Alphabet Zoo program loses City contract – QNS.com

Alphabet Zoo program loses City contract

The Alphabet Zoo program, which serves children with developmental disabilities, has lost its contract with the City and will cease operations.
A state-approved Early Intervention program whose services are offered in the Queens communities of Glendale, Middle Village, Far Rockaway and East Elmhurst, learned that its contract to serve the City's developmentally challenged children would not be renewed by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) which cited failure to fulfill services as the reason.
&#8220The Health Department has monitored Alphabet Zoo regularly since its inception in 2003 and has provided support, training and other technical assistance throughout the contract to try to improve this agency's performance prior to making contract decisions,” said Andrew Tucker, the Deputy Director for Media Relations.
&#8220Following regular reviews of this program, DOHMH found that Alphabet Zoo did not meet contract standards (including City and State regulations) for quality services.”
According to DOHMH, some problematic issues regarding services included lack of contact between service provider and service coordinators, inappropriate billing, and unexplained gaps in services. In addition, Alphabet Zoo was found to be billing for non-billable items, failing to fulfill services, and services that were not provided as authorized.
The Alphabet Zoo is considered the leading service provider to infants from birth to age three who have or are at risk for autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities. The agency does not intend to fight the City's decision to functionally close it.
&#8220There really isn't anything we can do now,” said Tanya Sanchez, a worker for Alphabet Zoo. &#8220We don't have the hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the City. Now we're just looking for a center for the children and staff.”
&#8220I think we did a wonderful job,” she added. &#8220We had children who couldn't walk, talk or look at you directly in the eye, and we were able to help them. It wasn't just a business, it was a family,” Sanchez said.

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