In 29 states in the US, as well as in Canada, the UK, Germany, New Zealand, Austria, Hong Kong, Japan, and Italy, self-advocates have joined a grassroots movement organized and maintained entirely by individuals with disabilities, and dedicated solely to advancing the rights of citizens with disabilities across the globe. This International Movement is known as People First.
In accordance with the 1993 Family Support Act, the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities established the Regional Family Support Planning Councils (RFSPCs) to provide a way for parents and family members of people with developmental disabilities to come together to exchange knowledge and information about family support services and to advocate for families and individuals with developmental disabilities at the local and state level on issues that directly impact their lives. They also collaborate with the state Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) on how to better serve individuals and their families. Click here to find out more.
The NJCDD’s Youth Leadership Program works with local groups and community-based organizations to provide leadership training for young people with developmental disabilities. Through attendance of eight fun and informative training sessions, young people with developmental disabilities develop skills to make them leading voices for themselves and other people with developmental disabilities. Go to the Youth Leadership page to find out more.
The goal of this program is to prepare the next generation of disability advocates to work toward meaningful change in our state. The Boggs Center is committed to building a diverse group of participants that is reflective of the needs, geography, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds of New Jersey. Go to the PIP page to find out more.
Each year, the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities looks to members of the community to help us identify individuals or organizations who have shown an exceptional commitment to promoting community inclusion for individuals with developmental disabilities. Whether a devoted educator, a visionary community leader, or a diligent advocate, the Council believes such individuals or organizations should be encouraged, supported, and given recognition.
The newly formed New Jersey Legislative Disability Caucus serves as a bipartisan forum within the New Jersey Legislature for lawmakers and their staff to consider the impact on the disability community when shaping ALL public policies in the Garden State through increased awareness and a greater understanding of the complexities of the disabilities service system and issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families. People with disabilities, their families, and organizations that serve support and advocate for people with disabilities in New Jersey serve as a resource to the Caucus, providing education and programming as needed.
In a new report, Advancing New Jersey’s Employment First Practices and Policies, the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities calls for a renewed commitment to New Jersey’s Employment First policy, to improve employment outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). This report was developed by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in partnership with the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts. The report’s executive summary and action plan (available in English and Spanish) includes an examination of the current landscape with a series of recommendations. A longer, more detailed version of the report and memo in English and Spanish are also available.
Most schools have a comprehensive plan for emergency situations—fires, natural disasters, active shooters, terrorism, and even the unplanned release of chemicals, but few have effective plans in place to address the complex, individualized needs of students with disabilities.
In 2022, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) announced that it was awarded a five-year grant for a national Community of Practice (CoP) grant focused on improving aging services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD), as well as their aging families. The CoP will be made up of 15 States and/or Territories through grants made available by the Administration for Community Living at the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
New Jersey is one of seven grants to States and/or Territories that have been awarded to date. Read More
The NJCDD defines a Cultural Liaison as an individual from a diverse background within the I/DD community who utilizes their own network of community contacts and resources such as family/friends, religious institutions/ faith-based places of worship, school/college/trade school, employment/volunteer, memberships/associations, and leagues/clubs AND connects their network to the NJCDD and other resources for information related to disability services and supports. Read More