Why New Jersey needs A-2893/S-254 - The "Innovative Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act."

Why New Jersey needs A-2893/S-254. 
 The "Innovative Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act."

  • The State has long faced a problem securing residential placement for persons with developmental disabilities. The number of persons on the priority waiting list has stood at around 5,000 persons for far too long.
  • Existing approaches for identifying appropriate residential placement opportunities are clearly not working.
  • Moreover, the ability to move persons out of the State's developmental centers is hampered by inadequate community housing opportunities.
  • Additionally, the availability of non-residential services for this population has been diminished by the State's fiscal constraints and State Budget cuts.
  • There are private housing and other service providers willing to develop innovative approaches to address the shortage of both residential opportunities and non-residential services.
  • However, these providers face obstacles that discourage the pursuit of these innovative approaches or stop them when attempted. Often it is the result of State agencies with oversight of such services being unwilling to allow new and innovative approaches.
  • Current state policies stand as a hurdle to these new and innovative approaches and emasculate Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services waiver rules (42 CFR 430.25) that encourage states to "implement innovative programs or activities."
  • Assembly Bill 2893 and Senate Bill 254 seek to encourage these new and innovative approaches by private providers as well as through public-private partnerships to address the shortage of community residential housing and other services for persons with developmental disabilities. It does so in a manner that assures that persons with developmental disabilities are integrated into the community, can interact with peers who are not disabled, can engage in social interactions with persons of their own choosing and live as independently as possible.

 

Carolann Garafola, MA
Executive Director
Mt. Bethel Village
Supportive Housing for Adults with Special Needs
130 Mt. Bethel Road
Warren, NJ 07059