Division of Developmental Disabilities Resources

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

2022

January  5, 2022

!! REMINDER !! Walmart COVID-19 Vaccine/Booster Program for Residents with IDD, TBI, and Their Staff

As originally announced in October 2021, the Division is sending this communication to remind residents and staff in Congregate Residential Settings that they can receive COVID-19 vaccination and/or booster doses through Walmart as described in Walmart COVID-19 First, Second, Third/Booster Vaccine Program for Residents with IDD, TBI and Their Staff.

Walmart will provide COVID-19 vaccination at 34 of its New Jersey locations for this program.  Vaccination can only be scheduled by the residential service provider calling their preferred participating Walmart to schedule their residents and/or staff.  When making contact, they will need to identify themselves as an IDD or TBI Disability Service Provider, communicate the names of those to be scheduled and whether they are a resident or staff person.

Residential providers, residents and families should review the Walmart COVID-19 First, Second, Third/Booster Vaccine Program for Residents with IDD, TBI and Their Staff overview document for important details on logistics and documentation requirements.

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2021

December 31, 2021

!! Update !! Support Coordinator Field Visits

The requirement for face-to-face visits by Support Coordinators (SCs) was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In July 2021, the Division released guidance on the limited resumption of face-to-face visits through the end of calendar year 2021. This updated guidance confirms requirements for face-to-face visits effective February 1, 2022 which were previously to begin January 1, 2022.  Please see the below document for more information:

Revised CDC Guidance on COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Period for Healthcare Providers and Public

Based on new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is updating its guidance on isolation and quarantine period for both the public and healthcare providers.  The NJDOH press release for this announcement can be found at https://www.nj.gov/health/news/2021/approved/20211229a.shtml.

NJDOH is in the process of updating guidance documents for the general public to reflect CDC’s guidance, which shortens the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for individuals with COVID-19 to 5 days, if they do not have symptoms, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others.

NJDOH is also updating its guidance to reflect CDC recommendations on isolation and quarantine for healthcare workers to decrease isolation time after COVID-19 illness.  Healthcare workers with COVID-19 who are without symptoms can return to work after 7 days with a negative test, and isolation time can be reduced further if there are staffing shortages. Healthcare workers who have received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses, including a booster, do not need to quarantine at home following high-risk exposures.

The NJDOH expects to release its guidance documents in the coming days.  The Department of Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) will update its policies accordingly.  In the meantime, DDD providers should refer to CDC recommendations on isolation and quarantine for healthcare workers.

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December 28, 2021

FY2022 Wage Increase for Direct Support Professionals and Supervisors

Included in New Jersey’s FY2022 Appropriations Act, the wage increase for direct support professionals (DSPs) and supervisors will be implemented January 1st via increases to the fee-for-service reimbursement rates for the following services: Career Planning, Community Based Supports, Community Inclusion Services, Day Habilitation, Individual Supports, Prevocational Training (Individual and Group), Respite, and Supported Employment (Individual and Group). For information, please see:

REMINDER – Changes to Temporary Residential Funding Enhancement and Day Program State Supplemental Funding Effective January 1, 2022.

This communication is provided as a reminder to congregate residential providers claiming Individual Supports Daily Rate and congregate day program providers receiving State Supplemental Payments of changes that will take effect on January 1, 2022.  Please review the following documents for details:

Boggs Center COVID-19 Vaccine Resources for the Developmental Disabilities Community

The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities created a Vaccine Facts Series to address common myths and concerns about COVID-19 vaccines through funding from the federal Administration on Community Living. The series includes resources with information to support the following facts:

Please visit https://rwjms.rutgers.edu/boggscenter/links/COVID-19Resources.html#VaccineResources for additional information.

Next DDD Update Webinar Scheduled for January 27, 2022

DDD’s next Update Webinar is scheduled for Thursday, January 27th at 10:30 am. Use this link to Register for the January Webinar

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December 14, 2021

NJ Minimum Wage Law

In February 2019, Governor Murphy signed legislation increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour by January 1, 2024.  The press release announcing this can be found here.   The next incremental increase takes effect on January 1, 2022, and every January 1 after that through 2024, as follows:

EFFECTIVE DATE: NJ MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES TO:
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 must make whatever wage adjustments are needed to be in compliance with the law, if they are not already.
  • Individuals who receive DDD-funded services from a self-directed employee will need to make sure they are in compliance by ensuring the employee’s hourly wage for any service provided is at least $13 by January 1, 2022. 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 $13 per hour for services rendered on or after January 1, 2022.

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December 9, 2021

!! REMINDER !! Next DDD Update Webinar Scheduled for December 16

DDD’s next Update Webinar is scheduled for Thursday, December 16 at 10:30 am. Use this link to Register for the December Webinar

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December 1, 2021

Changes to Temporary Residential Funding Enhancement and Day Program State Supplemental Funding Effective January 1, 2022.

This communication is provided to alert congregate residential providers claiming Individual Supports Daily Rate and congregate day program providers receiving State Supplemental Payments of changes that will take effect on January 1, 2022.  Please review the following documents for details:

Next DDD Update Webinar Scheduled for December 16

DDD’s next Update Webinar is scheduled for Thursday, December 16 at 10:30 am. Use this link to Register for the December Webinar

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November 18, 2021

Changes to Temporary Residential Funding Enhancement and Day Program State Supplemental Funding Effective January 1, 2022.

