Division of Developmental Disabilities Resources

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DDD News and Announcements
http://nj.gov/humanservices/ddd/news/news/index.html
To subscribe to the Division’s e-news bulletin, Division Update, please send an email to DDD.Communications@dhs.state.nj.us, with Division Update Subscribe in the subject line.

Visit DDD Webinars for information about upcoming webinars and to view archived webinars

Mailing Address:

Administrative Office
PO Box 726
Trenton, NJ 08625-0726

Office:

Department of Human Services building
222 South Warren Street
Trenton, NJ 08625-0700

2020

November 20, 2020

Hello Division Constituents and Community Partners,

The 2020 holiday season is upon us and, unfortunately, New Jersey is experiencing increases in COVID-19 positivity across the State.  Many individuals, families, and friends are inquiring about visitation for those who reside in licensed community residential settings during this time.

As a result, the Department of Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities is releasing Holiday 2020 Residential Visitation Guidance for licensed community residential settings.  This guidance is intended to protect the health and safety of all individuals living and staff working in Division-funded licensed residential settings.

Individuals, their families and friends, and licensed community residential provider agencies and their staff, are urged to carefully review this information.

Thank you for your continued support as we work together to navigate this most challenging and unprecedented public health emergency during this holiday season.

November 18, 2020

Hello Division Constituents and Community Partners,

As you may know, positivity rates and community spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey have increased in recent weeks. To reduce exposure risk for the individuals we serve, and their families and caregivers, the Department of Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities has made the difficult decision to close all Division-funded in-person congregate day service facilities for a second time.

All Division-funded in-person congregate day service facilities are directed to close again effective close of business November 25, 2020, through at least January 19, 2021. 

Please review the Division’s Temporary Closure of Congregate Day Services guidance for answers to frequently asked questions and additional information.

November 18, 2020

The notice below was distributed today to Division-funded residential providers.

Dear Providers:

The Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), and the Office of Program Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) continue to closely monitor the fluid nature of the COVID-19 health emergency and proactively respond by implementing strategies to further safeguard the health, safety, and well-being of individuals receiving services, their guardians and families, providers and our employees.

NJ state government remains open. It is critical that DHS and its providers continue to work together to maintain important oversight and do all we can to assist individuals and their families.

The current health situation necessitates that effective 11/23/20, OPIA is temporarily pausing its non-emergency field activities and targeting field-related responses to those situations where a field response is critical to ensuring immediate health and safety.  Visits will resume as soon as possible.

Specific strategies include the following:

  • The Field Safety and Services Unit (FSSU) will maintain and expand tele-visits with an ongoing emphasis on immediate health and safety concerns.
  • The Incident Verification Unit (IVU) staff will continue virtual verification activities and all incidents involving abuse and neglect will be screened by an IVU supervisor to determine the most appropriate verification method.
  • The Office of Licensing (OOL) will utilize established inspection protocols as determined by the OOL supervisor.

In addition to the measures identified above, it is expected that all providers maintain ongoing, direct administrative oversight of their respective sites and ensure consistent implementation of the identified, rigorous health and safety protocols within these settings. As a reminder, in September 2020, DHS, the Department of Health, and DDD issued detailed guidance to providers; all of which is available on the Department of Human Services Coronavirus Information Hub and the Department of Health COVID-19 Information Hub. This critically important guidance includes tracking of provider surge planning, risk mitigation strategies, such as regular health screenings, monitoring for signs and symptoms of illness, wearing masks, and social distancing.

Please note that failure of any Division-funded residential provider to implement all applicable COVID-related health and safety protocols may be determined to constitute neglect of individuals served. Further, such a finding of neglect may result in the imposition of negative licensing or other administrative/legal action against the responsible entity.

Please continue to closely monitor compliance across all residential locations and ensure that all program supervisors, managers, and staff understand and consistently adhere to the requirements.

Thank you for your cooperation and continued commitment to maintaining the health and safety of the individuals we mutually serve.

Sincerely,
Lauri Woodward
Director, Office of Program Integrity and Accountability

October 23, 2020

I am pleased to share that the NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD) has announced a new funding opportunity, Access to Technology During the COVID-19 Pandemic. This opportunity is open to adults (21 and older) with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) enrolled with the Division’s Community Care Program or Supports Program who have been affected by the statewide Coronavirus pandemic. Items considered for funding include and are limited to one item: handheld electronic device (Samsung Galaxy Tablet/iPad/Fire Tablet/Smartphone), reimbursed up to $250.00, or computer device (Chromebook/Laptop/Desktop Computer), reimbursed up to $500.00. Questions can be directed to NJCDD at Grants@njcdd.org.
 
Please also see the information below regarding New Jersey’s minimum wage law, as well as a reminder about the Division’s next bi-weekly COVID-19 update webinar.
 

