Citizens Advocates brings far-away group of homes for developmentally disabled under its umbrella

MALONE — Citizens Advocates and Joshua House, two health and human services companies located at far ends of New York, are partnering up through an agreement where Joshua House in southern New York can retain its corporate identity and continue day-to-day operations under Citizen Advocates.

Both organizations’ boards of directors approved the agreement. An affiliation team made of employees from both has been collaborating daily, both on site in Sidney and via teleconference, to manage the transition of operations under the Citizen Advocates umbrella. It is expected the new partnership will be completed by Jan. 1, 2020.

The Joshua House Inc. in Sidney is a private, nonprofit provider of intellectual and developmental disability services, serving approximately 30 individuals and families throughout Delaware and Otsego counties. It was founded in 1992 as a result of a loss suffered by Joshua, the son of the agency’s founder, at the age of 8. As a result of this tragedy, community homes were developed in and around Sidney for individuals with a variety of abilities.

Citizen Advocates, based in Malone, provides services for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, as well as mental health services and addiction treatment, recovery and prevention services in Franklin, Essex, Clinton, St. Lawrence and Hamilton counties.

“Joshua House currently operates four homes, commonly referred to by the state as Individualized Residential Alternatives, and each offers an environment true to our agency’s founding,” Joshua House Executive Director Delsa McEwan said in a press release. “Our new affiliation positions Joshua House to overcome the financial realities resulting from shrinking reimbursements, by tapping into the efficiencies and depth of resources Citizen Advocates has to offer.”

The constantly shifting health care landscape presents numerous challenges to organizations throughout the state, which can result in a range of fiscal pressures. As a result, health and human services organizations have developed creative solutions to minimize disruption to essential safety-net services, particularly in rural areas where the need is great.

“Citizen Advocates understands rural health care and has been a leader in this area for over four decades,” Citizen Advocates board President Martha Dishman said in the release. “Likewise, Joshua House has deep experience serving a community and region very similar to northern New York. As a result, we are confident there is a lot we can learn from Joshua House as both of our organizations strive to provide exceptional care.”

“It’s not every day you have the opportunity to unite two organizations where person-centered care is both a priority and a passion,” Norm Erickson, president of the Joshua House Board of Directors, said in the release.