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Regional Family Support Planning Councils
*Important Update for Families*
January 27, 2017
On January 13, 2017, Regional Family Support Planning Council advocates alerted families of a number of upcoming changes that the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities has made to our state’s Self-Directed Services system. In addition, these family advocates contacted NJ Dept. of Human Services Acting Commissioner Elizabeth Connolly to convey the concerns that many New Jersey families have with these planned changes. The following two letters, both sent by Acting Commissioner Connolly, are in response to the emails and letters sent by Family Support Council advocates and family members across our state. You may view each document by clicking on the links below.
The Regional Family Support Planning Councils
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 Department of Children and Families (DCF) on how to better serve individuals and their families.
RFSPC members, through their regional councils, monitor and evaluate family support programs, inform families about current family support issues, provide information to policymakers, make recommendations to DDD and DCF, and advocate to local officials and state legislators about the needs of those who support a family member with a developmental/intellectual disability at home.
Find your Regional Family Support Planning Council’s meeting schedule and location here.
Statewide Coordinator of Regional Family Support Planning Councils
Kyoko Coco, L.S.W.
Ms. Coco has as served as the NJCDD’s Statewide Family Support Council Coordinator since May, 2013. As the Statewide Coordinator, Kyoko supports the 10 Regional Family Support Planning Councils (RFSPCs) across New Jersey. In addition to providing administrative support and technical assistance for the RFSPCs as needed, she is their direct link to statewide representatives, coalitions, and agencies, and represents these groups at statewide meetings.
Kyoko also coordinates presentations and workshops on topics and issues pertinent to family support in New Jersey.
Kyoko has an older brother who has Down’s Syndrome. As a little girl, her parents had Kyoko and her brother participate in various activities together, giving her the expectation that full integration for all people was “normal.” Because of this, she was greatly confused when she started to go to school where they did not provide special education but only general education for students. This early experience was a starting point for Kyoko to keep wondering “why is it like this?” and “how can we change that?” about various issues regarding people with developmental disabilities.
After obtaining master degree in social work, Kyoko has been working as a social worker for children, youth and families. Prior to joining NJCDD, she worked for over 6 years in a child welfare agency specifically designed for children with special needs. She has also obtained social work license in New Jersey.
As a RFSPC member, individuals have the opportunity to assist and advise DDD as to how resources can best meet the needs of families and individuals with developmental disabilities living within a given region. Family members of people with developmental disabilities living at home and people with developmental disabilities themselves are encouraged to serve on one of the RFSPCs. Councils generally meet on a monthly basis and may have up to 11 members. Members are reimbursed for reasonable transportation, child care, and other costs related to serving on the council.
For information on how to join one of the RFSPCs, contact the Statewide Coordinator, Kyoko Coco | Phone: 609-341-3112 | firstname.lastname@example.org.