 
NJ Minimum Wage Law
 
In February 2019, Governor Murphy signed a law to incrementally raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024. The next increase goes into effect on January 1, 2021, and every January 1 after that through 2024, as follows:
 
EFFECTIVE DATE:
NJ MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES TO:
Jan. 1, 2021
$12 per hour
Jan. 1, 2022
$13 per hour
Jan. 1, 2023
$14 per hour
Jan. 1, 2024
$15 per hour
 
This law may impact some DDD-funded provider agencies and individuals who receive DDD-funded services from self-directed employees:
  • Provider agencies should familiarize themselves with the new law and make whatever wage adjustments are needed to comply with the law. 
  • Individuals who receive DDD-funded services from a self-directed employee will need to make sure they comply with the new law by ensuring their employee’s hourly wage for any service provided is at least $12 by January 1, 2021. To increase a self-directed employee’s hourly wage, individuals must contact their Support Coordinator, and the fiscal intermediary that issues payments to their employee. Please note that fiscal intermediaries are prohibited by law from compensating self-directed employees for any amount less than $12 per hour beginning January 1, 2021.
 

 
REMINDER! Next DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar is October 29
 
The next DDD COVID-19 update webinar for October will be held Thursday, October 29 at 10:30 am. If you already registered for the October webinars, you do not need to register again. If you did not already register, please use the link below.
 
 

 
To Subscribe to Division Update, send an email to DDD.Communications@dhs.nj.gov with Division Update Subscribe in the subject line.

October 20, 2020

Hello Division Constituents and Community Partners,

As announced in a joint press release yesterday, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) have launched an initiative to reimburse providers of community-based services for certain COVID-19-related expenses they have incurred since the onset of the current public health emergency.  Eligible expenses can include costs for personal protective equipment, cleaning and infection control, and HIPAA-compliant technology to facilitate remote services.

Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) resources will be used to provide up to $25 million for the initiative, intended to assist home health, developmental disability, child welfare, and homeless service providers remain open and accessible during the pandemic.

The deadline for providers to submit reimbursement requests is November 13, 2020. Please note that this funding opportunity is available to Division day services providers who submit their re-opening attestation on or before October 23, 2020.
DHS/DDD providers should review the Information Regarding Coronavirus Relief Funding Available, which provides an overview and links to the following related documents:

Information about the initiative for DCF providers is available at DCF COVID-19 Resources for Contracted Providers.
Please share this important information with your networks.

October 19, 2020

Friends – NJ Human Services is here to help during these challenging times. Visit us at nj.gov/humanservices and share the attached  English and Spanish resources to help us help New Jersey’s families.

October 9, 2020

Just a few important reminders as we head into a long holiday weekend:

  • The deadline to register to vote in the November General Election is Tuesday, October 13. Visit the 2020 New Jersey Vote Information Portal for information about how to register, to register online, or to find out whether you are already registered.
  • The Census deadline is extended through October 31. If you haven’t already, please visit NJ Census 2020 to complete your census.
  • The NJ Department of Human Services has numerous COVID-related resources available to assist residents and their families:

Finally, the Division’s next bi-weekly COVID-19 Update webinar is Thursday, October 15, from 10:30 – 11:30 am. If you did not already register, you can register here for the October COVID-19 Update Webinars. (Registering once will register you for all webinars in October.)

October 8, 2020

I am pleased to share a new funding opportunity from our sister division, the NJ Division of Disability Services (DDS).

As announced in a Department of Human Services’ press release earlier this week, the intent of the DDS grant is to promote the creation of inclusive and healthy communities for people with disabilities. The DDS is accepting proposals for the new Inclusive Healthy Communities (IHC) Grant Program. Details are available in the DHS/DDS IHC Grant Program Notice of Funding Availability and Request for Proposals.

Interested applicants can learn more about the program and submit a proposal by visiting the Rutgers-DHS/DDS Inclusive Healthy Communities (IHC) Grant Program website.

Please share this important opportunity with your networks and colleagues.

September 30

As you may know, Division-funded congregates day service facilities began re-opening last week with limited capacity and in adherence to Congregate Day Program Re-Opening Requirements The Division wishes to express its deep appreciation to individuals, families, day and residential service providers and staff, and support coordinators for working together to ensure a safe and phased transition back to congregate day services. We continue to closely monitor this system-wide transition and remain prepared to make adjustments based on the evolving nature of the COVID pandemic.

The Division is pleased to announce the continuation of the temporary 20% supplemental payments to residential providers through October 31. In addition, the FY2021 State budget signed yesterday by Governor Murphy includes funding for a second $3-per-hour wage increase, from October 1 through December 31, 2020, for direct support professionals working in provider-managed residential settings that are claiming Individual Supports-Daily Rate.

For more information, please see the Division’s updated Temporary Residential Funding guidance and the Department of Human Services’ updated Notice of Temporarily Enhanced Residential Daily Rates.

As the November 3 elections draw closer, the Division is pleased to share the information below from Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ) outlining the free resources they have available to the New Jersey intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) community.

And finally, please make note of and share the reminder below about the Division’s next COVID-19 update webinar, which is scheduled for Thursday, October 1.

September 3

The closure of congregate day program facilities in March was an unprecedented step taken by the Division as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. We understand how challenging this closure has been for individuals, families and providers and are pleased to release this comprehensive Congregate Day Program Re-Opening Requirements document, together with the following related forms:

·Congregate Day Program Re-Opening Attestation
·Facility Readiness Tool
·Individual Needs and Risk Assessment
·Receipt of COVID-19 Information Form

The Division has also updated the following guidance documents:

·Residential and Day Program Screening Policy
·Residential Moves
·Temporary Service Modifications

Please note that all forms and documents are available on the DHS Coronavirus Information webpage, and please direct any questions to the Division’s COVID-19 Helpdesk at DDD.COVID-19@dhs.nj.gov.