This communication is provided to alert congregate residential providers claiming Individual Supports Daily Rate and congregate day program providers receiving State Supplemental Payments of changes that will take effect on January 1, 2022.  Please review the following documents for details:

Next DDD Update Webinar Scheduled for December 16

DDD’s next Update Webinar is scheduled for Thursday, December 16 at 10:30 am. Use this link to Register for the December Webinar

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November 9, 2021

Information Published on Rule Adoptions Page

The following information has been published on the NJ Department of Human Services’ Rule Adoptions page.

Readoption with Amendments

Readoption with Amendments: N.J.A.C. 10:46Determination of Eligibility, was published on the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Rule Adoptions page on November 1, 2021.

Notice of Readoption

Notice of Readoption: N.J.A.C. 10:48Appeal Procedures, was published on the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Rule Adoptions page on November 1, 2021.

Notice of Readoption

Notice of Readoption: N.J.A.C. 10:42Mechanical Restraints and Safeguarding Equipment was published on the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Rule Adoptions page on November 1, 2021.

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November 4, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions: FY2022 DSP & Supervisor Rate Increases

Effective January 1, 2022, certain fee-for-service Medicaid rates will receive an upward adjustment to increase Direct Support Professional (DSP) and Supervisor wages. At that time, all individuals enrolled in a fee-for-service program (Supports Program and Community Care Program under Fee-for-Service) will see an increase in their budget to accommodate this.

The Division is releasing Frequently Asked Questions: FY2022 DSP & Supervisor Rate Increases in advance of January 1, 2022, in order to address questions around when these rates will be increased and how these increases will be reflected in DSP and Supervisor wages.
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October 27, 2021

!! IMPORTANT UPDATE !! Walmart COVID-19 First, Second, Third/Booster Vaccine Program for Residents with IDD, TBI, and Their Staff

In early 2021, the Division partnered with Walmart for COVID-19 vaccine administration to individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI) living in congregate residential settings funded by the Department of Human Services (DHS).  The Division is pleased to announce that this program is re-activated and able to provide all approved COVID-19 vaccines (i.e. all manufacturers and for first, second, third/booster doses) to eligible residents and staff.  Please note that eligible residents and staff can receive vaccination through any program and are not limited to only using this opportunity.

Providers that arranged vaccinations through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program are directed to use this vaccination opportunity in its place if they have not already met their vaccination needs.

Starting November 1, 2021, eligible providers can begin scheduling appointments as described in the overview document Walmart COVID-19 First, Second, Third/Booster Vaccine Program for Residents with IDD, TBI and Their Staff.  Walmart will provide COVID-19 vaccination at 34 of its New Jersey locations for this program.  Vaccination can only be scheduled by the residential service provider calling their preferred participating Walmart to schedule their residents and/or staff.  When making contact, they will need to identify themselves as an IDD or TBI Disability Service Provider, communicate the names of those to be scheduled and whether they are a resident or staff person.

Residential providers, residents and families should review the Walmart COVID-19 First, Second, Third/Booster Vaccine Program for Residents with IDD, TBI and Their Staff overview document for important details on logistics and documentation requirements.

Sign up to receive DDD email updates  This E-mail, including any attachments, may be intended solely for the personal and confidential use of the sender and recipient(s) named above. This message may include advisory, consultative and/or deliberative material and, as such, would be privileged and confidential and not a public document. Any Information in this e-mail identifying a client of the Department of Human Services is confidential. If you have received this e-mail in error, you must not review, transmit, convert to hard copy, copy, use or disseminate this e-mail or any attachments to it and you must delete this message. You are requested to notify the sender by return e-mail.

October 21, 2021

CHANGE IN DATE! Next DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar has been changed to Wednesday, November 17

The next Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) COVID-19 update webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, November 17 at 10:30 am. If you have already registered for November 18th, you are all set and do not need to register again. If you are not already registered, please use the link below. REGISTER NOW for November 17 Webinar

Archived recordings and slide decks from past DDD COVID-19 webinars are available on the DHS Coronavirus Information webpage.

Sign up to receive DDD email updates  This E-mail, including any attachments, may be intended solely for the personal and confidential use of the sender and recipient(s) named above. This message may include advisory, consultative and/or deliberative material and, as such, would be privileged and confidential and not a public document. Any Information in this e-mail identifying a client of the Department of Human Services is confidential. If you have received this e-mail in error, you must not review, transmit, convert to hard copy, copy, use or disseminate this e-mail or any attachments to it and you must delete this message. You are requested to notify the sender by return e-mail.

October 8, 2021

New Guidance from the NJ Department of Health Related to Executive Order 252

On October 7, 2021, the New Jersey Department of Health released Executive Directive No. 21-011 – Protocols for COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Reporting for Covered Settings Pursuant to Executive Order Nos. 252, 253, and 264.  This provides additional guidance to Executive Order 252 that requires all workers in certain state and private health care facilities and high-risk congregate settings to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing.  Please review this important information.

September 30, 2021

Rate Increases for DDD-funded Day Services

Based on funding included in the Murphy administration’s FY2022 budget, the NJ Department of Human Services (DHS) and Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) are pleased to announce increases to provider rates for DDD-funded day services. Details are found in the updated Payments for Day Services guidance, which is posted on the DHS Coronavirus Information page.

