Please vote to override Governor Christie's conditional veto of Bill S2249 Moratorium on Return Home New Jersey (RHNJ) for Severely Disabled Adults
This petition had 5,539 supporters
Under the guise of fiscal responsibility, New Jersey has pursued an initiative called "Return Home NJ" (RHNJ). Beginning in 2010, under the RHNJ policy, over 400 severely developmentally disabled residents who are in out-of-state care facilities are being forced to relocate to group homes in NJ.
These residents were placed out of state by New Jersey because there was no place in state that could handle their many needs. They have been living safely for many years at out-of-state community based facilities, some for as long as 40 years.
The RHNJ initiative states that the returning residents will be placed in a comparable or even better setting. This unfortunately has not been the case. New Jersey is still severely lacking in the appropriate care facilities these individuals require. Returned residents have been placed in settings that cannot handle their many intellectual, medical and behavioral needs.
- Further, in the process of carrying out these forced relocations, NJ has systematically reduced - and in many cases altogether eliminated - the health, medical, behavioral and psychological services that these individuals require and have been receiving for years in order to find a new placement, putting both their health and their lives in grave danger.
- Two developmentally disabled men who NJ recently had moved from developmental centers into separate group homes have died due to improper supervision during routine daily tasks (choking while eating).
- A 22 year old man, with autism and the mentality of a 5 year old, living successfully out of state for 7 years, was brought back 18 months ago under the RHNJ plan and placed in a group home, that despite assurances, could not provide the behavioral and psychological services he needed. This lack of proper care culminated in his arrest after having behaviors that the group home was not equipped to manage. He was held in jail over two weeks, severely regressing, while the courts and Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) tried to figure out a new appropriate placement. A new placement was found and only lasted hours before he was removed and placed in yet another hospital and 17 days passed before another emergency placement could be found. Seven years out of state with no problems, even parttime working and now this. Unfortunately there are still few places in New Jersey for adults with severe developmental disabilities.
Recognizing the gravity of the situation at hand, in June, the NJ Assembly and Senate both overwhelmingly passed legislation S-2249, that would impose a moratorium on the Return Home New Jersey Initiative and also prohibits transfers from out-of-state placements under certain conditions (i.e. The individual has been out-of-state for over 10 years). Governor Christie conditionally vetoed the legislation in August, effectively killing the bill.
The NJ Legislature will not attempt to override the veto unless sufficient support for an override is demonstrated.
PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION to the New Jersey Legislature asking to OVERRIDE GOVERNOR CHRISTIE'S VETO AND MAKE S-2249 THE LAW. The safety and well-being of hundreds of NJ residents with developmental disabilities hang in the balance.
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