September 2

DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar is September 3
There are two DDD COVID-19 update webinars scheduled for September:

  • Thursday, September 3 at 10:30 am
  • Thursday, September 17 at 10:30 am

REGISTER NOW for September COVID-19 Update Webinars<
If you already registered for the September webinars, you do not need to register again. Registering once will register you for both webinars in September.

August 31

Hello Division Constituents and Community Partners,
As day programs remain closed, the 20% enhancement to Individual Supports-Daily Rate to compensate for additional staff needed during the day is extended through September 30, 2020.
Residential providers in particular can review the Department of Human Services’ new Notice of Temporarily Enhanced Residential Daily Rates and the Division’s updated Temporary Residential Funding guidance.

August 25

Voting Safely in 2020 Webinars

To ensure that people with disabilities understand their right to vote and have the information they need to vote safely in the 2020 election, Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ) will be hosting two Voting Safely in 2020 webinars:

Thursday, August 27, 2 – 3 pm: REGISTER NOW
Tuesday, September 22, 1 – 2 pm: REGISTER NOW

REMINDER! DDD Bi-weekly COVID-19 Update Webinars: SEPTEMBER 2020

There are two DDD COVID-19 update webinars scheduled for September:

  • Thursday September 3 at 10:30 am
  • Thursday September 17 at 10:30 am

REGISTER NOW for September COVID-19 Update Webinars

If you already registered for the September webinars, you do not need to register again. Registering once will register you for both webinars in September.

August 19
On another important note, the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD) has reached out to the Division of Developmental Disabilities for assistance in letting stakeholders know that NJCDD is seeking input on their

REMINDER! Next DDD Bi-weekly COVID-19 Update Webinar is August 20

The next live DDD COVID-19 update webinar is scheduled for Thursday, August 20 at 10:30 am. If you already registered for the August webinars, you do not need to register again.Register Now for August COVID-19 Update Webinars

August 7
On another important note, the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD) has reached out to the Division of Developmental Disabilities for assistance in letting stakeholders know that NJCDD is seeking input on their Five-Year State Plan for 2022–2026.

To assist in this effort, interested stakeholders are encouraged to visit NJCDD 5-Year Plan 2022–2026 to complete an online survey or learn about other ways to submit input. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact NJCDD by phone at 609.292.3325 or by email at njcdd@njcdd.org.   

August 7
The Division is pleased to release updated guidance on Temporary Service Modifications, which includes specific parameters and flexibilities around the delivery of modified services. Please review this updated guidance thoroughly, as it affects providers, individuals and families, and support coordinators.

Questions related to this updated guidance can be directed to the Fee-for-Service Helpdesk at DDD.FeeForService@dhs.nj.gov.

August 4
REMINDER! DDD Bi-weekly COVID-19 Update Webinars: AUGUST 2020

There are two DDD COVID-19 update webinars scheduled for August:

Thursday, August 6 at 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, August 20 at 10:30 a.m.

Register Now for AugustCOVID-19 Update Webinars

Please note this is a new registration link for the August webinars. Even if you registered for previous COVID-19 update webinars, you will need to register at the link above for the August webinars. Registering once will register you for both webinars in August.

JULY 30
As previously communicated, the $3-per-hour temporary wage increase for direct support professionals (DSPs) working in provider-managed residential settings will end on July 31, 2020.  As day programs remain closed, the 20% enhancement to Individual Supports-Daily Rate to compensate for additional staff needed during the day is extended through August 31, 2020.

Residential providers, in particular, should review the Department of Human Services’ new Notice of Temporarily Enhanced Residential Daily Rates and the Division’s updated Temporary Residential Funding guidance

JULY 23
The Department of Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities is pleased to release updated Residential Visitation Guidance that now permits indoor visitation, when certain conditions are met, with family and friends of individuals who reside in provider-managed settings such as group homes. The Division’s Residential Screening Policy has also been updated to reflect this adjustment. 

Visitation will require an attestation from the residential provider, guardian consent, and each visitor to sign a visitor agreement ahead of their visit. These forms can be found below and are also available here: NJ Department of Human Services COVID-19 Information

Further adjustments to the policy will be made as more is learned about the virus. Please distribute this important information to your networks.

JULY 22
REMINDER! DDD Bi-weekly COVID-19 Update Webinar: July 23
The Division’s next bi-weekly COVID-19 update webinar is scheduled for July 23 at 10:30 a.m.
If you already registered for the July webinars, there is no need to register again for the July 23 webinar. If you are not already registered, please use the link below.  Register Now for July COVID-19 Update Webinars

JULY 15
NEW WEBINAR! Service Documentation for Self-Directed Employees (SDEs)

Maintaining service documentation is mandatory for providers of Division-funded services, including Self-Directed Employees (SDEs) enrolled in either the Vendor Fiscal/Employer Agent model with Public Partnerships (PPL) or the Agency with Choice model with Easterseals.