The following notifications of the rate increases, which are effective October 1, 2021, have been posted on the DHS Public Notices webpage:

  • FY22 Regular Base Rates will be used by providers for claiming to Gainwell for services delivered on or after October 1.
  • FY22 Temporary Enhanced Rates will not be used for provider claiming to Gainwell but will be used by DDD to calculate separate enhanced rate payments for services delivered on or after October 1.

Individual budgets in iRecord will receive increases to accommodate the new regular base rates for day services. It is expected that iRecord will be unavailable beginning late afternoon on September 30 and continuing through most of the day on October 1 while we work to finalize these changes.

The rate increases will be applied to the following services:

  • Career Planning
  • Community Inclusion Services
  • Day Habilitation
  • Pre-Vocational Training Individual and Group
  • Supported Employment Individual and Group

Questions can be directed to DDD.FeeForService@dhs.nj.gov.

Register Now for the next DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar: Thursday, October 14 at 10:30 AM

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September 27, 2021

NJDOH Issues Statement on Pfizer COVID-19 Booster
Last week, a statement from New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Persichilli on CDC approval of the Pfizer booster dose was issued advising that New Jersey has directed its vaccine partners to begin distributing the Pfizer booster to eligible individuals.

DHS/DDD Announces Funding for Three New Behavioral Health Stabilization Homes for People with I/DD
In a press release last week, the New Jersey Department of Human Services announced a contract had been awarded to YAI, Inc. for the development of three new behavioral health stabilization homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). These homes, which are expected to be operational by Fall 2022, will provide short-term stabilization and assessment services for individuals with I/DD who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis that is not able to managed in their current setting. Each home will be staffed by a team or professionals, who will work to prepare individuals to safely return home or to an alternate setting.

NJCDD Announces RFPs to Increase Access and Opportunities for Individuals with I/DD
DDD is pleased to share a notice from the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD) about three new Requests for Funding Proposals (RFPs) they have issued for qualified entities:

Proposals must be received by NJCDD no later than November 3, 2021, at 2 p.m.

Next DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar Scheduled for October 14
DDD’s next COVID-19 Update Webinar is scheduled for Thursday, October 14 at 10:30 am. Use this link to Register Now for October 14 Webinar.

September 21, 2021

REMINDER! Next DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar is Thursday, September 23

The next Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) COVID-19 update webinar is scheduled for Thursday, September 23 at 10:30 am. If you are not already registered, please use the link below.

REGISTER NOW for September 23 Webinar

Archived recordings and slide decks from past DDD COVID-19 webinars are available on the DHS Coronavirus Information webpage.

September 16, 2021

Public Comment Period Open for 1115 NJ FamilyCare Demonstration Renewal

The 1115 NJ FamilyCare Comprehensive Demonstration (formerly Comprehensive Medicaid Waiver), which governs the operations of significant components of the state Medicaid program and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), is due to expire on June 30, 2022. The NJ Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) intends to submit its renewal application to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in Fall 2021.

In advance of that submission, DMAHS has published the Draft Renewal Proposal and is accepting public comment on the proposed changes. All stakeholders are encouraged to participate in this process and provide comment. The areas that specifically relate to the Division of Developmental Disabilities begin on page 18 of the Draft Renewal Proposal.

DHS/DMAHS is holding a 1115 Renewal Public Hearing via webinar on Monday, September 27, 2021 at 9:30 am. You can register here for the 9/27 Renewal Public Hearing Webinar.

Comments on or inquiries about the Draft Renewal Proposal must be submitted in writing by October 11, 2021:By Email: DMAHS.CMWcomments@dhs.nj.gov
By Fax: 609-588-7343
By Mail:
Margaret Rose, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services Office of Legal and Regulatory Affairs
P.O. Box 712, Mail Code #26
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0712

Please note that comments will continue to be accepted after October 11, 2021, but DHS may not be able to consider those comments prior to the initial submission to CMS. For more information, visit the DMAHS 1115 NJ FamilyCare Comprehensive Demonstration Renewal Request resource page.

Additionally, the Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities has developed a guide booklet, Sharing Your Vision in Advocacy: Providing Stakeholder Input, with information for individuals about providing input about how they would like supports and services to help them achieve the life they want.

August 18, 2021

REMINDER! Next, DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar is Thursday, August 19

The Division of Developmental Disabilities COVID-19 update webinars have moved to a monthly format. The next live DDD COVID-19 update webinar is scheduled for Thursday, August 19 at 10:30 am. If you are not already registered, please use the link below.

REGISTER NOW for August 19 Webinar

 Archived recordings and slide decks from past DDD COVID-19 webinars are available on the DHS Coronavirus Information webpage.

August 6, 2021

New Executive Order Requires COVID-19 Vaccination or Weekly Testing for Staff in Congregate Settings for People with I/DD and TBI

Governor Murphy announced earlier this week that all workers in certain state and private health care facilities and high-risk congregate settings will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing to help protect against the spread of COVID-19 to vulnerable populations who have been hardest hit during the pandemic.

This evening, the Governor released Executive Order 252 outlining the details of the new vaccine requirement. Licensed community residences for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injury (for example, group homes and supervised apartments), certified Day Programs for individuals with I/DD and TBI, and Intermediate Care Facilities (for example, Developmental Centers) are settings that must be in compliance with mandatory staff vaccinations and testing by Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

July 29, 2021

To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for individuals attending congregate day programs in person and those living in provider-managed residential settings (for example, group homes), the Congregate Day Program Re-Opening Requirements and Residential Visitation Guidance documents have been updated.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

Regardless of vaccination status, all provider staff working in congregate day services settings and/or provider-managed residential settings must wear a well-fitting mask indoors. Fully vaccinated staff can elect not to wear a mask when outdoors if the individuals in the group they are working with are fully vaccinated.
Regardless of vaccination status, staff providing one-to-one support services for an individual in their home or in the community should also wear a well-fitting mask when indoors with the individual.
All other guidance related to the staff and participant masking remains the same.
Thank you for your cooperation and patience as we continue to adjust to the evolving COVID-19 landscape.

