Ten Transition Tips for Young People with Behavioral Health Challenges in New York State

Tip #1

Make the most of IDEA Transition Services while in school. Schools are required to collaborate with you and your young adult to develop and implement a transition plan that outlines and provides a path for life after high school.

For help, contact your local Parent Training and Information Center or Community Parent Resource Center.
Your local NYSED Special Education Parent Center can also help: click here for more information

Tip #2

Get familiar with NYS systems and services that might help.

The NYS Multiple Systems Navigator has information for young people: click here for more information

Tip #3

Your young adult’s leadership or active participation in the IEP process will build the self-awareness and self-advocacy skills important for adulthood.

Tip #4

Your school-based team or ACCES-VR can connect you with a vocational program or rehabilitation services provider that has expertise and experience working with people who have your young adult’s mental health diagnosis and any co-occurring disorders, such as substance abuse or other disabilities. To start, become eligible for ACCES-VR. 

Click here for the Directory of Transition and Youth Services Statewide Team at ACCES-VR
Click here for the guide to using ACCES-VR Transition Services 

Tip #5

Make a health care transition plan.

If you have health insurance and your young adult does not have their own benefits, you can keep them on your plan up to age 26.

Office of Mental Health (OMH) services are not an entitlement and most clinical services must be billed to you, your insurance company, or Medicaid.

New York State has a health insurance plan for children under age 19, called Child Health Plus. Depending on your family’s income, your child may be eligible to join either Children’s Medicaid or Child Health Plus. Both Children’s Medicaid and Child Health Plus are available through providers throughout the state.

Click here for more information on health insurance

Tip #6

Make sure that your young adult has an adult mental health diagnosis from the DSM 5.

An IEP classification isn’t enough to qualify for adult services.

Get an evaluation while your child is still in school, if possible. See your school-based mental health provider, school social worker, or other clinical team member for help or contact your local mental health agency.

Use the resources to get started in your community:
Click here for more information

Tip #7

Organize your documents and get important paperwork done.

Help with housing, income support, independent living, nutrition, and health care may be available.

Click here for tips for organizing important paperwork

Tip #8

Stay in contact with your professional and keep connecting the dots.

Stay on top of referrals, applications, and changes in medication. Don’t assume that any single professional or system will follow through without your attention.

Tip #9

Take control of your money. 

If you take control of your money and spending, you can find ways to do more with what you have.

Click here for tips on how to take control

Tip #10

Explore independent living. 

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are community-based, cross-disability, non-profit organizations that are designed and operated by people with disabilities. CILs are unique in that they operate according to a strict philosophy of consumer control, wherein people with all types of disabilities directly govern and staff the organization. Centers for Independent Living provide peer support, information and referral, individual and systems advocacy, and independent living skills training.

Click here for more information

Sign up to receive our latest events, news and resources.

Come Visit

Parent Network of WNY
1021 Broadway Street
Buffalo, NY 14212

Contact Us

Family Support Lines:
English – 716-332-4170
Espanol – 716-449-6394