This training webinar is intended to ensure that self-directed employees and those who hire them have an understanding of how to appropriately maintain service documentation. The Division strongly recommends SDEs and the individuals/families who employ them register and attend this webinar on Wednesday, July 22, from 3:00 – 4:00 pm:
Register Now for Service Documentation for SDEs Webinar

JULY 14
As you are aware, congregate day services remain closed.  Last week, the Division released important guidance related to provider payments for those settings.

Today, the Division is releasing State Supplemental Payments for Day Providers – Frequently Asked Questions, as well as an updated Attestation for Congregate Day Payments.  Updates include an extension of the deadline for receipt of Attestation to July 21, 2020 (email and hard due this date).  Agencies that previously submitted the Attestation must resubmit on or before this deadline.
Providers of Division-funded congregate day services (Career Planning, Community Inclusion, Day Habilitation, Prevocational Training-Group, and Supported Employment-Group) should carefully review this updated information:

JULY 8
Based on Governor Murphy’s travel advisory for people entering New Jersey from states with significant COVID-19 spread, the Division has updated its Residential Screening Policy. As indicated in that advisory, anyone visiting or returning from one of the identified states should quarantine for 14 days.
I also want to call your attention to new resources available from the federal government:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a new resource, Guidance for Direct Service Providers, which includes comprehensive information and guidance for direct support professionals who provide services to people with disabilities.
  • The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released a new Provider Relief Fund Fact Sheetwhich includes specific guidance for providers applying for funds from the Medicaid and CHIP provider distribution of the Provider Relief Fund. Applications are due July 20, 2020. A HRSA webinar regarding this distribution is scheduled for today, Wednesday, July 8 at 4:00 pm EDT.

Please share the Division’s updated screening policy and these new federal resources with your networks.

JULY 7
While congregate day services remain closed, the Division is releasing this important, time-sensitive guidance related to provider payments for those settings. Providers of Division-funded congregate day services (Career Planning, Community Inclusion, Day Habilitation, Prevocational Training-Group, and Supported Employment-Group) should carefully review the following:

JULY 1
DDD Bi-weekly COVID-19 Update Webinars: July 2020

There are two DDD COVID-19 update webinars scheduled for July:

Thursday, July 9 at 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, July 23 at 10:30 a.m.

Register Now for July COVID-19 Update Webinars

Please note this is a new registration link for the July webinars. Even if you registered for previous COVID-19 update webinars, you will need to register at the link above for the July webinars. Registering once will register you for both webinars in July.

JUNE 30
On June 27th, members of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) ratified a COVID 2020 Emergency Agreement that furloughs many of its members an average of 10 business days between June 29 and July 24, 2020. This includes nearly 600 workers here at the Division of Developmental Disabilities, in our Community Services Offices.

It is important for you to know that the Division remains open and all operations are continuingdespite a reduced workforce over the next four weeks. Our priority, as always, is ensuring the health, safety and well-being of the individuals we serve. For vital issues, you may continue to call the Division Community Services office for your county or 1.800.832.9173. Please also note the Division’s 24/7 on-call system for emergencies remains active.

We ask for your patience and understanding during this time, as you may encounter slight delays to some inquiries. If you need assistance and are having trouble reaching Division staff, please email our Fee-for-Service Helpdesk at DDD.FeeForService@dhs.nj.gov.

JUNE 24
I am pleased to share two new COVID-related resources developed by The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities:

This guidance about face masks will be particularly helpful as New Jersey moves forward with the COVID-19 Recovery and Re-Opening.

Another important resource, Your Options for Voting in the 2020 Primary Election>, is a one-pager developed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by our community partners, The Boggs Center, Disability Rights New Jersey, and the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities. It is important to note that, due to COVID-19, New Jersey’s 2020 Primary Election was delayed until July 7th.

Finally, a reminder that the Division’s bi-weekly COVID-19 update webinar will be held tomorrow, Thursday, June 25 at 10:30 a.m. If you already registered, you will receive a reminder email with login information and you do not need to re-register. If not, you can register now for the COVID-19 update webinar.

JUNE 22

REMINDER! DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar this Thursday, June 25

The Division’s COVID-19 update webinars have moved to a bi-weekly format for June, with webinars scheduled as follows:

Thursday June 11 at 10:30 a.m.
Thursday June 25 at 10:30 a.m.

If you previously registered for any of the weekly webinars, you will automatically receive a reminder on Wednesday – there is no need to re-register. If you did not previously register, you can register now for the DDD COVID-19 Update Webinars.

Please note that the 6/11 and 6/25 webinars will take the place of the quarterly update webinar that was originally scheduled for 6/17. The next DDD quarterly update meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

June 19, 2020
A Message from Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson

Friends:

As we look forward to this weekend and the opportunity to celebrate fathers and father-figures in our lives, we are pleased that the Division of Developmental Disabilities has been able to issue new guidance for beginning family visits at group homes starting this Sunday.

The guidance is specific about the screening and safeguards that must be in place for these outside visits to occur. And, agencies are working hard to prepare for these visits and will do their best to accommodate everyone they can.

Safety is our top priority — and we are anxious to ensure safe and enjoyable visits are able to start on Sunday. Masks must be worn. And social distancing must be practiced.

We know that the past several months have been difficult as visits have been curtailed. We thank you for your forbearance, and we thank residents for their patience and resilience during these unprecedented times.