July 23, 2021

NEW WEBINAR! Home and Community-Based Services and the Statewide Transition Plan

WHEN:  Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
WHAT: Home and Community Based Services, Individuals and Families/Caregivers, and the HCBS Rule
TARGET AUDIENCE: Individuals and their Families/Caregivers

This webinar will provide our individuals, and their family members/caregivers, with a general overview of the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) federal mandate. The discussion will include information on New Jersey’s Statewide Transition Plan (STP), what you can expect, next steps, and frequently asked questions.   Please use the link below to register REGISTER NOW for the August 4 HCBS and STP Webinar for Individuals and Families

We want to hear from you!
Please help us by emailing any questions you may have to DDD’s HCBS Helpdesk at DDD.HCBSHelpdesk@dhs.nj.gov. The information provided will help guide the general discussion.

Helpful Links
Prior to the webinar, it may be helpful to review the information available on these federal Medicaid websites:

For more information, including training requirements and stipend amounts, please review the Training Payments FAQ or contact the Division’s Fee-for-Service Helpdesk at DDD.FeeForService@dhs.nj.gov.
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July 19, 2021
Training Reimbursement Payments for PPL Self-Directed Employees

The Division is pleased to announce that effective July 15, 2021, PPL will begin processing one-time training stipend payments for PPL self-directed employees (SDEs) who have completed all required trainings. The PPL training stipend is paid by the state and not deducted from the individual budget.

To receive this one-time training stipend, the PPL SDE and employer (current or former) must complete and sign the new Training Certification Form and submit it to PPL any time from July 15 forward. Payments will be issued to eligible SDEs according to the PPL SDE Payment Schedule.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Current PPL SDEs or SDEs enrolled previously with PPL have until December 15, 2021 (six months from July 15) to complete all required trainings and submit the signed Training Certification Form.
  • New PPL SDEs (with a service start date on or after July 15) will have the standard six months after first date of service to complete all required trainings and submit the signed Training Certification Form.

For more information, including training requirements and stipend amounts, please review the Training Payments FAQ or contact the Division’s Fee-for-Service Helpdesk at DDD.FeeForService@dhs.nj.gov.
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July 14, 2021

REMINDER! Next DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar is Thursday, July 15
The next live DDD COVID-19 update webinar is scheduled for Thursday, July 15 at 10:30 am. If you are not already registered, use the link below.

REGISTER NOW for July 15 Webinar
Archived recordings and slide decks from past DDD COVID-19 webinars are available on the DHS Coronavirus Information webpage.

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This E-mail, including any attachments, may be intended solely for the personal and confidential use of the sender and recipient(s) named above. This message may include advisory, consultative and/or deliberative material and, as such, would be privileged and confidential and not a public document. Any Information in this e-mail identifying a client of the Department of Human Services is confidential. If you have received this e-mail in error, you must not review, transmit, convert to hard copy, copy, use or disseminate this e-mail or any attachments to it and you must delete this message. You are requested to notify the sender by return e-mail.

Access the DDD_COMMUNICATIONS Home Page and Archives

July 12, 2021

Dear Colleagues, 

I am delighted to invite you to an informational webinar to learn about the development of NJ’s Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark Program. A cost growth benchmark is a prospective targeted annual rate of growth for total health spending within the state. States have adopted benchmarking to help track overall health spending, understand the drivers of spending growth, foster accountability around spending increases and develop strategies to address those increases to make health care more affordable.

As you may know, on January 28, 2021 New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 217 which directs the  Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency, under my supervision, to lead efforts to identify opportunities across all sectors to advance the shared goals of improved health care affordability, accessibility, and transparency. “Despite the progress we’ve made, health care costs continue to be a challenge for New Jersey residents, employers, and the State. Throughout this past year, our health care workforce has come together selflessly in service to our residents. The time is now to build on this collective spirit to more fully transform our health care system to make it more equitable, accessible, and affordable,” said Governor Murphy in a press release announcing the Order. With the development and implementation of the Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark Program, under the direction of the Department of Banking and Insurance, New Jersey is taking another bold and important step to achieving these goals. Our work is supported with resources from the Peterson-Milbank Program for Sustainable Health Care Costs and technical assistance from Bailit Health and Rutgers Center for State Health Policy,

Please join us to learn more about the details of the Benchmark Program and learn about the impact, whether you’re a consumer, a health benefits purchaser or a hospital or other provider, and also learn about our progress to date convening an Advisory Group of expert advisors to advance the implementation of this program. 

While all webinars are open to everyone,  each will be targeted to a specific audience so we encourage you to join the webinar best suited for you and your organization.

7/13@1:00-2:30 – Employers and others purchasing health benefits https://go.rutgers.edu/registerjuly13

7/14@2:30-4:00 – Policy and community leaders and advocates https://go.rutgers.edu/registerjuly14

7/15@3:00-4:30 – Hospitals, providers and other health care stakeholders https://go.rutgers.edu/registerjuly15 

Please use the registration link above. Once your registration is confirmed and closer to the event date, we will send along with the meeting link.

