New Jersey’s community of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), their families, service providers, and advocacy allies currently face some of the greatest challenges seen in a generation. The state system intended to provide services and supports for individuals with I/DD and their families has undergone significant changes over the past several years – with varying degrees of success – and continues to do so. On the federal level, the I/DD community has seen repeated and increasingly severe attempts to impose cuts or caps to Medicaid, which would have a disastrous effect on New Jersey’s ability to administer vital services. New Jerseyans with I/DD remain underemployed and underrepresented in our communities; and severely lacking in viable options in transportation, housing, and healthcare.
In October of 2017, in the face of these and a number of other challenges within our I/DD community, the NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities, the NJ Association of Community Providers, the Family Support Coalition of New Jersey, and the Statewide Family Support Planning Councils hosted 57 advocates representing 29 organizations for individuals with I/DD and their families for a summit to identify common goals and to establish an advocacy agenda to follow as we adapt to a changing political and social services landscape at home in New Jersey and in Washington, DC.
Rising from that important first summit, New Jersey advocates resolved to form a Network of self-advocates, family members, support providers, and disability stakeholders representing communities across the state to carry out the advocacy goals most important to New Jersey residents with I/DD, their families, and those who provide them with support; and to advance the rights, opportunities, and service systems of people with I/DD in our state.
We hope you’ll join us in our efforts!