For specific information related to this, please review our newly released Residential Visitation Guidance and our updated Residential Screening Policy.

Happy Father’s Day and stay well.

Best,
Carole Johnson

June 18, 2020
Dear Division Constituents and Community Partners,

On March 20, in response to the emerging COVID-19 public health emergency, the Department of Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities issued visitation and screening guidance for provider-managed residential settings.

As COVID-related restrictions in New Jersey ease and the state moves forward with the Governor’s multi-stage recovery and re-opening plan, families are understandably eager to visit with their loved ones who are living in group homes, supervised apartments and other provider-managed residential settings.

Today, the Division is issuing an updated residential screening policy, as well as new residential visitation guidance.

The new guidance on visits with family and friends will go into effect on June 21, 2020, allowing time for providers time to prepare. Also, it is important to note that the new visitation guidance will be amended over time as we learn more about the virus.
Please share this information widely, and feel free to send any questions or concerns to the Division’s COVID-19 Helpdesk: DDD.COVID-19@dhs.nj.gov.

June 10, 2020
Hello Division Constituents and Community Partners,

Please see two important, time-sensitive announcements regarding potential funding assistance for providers.

  • The NJ Department of Human Services issued a press release today urging Medicaid and CHIP providers to review and apply quickly for the new $15 million in federal COVID-19 funding assistance. The full text of the press release is available below.

Please distribute this information to your networks.

May 29, 2020
Please review and share the following new and important COVID-19 resources:

Please also note the Division’s COVID-19 update webinars are moving to a bi-weekly format, with upcoming webinars scheduled for Thursday June 11 and Thursday June 25 at 10:30 a.m.  If you previously registered for any of the weekly webinars, you do not need to re-register. If not, you can register now for the COVID-19 update webinars.

May 21, 2020

Many of you are familiar with the Quick Guide for Families, a resource developed by the Division of Developmental Disabilities in 2017 in collaboration with the Regional Family Support Planning Councils that provided information about entering Division services through enrollment in the Supports Program.

I am thrilled to announce that the Quick Guide for Families has been updated and now provides condensed, easy-to-understand information from the policy manuals for both of the Division’s Medicaid waiver programs, the Supports Program, and Community Care Program.

As before, printed copies can be requested through the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD), using their Quick Guide Request web form. Please note that, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, NJCDD staff are working remotely and requests for printed copies will be fulfilled when NJCDD staff are able to return to the physical office.

A Spanish translation of the Quick Guide for Families will also be available soon.

This guide can be helpful for any family whose loved one will be entering Division services but is particularly valuable for middle and high school students with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families. Please share this updated resource with your networks, and encourage schools to make it available to students and their families.

May 14, 2020

Thank you for your help spreading the word about last night’s live discussion on NJ Human Services’ available supports and services during this challenging time.
Here is a link for a YouTube video of the entire discussion with CART captioning, as well as ASL interpretation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1vQaUhnJKs&t=2539s. Please feel free to share.
You can also find the video on our Facebook page at facebook.com/NJDHS/

ICYMI-NJ Human Service Informational Session

May 13, 2020

Struggling with basic needs during Covid19-LivestreamFacebook-NJDHS-May13-7pm

May 12, 2020

Struggling with basic needs during Covid19-LivestreamFacebook-NJDHS-May13-7pm

May 8, 2020

Thank you for your continued commitment to supporting the individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities we mutually serve. I am truly humbled by the skill, patience and compassion you bring to the hard work you are doing each and every day. As you are caring for others, I hope you are remembering that your health and well-being are equally as important and I hope you are finding ways to take care of yourself.

Many of you have been asking questions about what the Division is doing related to 2020 graduates who will be seeking our services. I’m pleased to let you know about a webinar the Division has scheduled for May 19th that will provide information about this. Please see the detailed description and registration link below.

I also want to bring your attention to newly-updated information on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Social Security and COVID-19 page about the economic impact payments for SSA benefit recipients.

 

NEW WEBINAR! Transitioning into Adulthood – Information about DDD Services for the 2020 Graduates

Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Time: 
1:00 p.m.
Presenter: Jennifer Joyce, Director of the Division’s Employment and Transition to 21 Unit

This webinar will provide information about accessing the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) services for students exiting the school system. It will include an overview of DDD, information about the eligibility process, and accessing services. The discussion will also include information about services during the current situation related to COVID-19 and ideas of some planning that can be done during this time when we are staying at home.

REGISTER NOW for the Webinar

 

May 4, 2020

Public Charge Quick Guide

As we urge New Jerseyans across the state to take advantage of the various resources available to them through food assistance and other programs, we are aware that immigrant residents may be less likely to participate due to the fear created by the federal public charge policy. The Department of Human Services has created a quick guide to help residents make informed decisions for their families as it relates to public charge and public benefits.

It is important that families understand that they have access to some resources regardless of their immigration status, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. We hope this is helpful to the communities impacted. Thank you for your continued partnership.