For more information about the program, please see: http://www.cshp.rutgers.edu/content/nj-benchmark-program  
Please do not hesitate to reach out in advance of the webinar should you have any questions, and we look forward to hearing your feedback as an important stakeholder constituency in New Jersey.

Regards,
Shabnam Salih
Director, The Governor’s Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency

July 6, 2021

REMINDER! DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar Moving to Monthly Format
The next live DDD COVID-19 update webinar is scheduled for Thursday, July 15 at 10:30 am. Use the link below to register.

REGISTER NOW for July 15 Webinar
Archived recordings and slide decks from past DDD COVID-19 webinars are available on the DHS Coronavirus Information webpage.

June 21, 2021

Join us for a webinar to discuss the benefits and process of hiring individuals with disabilities and how they will help your company thrive.​
Register Here
Download the event flyer here

June 10, 2021

REMINDER! DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar TODAY, June 10
The next live DDD COVID-19 update webinar is scheduled for Thursday, June 10 at 10:30 am. If you already registered, you do not need to register again.
REGISTER NOW for June 10 Webinar

June 3, 2021

Are You a Parent, Caregiver of a Child or a Child Care Provider in New Jersey? Make Your Voice Heard

JOIN US THURSDAY, JUNE 3

The Department of Human Services’ Division of Family Development is conducting a public hearing to gather testimony on the draft Child Care Development Fund State Plan for New Jersey for Federal Fiscal Years2022-2025. The draft plan is available at https://nj.gov/humanservices/providers/grants/public.

MORNING SESSION 10 a.m. to Noon CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

AFTERNOON SESSION 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

You may register for one or both of the sessions. Sign Language interpreters and real-time captioning will be available.
If you are interested in providing verbal testimony, please e-mail DFD.ChildCare@dhs.nj.gov by June 1 with your name, organization (if applicable), telephone number and the session you are registering for (morning or afternoon). Please check the link above for more information on how to provide written testimony or comments.

May 17, 2021

WEBINAR REMINDER!

The DDD Spring Webinar Series brought to you by the Community Living Education Project (CLEP)
Tuesdays in May, from 12 Noon – 1:00 pm, presented by DDD staff. Register for the upcoming webinars below:

Tuesday, May 18: The DDD Housing Subsidy Program
REGISTER NOW for May 18 Webinar

Tuesday, May 25: Understanding Self-Directed Services in New Jersey and the Role of the Supports Broker
REGISTER NOW for May 25 Webinar

Archived CLEP webinars available on the CLEP Webinars page.

May 17, 2021

As you may know, the moratorium on utility shut-offs in New Jersey is ending June 30, 2021 and may compound the challenges that some individuals already face when paying for utilities.  In response to this, the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is highlighting a variety of energy assistance programs during their “Utility Assistance Week,” which runs from May 17-21.
Please share this BPU Energy Assistance flyer (also available in Spanish) with your networks and communities.
For additional information about New Jersey’s Utility Assistance programs, visit the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

May 12, 2021

REMINDER! DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar Tomorrow, May 13
The Division’s May COVID-19 Update Webinars are scheduled for Thursday, May 13 and Thursday, May 27, both at 10:30 am. If you haven’t already done so, you can use the links below to register.
Register for May 13 Webinar | Register for May 27 Webinar

May 12, 2021

(TRENTON) – Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced the Murphy Administration has secured another $22.6 million in federal funds to expand and support mental health services, especially in the wake of COVID-19.

“The pandemic continues to take its toll on individual’s emotional and mental health, and the services and support we provide through New Jersey Human Services are needed more than ever,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “We are grateful for this federal funding to maintain and expand the services that individuals need, and we want people to know they are not alone and that help remains available.”

“The funding helps us strengthen services to individuals diagnosed with serious mental illnesses, including the impact COVID has had on their lives,” Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke said. “Many of these programs serve people with persistent mental illnesses that were exasperated by COVID.”

The funding will be used to enhance diversionary efforts, crisis stabilization, and community integration efforts with a goal of reducing visits to emergency departments and inpatient admissions, along with enhancing outreach and treatment activities that will increase access to community services.

Among the services to be funded are:

  • Early Serious Mental Illness (ESMI) Programs:  New Jersey will add three new programs to the existing three to serve individuals with first episode psychosis: $2.67 million.
  • ESMI Community Integration Programs: DMHAS will be developing six ESMI Community Integration Programs that will provide treatment and supports to individuals after they complete the ESMI program: $2.34 million.
  • Crisis Receiving and Stabilization: DMHAS will create four Crisis Receiving and Stabilization programs in the community to provide 24/7 community access to crisis diversion, stabilization, and linkages to services and housing supports. The goal is to have at least once Crisis Receiving and Stabilization program per region: $6.1 million.
  • Emergency Room Diversion: DMHAS will create nine programs to serve individuals who frequent the emergency departments.  This program will provide care management services, providing support and connecting individuals to needed services to reduce the reliance on emergency services: $4.94 million.
  • Legal Assistance with Evictions and Housing due to COVID/Housing Stability. The DMHAS will use funds to support housing stability to avert homelessness through evictions.  The resources will be used to enter into a contract with an agency that is staffed to provide landlord/tenant legal services to individuals diagnosed with a serious mental illness facing eviction; $350,000.
  • Outreach, including crisis response to underserved populations such as LGBTQI+ individuals and faith-based communities: $1.8 million.
  • Mental Health First Aid: DMHAS will expand Mental Health Awareness Training to provide mental health first aid: $400,000.
  • Peer Wellness Program: DMHAS plans to fund a wellness program to improve consumers’ self-esteem and promote positive self-care using empirically proven interventions. The peer-run centers that provide support and recovery services to a diverse population of consumers around the state will receive training and supervision on Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy along with Peer Wellness Coaching: $400,000.
  • Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy training: Residential service providers in cognitive therapy for recovery will be trained to help to motivate and support consumers to make positive changes in their lives. This is an evidence-based approach that will allow these providers to collaborate with and support their residents’ individual recovery goals and help them engage in meaningful community activities.  It will be offered statewide to all residential providers serving individuals with serious mental illness, although group home and providers of supported housing services will be the primary participants in the training: $500,000.
  • Implementation of 9-8-8: DMHAS will roll out 9-8-8 to become the new three-digit dialing code for mental health crisis to replace the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number by July 2022: $500,000.
  • Performance improvement training for providers in the acute care system that serve the seriously mentally ill population: $400,000.

