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Regional Family Support Planning Councils
The Regional Family Support Planning Councils (RFSPC)
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 the (RFSPC)
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 a Masters 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 six years in a child welfare agency specifically designed for children with special needs. She has also obtained a social work license in New Jersey.
Family Support Liaison
In the summer of 2018, we welcome Rebekah Novemsky at the Statewide Family Support Liaison. In collaboration with the NJCDD’s Statewide Family Support Coordinator, Kyoko Coco, Rebekah provides technical assistance and advocacy support for each of New Jersey’s Regional Family Support Planning Councils (RFSPCs), in order that more families will find their voice as advocates in supporting their loved one with an Intellectual/Developmental Disability (I/DD). This new position to increase support for the RFSPCs comes as a direct result of strong advocacy by family advocates.
Previously serving the Regional Family Support Planning Councils since 2001 as a Region #4 member and, since 2014, as the Statewide Vice Chair, Rebekah honed an assertive and effective voice in advocacy, and her efforts while serving on the Family Support Councils have greatly contributed to their increased visibility as champions for I/DD families throughout New Jersey.
Prior to joining the staff at the NJCDD, Rebekah worked in research at the NJ Developmental Disabilities Planning Institute at NJIT (now at Rutgers University), and at Community Access Unlimited as a Family Mentor and Employment Director. Rebekah currently serves as a board member of the NJ chapter of the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) and is also a board member at the NJ Family Support Coalition.
Rebekah, the mother of two sons – 15-year-old, Milo and 19-year-old, Liam, who experiences developmental disabilities – lives with her husband and children in Maplewood, NJ.
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.