April 29, 2020

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Support Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic
$24 Million in Temporary Wage Increases for Direct Support Professionals in Group Homes & Supervised Apartments; New Guidance for Hospitals on Families and Loved Ones
April 29, 2020
(TRENTON) – The Murphy Administration today announced $24 million in state and federal resources for temporary wage increases for the direct support professionals who care for adult individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in group homes and supervised apartments – $10.6 million in state funding and $13.4 million in federal matching resources.  With these funds, beginning May 1 the Department of Human Services will implement a temporary $3 per hour wage increase for these professionals for three months, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
The Administration also announced new guidance to require hospitals to allow a designated support person to be with an individual with a disability during hospitalization.
            “Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in the community benefit from the dedicated work of direct support professionals who provide critical care and supports in group homes across our State,” said Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson. “Direct support professionals are essential workers ensuring that there is 24/7 support for some of our most vulnerable residents.  Their hard work with residents, who often have underlying health conditions, is making a tremendous difference at this critical time.  Today’s action is intended to recognize and value this essential work. With today’s hospital guidance, the Administration is also recognizing the critical role DSPs, families and guardians play in supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at this challenging time.”
Having a family member or other support person by your side while in the hospital can provide a reassuring and familiar presence during what may be a stressful situation,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. “At the same time, through appropriate screening, we are continuing to maintain the safety of hospital staff and other patients.”
New Jersey Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities provides supportive services to about 8,000 adult individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in group homes and supervised apartments across the State.  These settings are staffed by direct support professionals (DSPs) who ensure that residents receive daily support with their needs and are able to achieve their personal goals. The wage increase will apply to DSPs in these settings, begin on May 1 and be in place for three months.
The New Jersey Department of Health also announced new guidance requiring hospitals to allow a designated support person to accompany an individual with a disability during a hospitalization despite other restrictions on visitors at this time.  The designated support person may be a family member, personal care assistant or another disability service provider and is subject to screening by the hospital and required to be asymptomatic for COVID-19.
Today’s announcements build on the steps the Administration has taken to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Human Services has:
·         Closed day programs where individuals participated in daily congregate activities to reduce risk;
·         Provided bridge payments to day program providers;
·         Enhanced payments to group home providers to allow them to bring in additional staff given the added time residents are at home;
·         Modified rules to quickly allow families and providers to hire workers to support their loved ones;
·         Restricted visitors to group homes to reduce risk;
·         Delivered PPE to group homes and supervised apartments, as well as family homes where aides come into the home;
·         Released guidance on requirements surrounding hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting, and critical supplies for group home providers; and,
·         Worked proactively to address the critical needs of individuals during this unprecedented event.
The Administration understands that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities face particular challenges in this difficult time, including having their regular routines disrupted, being unable to participate in day programs and employment, and not being able to receive visitors in their homes.  These are tremendous challenges, and the Administration will continue to take all available steps to best support their needs in this very difficult time.

April 27, 2020

Most of you are already familiar with the wealth of information and resources available through The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, New Jersey’s University Center on Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service.
I want to bring your special attention to The Boggs Center COVID-19 Information and Resources page, and in particular to their Just In Time Webinar Series. This series was developed to assist providers, direct support professionals and other caregivers as they work to support the health and well-being of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I also want to share information about a national survey for direct support professionals (DSPs). The National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), in partnership with the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota, developed a survey to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the DSP workforce and identify the most effective ways to protect DSPs and the people they support. Please feel free to forward this survey to providers or other entities who employ direct support professionals. Survey answers will be anonymous.

April 22, 2020

We have been made aware that many people who registered for the Division’s COVID-19 Update webinar on Thursday received a reminder email identifying 2:30 GMT as the webinar start time. Since 2:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is 10:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the reminder email is not actually wrong – just very confusing! The webinar does start at 10:30 a.m. EDT (New Jersey time).
Please note that clicking on the blue Join Webinar box in the reminder email you received should take you to a screen that identifies 10:30 a.m. as the start time, and should enable you to log in to the webinar on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. You do not need to re-register.
If, however, you did not previously register, please see the information below:
Event:   DDD Weekly COVID-19 Update Webinar
Date:    Every Thursday from 4/23/20 – 5/28/20
Time:    10:30 a.m.

April 15, 2020

We have been made aware that many people who registered for the Division’s COVID-19 Update webinar on Thursday have received a reminder email identifying 2:30 GMT as the webinar start time. Since 2:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is 10:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the reminder email is not actually wrong – just very confusing! The webinar does start at 10:30 a.m. EDT (New Jersey time).
 
We are looking into why this glitch occurred. Please note, however, that clicking on the blue Join Webinar box in the reminder email you received should take you to a screen that identifies 10:30 a.m. as the start time, and should enable you to log in to the webinar on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. You do not need to re-register.
 
Please also see the announcements below about some new and updated guidance documents that are available on the NJ Department of Human Services Coronavirus Information page.

April 15, 2020

NEW! PPL Step-by-Step Process Documents for SDE On-Boarding During COVID-19
Based on stakeholder requests for clearer guidance, the Division worked with Public Partnerships LLC (PPL) to create documents outlining the temporary self-directed employee on-boarding process with PPL during the COVID-19 public health emergency:
 

 
UPDATED! Temporary Service Modifications Guidance
We understand there was some confusion around the announcement of the temporary availability of remote service delivery as an option during the COVID-19 emergency. Based on this, the COVID-19 Temporary Service Modifications guidance document was updated on 4/15/2020. The updated guidance reflects that the Division has not placed restrictions on one-to-one in-home supports, as long as the planning team has carefully considered the potential health risks and is in agreement with the continuation of in-home supports. The guidance related to remote delivery of services (via secure videoconferencing or telephone) was intended to convey the availability of remote service delivery as an option, not a requirement.
 