May 10, 2021

TownHall-PhilMurphy-May13.2021
Please join Governor Phil Murphy for a Zoom town hall on Thursday, May 13th at 10:15 a.m.
Closed captioning will be provided. If you would like to join please register at: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_L67GuSVPTTSTUn06KfnRJQ You will receive a confirmation email after registering that will contain the link to join the town hall.

May 6, 2021

We are pleased to announce that the New Jersey Department of Health has launched a program that can provide in-home COVID-19 vaccine appointments for homebound persons and has begun accepting requests for this important service.

If you are unable to leave home to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, or are the family member or caregiver of someone who is homebound, you may request an in-home vaccination appointment by completing this Request for In-Home Vaccination.

For assistance completing the survey by phone, please call the NJ COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center at 1-855-568-0545.

After you submit the request, the Department of Health will share information with a home health agency, local health department, or other vaccination providers and you will be contacted to schedule an in-home vaccination appointment.

You can visit the webpage, How can I get the COVID-19 vaccine I’m homebound?, to learn more about this program.

In order to receive vaccination as soon as possible, if you are able to safely attend a medical appointment outside the home, we encourage you to book an appointment at an open vaccination site if an opportunity occurs before an in-home appointment is made available to you.

April 22, 2021

As you may be aware, the Department of Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities released day program re-opening requirements on March 15, 2021.

The Division understands that some participants and families are eager for more programs to re-open as soon as possible. In response to such feedback from individuals, families and guardians, and in continuous consultation with the New Jersey Department of Health, today the Division is releasing updated Congregate Day Program Re-Opening Requirements. The newly updated requirements allow providers to elect to open and operate congregate day programs at limited capacity, regardless of the current CALI designation.

Please note:

  • Day programs are congregate facilities serving individuals with varying levels of risk for developing complications following the contraction of COVID-19. An individual’s risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 is higher if they have not been vaccinated, if the individual is not able to adhere to distancing and masking guidelines, and when COVID-19 activity is higher in their region.
  • While all day programs may re-open, capacity is tied to the COVID-19 Activity Level Index (CALI) for the region in which the program is located.
  • Operating capacity based on CALI designation is as follows:  25% in Very High (Red); 50% in High (Orange); 50% in Moderate (Yellow); and full capacity in Low (Green).
  • Day programs will generally need two weeks to coordinate re-opening but may re-open earlier if they are able to come into compliance with the Congregate Day Program Re-Opening Requirements.
  • While vaccination continues not to be required for attendance, all eligible individuals are encouraged to be vaccinated.
  • State supplemental payments for congregate day providers are continuing.

The Division’s next COVID-19 update webinar is scheduled for Thursday, April 29 at 10:30 a.m., where this and other information will be shared. If you have not already done so, you may use the link below to register.

Register Now for April 29 COVID-19 Update Webinar

April 14, 2021

Recognizing the need for more options for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis, the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Division of Developmental Disabilities is pleased to announce the availability of funding through a new Request for Proposals, RFP: Behavioral Health Stabilization Homes for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The funding will be awarded to a single entity for the development of three, four-bedroom behavioral health stabilization homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). (Smaller variations may be proposed so long as the total number of beds provided is twelve.) Please see additional details below and in the RFP itself, which is posted on the DHS Requests for Proposals/Information and Notices of Funds Available webpages.

We are also pleased to share an exciting new resource developed by The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, in collaboration with the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities, the NJ Collaborative for Citizen Directed Supports, and people with disabilities and families: Understanding Self-Directed Services in New Jersey and the Role of the Supports Broker.

Finally, the Division’s next COVID-19 update webinar is scheduled for Thursday, April 29 at 10:30 a.m. If you have not already done so, you may use the link below to register.

Register Now for April 29 COVID-19 Update Webinar

RFP for Behavioral Health Stabilization Homes

The Division is pleased to announce funding availability through a new Request for Proposals, RFP: Behavioral Health Stabilization Homes for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Funding will be awarded to a single entity to develop three, four-bedroom behavioral health stabilization homes for individuals with IDD. Smaller variations may be proposed so long as the total number of beds provided is twelve. Goals of this RFP include the following:

  • To provide out-of-home stabilization and assessment services on a statewide basis to individuals with IDD under DDD services who present with intense behavioral and/or emotional challenges that cannot be effectively managed in their current living arrangement (e.g. aggression toward others, self-injurious behavior, property destruction, elopement).
  • Create a short-term, highly structured, and nurturing environment with professional competencies to stabilize individuals and work to transition them back to their previous living arrangement, or to an alternate setting, as appropriate.

