Support A3625 and Community Living for New Jerseyans with Developmental Disabilities
New Jersey continues to struggle to meet the growing need for community services and supports for citizens living with developmental disabilities. Over 8,000 people have been on a Community Services Waiting List that continues to grow, along with over 2,400 people who have been waiting for years to leave institutions. Bill A-3625, sponsored by Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, changes the way in which the Department of Developmental Disabilities within the Department of Human Services will use resources to provide services, by reducing reliance on developmental centers in addition to strengthening and expanding community based service and support. The unmet needs of thousands can be better met with a community system that can serve twice as many people for the same dollar as costly, outdated institutions. By reducing reliance on developmental centers, New Jersey would be part of an overwhelming nation trend. Consider that across the nation 140 institutions have closed, 10 states currently operate no large public institutions and most other states have taken steps to reduce their reliance on institutional care. New Jersey can follow the examples set by other states so that those living with developmental disabilities can choose to lead dignified, active engaged lives. Stop the unbalanced and disproportionate funding of institutional care and don’t let institutionalization be the only choice for those living with developmental disabilities in New Jersey. This petition allows you to show your support to New Jersey's legislators by urging them to support A3625 immediately.
EDIT: Please make sure that if you are filling this out you put in a New Jersey zip code. Legislators in other states cannot help pass this bill and will only be confused by the message. If you are unsure of your appropriate zip code, a list is provided by the NJ State government at: http://www.nj.gov/infobank/njzips.htm
People living with developmental disabilities should have the same opportunities for to live quality, engaged lives in the community, outside of the institutions and live their lives with dignity as they choose.
This bill will move New Jersey in the direction of 47 other states and the 140 other closures that have reduced reliance on institutional care, with 10 states having no large public facilities at all.
It will move us forward toward meeting the mandate of the federal Olmstead decision, which made it unconstitutional to segregate those living with developmental disabilities in large public institutions.
The bill will stop New Jersey’s investment in costly and inappropriate care in large outdated public institutions that segregate people, expending 1/3 of its budget to support 8% of the people it serves.
The plan contained in A-3625 will consolidate the State’s seven developmental centers and use the savings to invest in community services and supports. A-3625 will help end the wait for more than 8,000 people wait on a community services waiting list, and over 80% of people in institutions that have been assessed as ready for community living.
The people in community services programs have the same challenges as those who live in the developmental centers and can be safely cared for in the community.
Under the plan in A-3625, twice as many people can be served with the same dollar, which is consistent with the need to use State resources more efficiently in these economically tough times.
Community services and supports are already serving people living with even the most difficult challenges. This bill would provide the funding necessary to strengthen these services with the additional expertise of the “staff without walls” approach.
With the bill’s staff without walls approach, New Jersey’s developmental center workforce will be redeployed into the community while retaining their state status. Their expertise will be utilized to provide OT and PT therapy services, community case management and related health services.
Do not let costly, outdated institutionalization be the only choice for thousands of people who are waiting for community services.
Help New Jersey follow the path of most other states and position itself fiscally and organizationally to meet the growing need for services and supports. By supporting and/or cosponsoring A-3625, you are laying the foundation to provide appropriate services, supports and the opportunity to live quality engaged lives fro thousands of people. Again, I urge you to move New Jersey in the direction of most other states and support A-3625.