April 14, 2020

Last Thursday, we held the first of what is planned as a weekly webinar update to ensure that individuals, families, providers and other stakeholders receive the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 public health emergency as it relates to the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

Update webinars will be held Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. through the end of May, at which time we will review the need to continue holding weekly updates beyond May.
Register one time using the link below for all weekly update webinars from April 16 through May 28.

Event: DDD Weekly COVID-19 Update Webinar
Date: Every Thursday from 4/16/20 – 5/28/2
Time:    10:30 a.m.

Register for DDD Weekly COVID-19 Update Webinars (only register once)
Below are the links to the April 9 webinar slides and recording and the new guidance documents referenced in the webinar.

DDD Weekly COVID-19 Update (4/9 Webinar Slides)
DDD Weekly COVID-19 Update (4/9 Webinar Recording)
COVID-19 Temporary Provider Funding
COVID-19 Temporary Service Modifications

All webinars and guidance documents are available on the NJ Department of Human Services Coronavirus Information page.

April 9, 2020

DDD Update: COVID-19 Webinar Scheduled for Thursday, April 9
Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Seifried will conduct a webinar on Thursday, April 9 to bring stakeholders up-to-date on Division guidance and information related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

DDD Update: COVID-19
Date: Thursday, April 9, 2020
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location:Register for DDD Update: COVID-19 Webinar

NJ Self-Advocacy Project Announces Webinar Series to Assist Individuals with I/DD During COVID-19
The Division-funded New Jersey Self-Advocacy Project announced a new webinar series for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), Stay Healthy at Home: Living Your Best Life During Quarantine. Webinars will be held every Tuesday in April, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., and registration links are available below.

April 7: Internet Safety for Students and Adults with I/DD
April 14: COVID-19 Information and Resources for Advocates
April 21: Healthy Communication and Staying Connected
April 28: Healthy Stress Management and Outdoor Safety Tips

Readoption with Amendments and Repeal
Notice of Readoption: N.J.A.C. 10:46CCommunity Care Program Waiting List Procedures, was published on the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Rule Adoptions page on April 6, 2020.

April 1, 2020

As the coronavirus situation continues to evolve in New Jersey and across the nation, staff from the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Division are working around the clock with our partners to ensure that individuals, families, providers and stakeholders receive the most up-to-date information. Please review the following new and updated guidance documents, which are also available on the DHS Novel Coronavirus Information webpage:

We encourage you to share this information with your networks and to continue to submit any non-health-related questions or concerns to the Division’s COVID-19 Helpdesk at DDD.COVID-19@dhs.nj.gov.

The Department and Division also wish to acknowledge the dedication and caring of our direct support professionals, families, community providers, developmental center staff, state staff and stakeholder community. We know it is your tireless hard work that is helping to move the people we serve through this difficult time.

March 30, 2020

UPDATED Residential Screening Policy

The COVID-19 Residential Screening Policy distributed by the Division on March 20 has been updated as of March 27. Residential providers should review the updated policy.

Two-Week Limited Extension of Payments for Day and Residential Providers
Impacted day and residential providers received a communication today with details about the Division’s two-week limited extension of payments, as follows:

  • Closed facility-based day providers will receive a retainer payment equal to 75% of the amount paid for the first two weeks. This is intended to assist with fixed facility and overhead costs, as well as supporting those staff who have not been redeployed to residential or in-home services.
  • The enhanced residential payment will remain the same. Providers should continue to bill the daily rate and should be able to demonstrate that they have arranged for additional staffing during the hours when day programs are closed and are meeting all licensing and program requirements.

REMINDER! Report COVID-19 Related Cases to DDD
Please note that instances of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in individuals served and provider staff must be reported to the Division of Developmental Disabilities via the standard incident reporting protocols.

Federal and State Assistance for NJ Businesses
The COVID-19 public health emergency is impacting many businesses, including community providers and vendors who provide services to individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities in New Jersey. The following resources may be helpful:

NJCDD Grant Funding Available to Assist Individuals/Families Impacted by COVID-19

The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD) is partnering with The Arc of New Jersey to process requests for emergency funding from any individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD), their families, and any qualified community-based organizations that provide supports to people with I/DD who are affected by the statewide COVID-19 response. For information about funding criteria and request process, please visit NJCDD Emergency Funding to Maintain Health, Safety and Engagement During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

March 18, 2020

REMINDER! March 18 Quarterly Update Meetings via WEBINAR ONLY  No In-Person Meeting
The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) quarterly update meetings will be held Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
Please note that the first webinar time slot has changed from previous meetings and is now 1-3 pm. Please also note that both meetings will take place this quarter via webinar – there is no in-person option. After clicking on the registration link, please select your preferred meeting time.