Providers interested in bidding can propose to locate the homes in the same area of the state, but additional points will be awarded to locate one home in the Northern, one in the Central, and one in the Southern region of the State. Homes will serve men, women, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. Staff employed by the program will be trained, at a minimum, in Crisis Intervention, Positive Behavioral Supports, Trauma Informed Care, and in the Development and Implementation of a Behavioral Support Plan.

RFP Timeline

Posting of RFP and NOFA April 13, 2021
Close of Question and Answer Period April 27, 2021
RFP Submission Deadline July 2, 2021
Preliminary Award Notification August 6, 2021
Appeal Deadline August 27, 2021
Final Award Notification September 10, 2021
Deadline for Program Opening September 16, 2022

To subscribe to Division Update, send your name and email address to DDD.Communications@dhs.nj.gov with Division Update Subscribe in the subject line.

Access the DDD_COMMUNICATIONS Home Page and Archives

April 1, 2021

Per OPIA’s April 5 Updated Employee Onboarding Requirements

  • Effective May 3, the Department of Human Services (DHS) is returning to the normal (pre-pandemic) onboarding requirement that all prospective agency staff and self-directed employees complete mandatory pre-employment screenings prior to being hired.
  • Effective May 3, the DHS Employee Controls and Compliance Unit (ECCU) will no longer process emergency requests for temporary clearance to hire.
  • Effective immediately, all provider agency staff and self-directed employees who began their employment based on temporary clearance from DHS ECCU are required to complete all pending onboarding requirements by June 4, 2021 (60 days from the date of the OPIA bulletin). This includes fingerprinting, drug testing, and Child Abuse Record Information (CARI) check applications.
  • Important Information to Self-Directed Services Participants: Individuals/families participating in either the Vendor Employer/Fiscal Agent model with PPL or Agency with Choice model with Easterseals NJ must ensure that all onboarding requirements are completed by their self-directed employees by June 4, including fingerprinting, drug testing and submission of CARI check application. Payments will be suspended for services delivered on or after June 5 by a self-directed employee who was hired through temporary clearance and who has not completed all onboarding requirements.

Self-directed employees (SDE), including family members, who received temporary emergency clearance from DHS ECCU to be hired and who still need to complete onboarding requirements should  contact their Fiscal Intermediary (PPL or Easterseals) as soon as possible. The FI will be able to advise SDEs which of the onboarding requirements they are missing and provide instructions and email links for completing:

PPL Customer Service: 844-842-5891  |  Easterseals Customer Service: 800-471-3086

Per OPIA’s April 5 Guidance on Marijuana

  • DHS will not take negative action against a provider/employer that does not take adverse employment action against an applicant, employee, or volunteer who tests positive for marijuana.
  • DHS may take negative action against a provider/employer that permits an employee or volunteer to use or be under the influence of marijuana (i.e., be impaired) while on duty.

This information will be discussed on the next COVID-19 update webinar, scheduled for Thursday, April 15 at 10:30 a.m. If you have not already done so, please use the link below to register:

Register Now for April 15 Webinar

March 31, 2021

Continuing New Jersey’s efforts to ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly in underserved communities and those at higher risk of exposure or infection, Governor Murphy announced the opening of a mass vaccination site in Newark. The Newark Community Vaccination Center, established in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is located at the Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and can accommodate up to 6,000 individuals per day, seven days per week. Eligible individuals can call 855-568-0545 or visit NJ COVID-19 Vaccine for information or to schedule an appointment.

Please distribute these NJ Department of Health Newark Community Vaccination Center fliers to your networks: [English] [Haitian Creole] [Portuguese] [Spanish]

Also, a reminder that the Division’s next COVID-19 update webinar is tomorrow, April 1 at 10:30 a.m. If not already registered, you can use the link below to register. Register Now for April 1 Webinar

March 26, 2021

!! IMPORTANT UPDATE !!

Hello Division Constituents and Community Partners,

We are pleased to share good news with you! Governor Murphy announced today that eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine in New Jersey will expand on April 5 to include more frontline essential workers and high-risk groups, including people age 55 and above and all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities over age 16. Please see the statement below from Department of Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman:

“The strength and resilience of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout this public health emergency has been amazing. We’re very pleased to be able to make vaccination more accessible so individuals can return to their normal lives in the community,” Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “In partnership with the Department of Health, we have been working since January to help vaccinate individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in congregate settings, and have been encouraging individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who met other criteria to sign up for vaccination. We’re now thrilled to be able to include all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities over the age of 16, who, along with their families and caregivers, have persevered through so much in the past year. I encourage all eligible individuals to register to get vaccinated and help bring this pandemic closer to an end.”

The Division is grateful to Acting Commissioner Adelman, as well as individual, family, and community advocates, for their committed and persistent efforts in getting us to this point. DDD also encourages all eligible individuals register to get vaccinated.

March 19, 2021

WEBINAR REMINDER! Transition into Adulthood: Information about DDD Services for the 2021 Graduates

When: Thursday, March 25, 1:00 – 2:30 PM
What: This webinar, presented by the Director of the Employment & Transition to 21 Unit, will provide information about accessing 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. Use the link below to register.

