assistance to both individuals and their families. The objective of these services is to empower, enable independence, and enhance the quality of life. If you are interested in these services and believe they could benefit you or your family, we encourage you to reach out to our intake and service coordination team for more information and support.

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