Quarterly Update Meeting for PROVIDERS, INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES
Date: Wednesday, March 18  |  Time: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. |  Location: Webinar
Quarterly Update Meeting for INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES
Date: Wednesday, March 18  |  Time: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.  |  Location: Webinar

REGISTER for Quarterly Update Webinar

March 16, 2020

FAQs on DDD Closures Related to COVID-19

As communicated on Friday, March 13, the Division of Developmental Disabilities has directed all facility-based day program settings to close and provider-facilitated community outings to be discontinued. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions on DDD Closures Related to COVID-19 for Individuals, Families and Providers document for the most up-to-date information.

A DDD help desk has been established for you to submit questions related to these closures and to DDD’s response to the COVID-19 situation: DDD.COVID-19@dhs.nj.gov.  Please do not submit health-related questions to this help desk, including questions about COVID-19 testing, treatment, etc. For health-related questions and concerns, please contact a health care professional or call 911. And please continue to utilize the following websites:

March 13, 2020

To: Individuals, Families and Stakeholders of the Division of Developmental Disabilities
DDD GUIDANCE: DAY PROGRAM CLOSURES & DISCONTINUED COMMUNITY OUTINGS RELATED TO COVID-19

Dear Individuals, Families and Stakeholders:

The highest priority of the Division of Developmental Disabilities is the health and safety of the individuals we serve. Early information on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) suggests that older adults and people with chronic or underlying health conditions have a heightened risk of getting very sick if they become infected. An important step to preventing the spread of COVID-19 is to eliminate large groups of people congregating together.

For this reason, DDD is calling for immediate actions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). No later than Tuesday, March 17, all Division-funded, facility-based day services have been directed to close until advised otherwise.

Additionally, the Division has directed that community outings facilitated by providers that are not for the health or safety of an individual should be discontinued immediately.

The immediate health and safety of the individuals we serve are our top priority, and we are committed to working with our individuals, their families, and provider community to identify the best available solutions to keep individuals safe.

We recognize that this guidance will raise immediate questions about service delivery and reimbursement. The Division will provide additional details over the weekend, but we wanted to get this message to you all as quickly as possible.  This is an evolving situation, we will stay in touch often, and we encourage stakeholders to monitor state and national public health websites for the most up-to-date information and guidance.

March 13, 2020

Updates Related to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Governor Murphy announced administrative actions this week to waive consumer cost sharing for COVID-19 testing and testing-related services and enable NJ Medicaid beneficiaries to receive 90-day prescription refills for maintenance medications, in addition to a number of other steps. Please see the Governor’s press releasefor complete details, and the NJ Department of Human Services (DHS) Coronavirus webpage for details specific to people served by DHS and its divisions and offices.

In addition, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) issued guidance to help Medicare Advantage and Part D plans respond to COVID-19.

For up-to-date information and recommendations regarding COVID-19 in New Jersey and nationally, please visit these public health websites:

March 6, 2020

WEBINAR: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Update for Individuals, Families and Providers

Monday, March 9, 2020 | 3:00 p.m.
Register Here for the COVID-19 Webinar

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the respiratory illness caused by a new virus that first emerged in December 2019 and has since spread to at least 70 countries, including the United States. The NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) is leading the state’s response to COVID-19 and is working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For up-to-date information and recommendations, please visit the NJDOH coronavirus webpage and the CDC coronavirus webpage.

This webinar will provide an overview of what is known about COVID-19, methods of prevention to reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease or becoming infected, and some planning/preparation tips that households and providers can consider.

The webinar can accommodate 1,000 attendees. If registration exceeds this capacity, we will schedule a second webinar later in the week.

To Subscribe to Division Update, send an email to DDD.Communications@dhs.nj.gov with Division Update Subscribe in the subject line.

March 2, 2020

NEW WEBINAR! OPIA REVISIONS to Risk Management System: Risk Indicator Report

Based on stakeholder input, the Department of Human Services Office of Program Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) is pleased to share with you the updated Risk Management System: Risk Indicator Report for DDD Licensed Providers. The webinar will  provide an overview of the OPIA Risk Management System and the newly integrated revisions.

Webinar: Overview of Revisions to the Risk Management System and Risk Indicator Report
Date: Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Time: 11:00 a.m.

Click Here to Register for the Webinar!

Revised reports covering the following time periods will be available on the DHS Risk Management System Risk Indicator Reports page in March 2020, and will be sent in advance of posting to DDD Licensed Providers:

  • July 2018 – June 2019
  • October 2018 – September 2019
  • January 2019 – December 2019

Proposed Readoption with Amendments

A Proposed Readoption with Amendments: N.J.A.C 10:46, Determination of Eligibility, was published on the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Proposed Rules and Amendments page on March 2, 2020. There is a 60-day formal public comment period, which ends May 1, 2020. Written comments may be submitted as follows

  • Electronically: DDD-CO.LAPO@dhs.nj.gov
  • USPS Mail: Carol Jones, Administrative Practice Officer, Division of Developmental Disabilities, PO Box 726, Trenton, NJ 08625-0726

Access the DDD_COMMUNICATIONS Home Page and Archives

February 11, 2020

I’m pleased to forward details about a free webinar being conducted on February 13 by The Arc and the National Disability Rights Network to discuss the 2020 Census and how it relates to the disability community. Please share this information with your colleagues and networks.

The Census and the Disability Community: Get Ready to be Counted!
Thursday, February 13, 2020 | 2 pm – 3 pm CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

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