Register Now for Transition into Adulthood Webinar

NEW WEBINAR SERIES! PPL Talks to Vendors

PPL launched a new monthly webinar series for vendors who bill self-directed services through PPL (e.g., Goods and Services), but anyone with an interest may attend any or all of the webinars in the series, including Support Coordinators, individuals and families.

Pre-registration is not required. To join the PPL Talks to Vendors webinar, simply click on the Join Webinar Now link below at 12:00 NOON on the date of the event.

Tuesday, March 23 at 12:00 Noon: Join PPL 3/23/21 Vendor Webinar Now
Tuesday, April 27 at 12:00 Noon: Join PPL 4/27/21 Vendor Webinar Now
Tuesday, May 25 at 12:00 Noon: Join PPL 5/25/21 Vendor Webinar Now
Tuesday, June 22 at 12:00 Noon: Join PPL 6/22/21 Vendor Webinar Now

March 19, 2021

NJ Human Services In the Community

Acting Commissioner Adelman Lauds Biden-Harris Administration Move to Repeal 2019 Public Charge Rule

Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman released the following statement on the Biden-Harris Administration taking steps to repeal the Trump Administration’s 2019 Public Charge Rule:

“I applaud President Biden’s Administration for righting the wrong and taking steps to repeal the unfair and damaging 2019 Trump Public Charge Rule.

“For years our immigrant communities have been fearful and concerned about accessing critical services such as health care and food and housing assistance, worried it would impact their ability adjust their immigration status. This rule heightened that fear and had a chilling effect on efforts to provide New Jersey residents with the assistance they need. This was especially worrisome during the COVID-19 public health emergency that has significantly impacted people’s livelihoods and economic security, and it’s notable that many of our frontline essential workers are immigrants.

“We commend the efforts led by advocates, local and state governments and communities that have fought to protect the health and well-being of our immigrant neighbors. No one should be fearful to access food, health care and housing assistance.

“Human Services’ Office of New Americans will closely monitor developments related to this announcement and will provide more information to advocates and residents as it becomes available. We are a big step closer to a stronger and fairer New Jersey for all.”

En español:

“Aplaudo a la administración del presidente Biden por corregir el mal y tomar los pasos para revocar la regla de carga pública injusta y dañina de Trump del 2019

“Por años, nuestras comunidades inmigrantes han tenido miedo y han estado preocupados sobre cómo acceder a servicios críticos como lo son el cuidado de la salud, asistencia de alimentos y de vivienda, preocupados de que podría impactar la capacidad de ajustar su estatus migratorio. Esta regla intensificó el miedo y tuvo un efecto negativo en los esfuerzos para proveer asistencia a los residentes de New Jersey que la necesiten. Esto fue especialmente preocupante durante la emergencia de salud pública de COVID-19, que ha afectado significativamente al sustento y la seguridad económica de las personas, y es notable que muchos de los trabajadores esenciales de primera línea sean inmigrantes. 

“Elogiamos a los esfuerzos de los activistas, gobiernos locales, estatales y comunidades que lucharon para proteger la salud y el bienestar de nuestros vecinos inmigrantes. Nadie debería tener miedo de acceder a la asistencia de alimentos, de vivienda y al cuidado de la salud. 

“La oficina de nuevos americanos del Departamento de servicios humanos, monitoreará de cerca los desarrollos relacionados con este anuncio, y proveerá más información cuando esté disponible a los activistas y residentes. Estamos a un paso más cerca de un New Jersey más fuerte y justo para todos.”

Division of Developmental Disabilities Updates

The Division of Developmental Disabilities on Monday released updated group home and supervised apartment visitation guidance effective March 19.

It also released new day program reopening guidance that states eligible providers may reopen beginning March 29 up to 50 percent of capacity, tied to their region’s COVID-19 Activity Level Index score.

During the past year, New Jersey has seen the resiliency of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and friends, direct support professionals, providers, support coordinators, and so many others. The Department and Division are grateful for their dedication and support, and are pleased to release these updates

Governor Declares March Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Governor Murphy officially declared March to be Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in New Jersey. The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all areas of community life. Acting Commissioner Adelman joined The Arc of New Jersey for a virtual ceremony marking the recognition of the month.

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Governor Murphy declared March to be Brain Injury Awareness Month in New Jersey. As part of the recognition, Human Services raised awareness of the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Fund by introducing Jason, who received TBI support for his recovery from a major brain injury 2 ½ years ago. Watch the video below, and for more information on the TBI fund please visit here.

Division of Disability Services Executive Director Peri L. Nearon also promoted the Traumatic Brain Injury Fund in a letter-to-the-editor posted here.

It’s Social Work Month

We celebrate social workers and thank them for their dedication to enhancing the well-being of others, and their commitment throughout the past year’s public health emergency has been amazing” to ” We celebrate social workers and thank them for their dedication to enhancing the well-being of others. Their commitment throughout the past year’s public health emergency has been amazing. See more.

Governor Murphy Highlights Key Investments for Older Adults in State Budget Proposal

Governor Phil Murphy and Acting Commissioner Adelman joined New Jersey’s Age-Friendly Statewide Leadership Summit on March 2 to highlight key investments benefitting older adults in the Governor’s budget proposal.

The budget reaffirms Governor Murphy’s commitment to New Jersey’s older adults and ensuring access to health care by expanding the Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) program to make prescription drugs more affordable. Additionally, after expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 35 to 40 percent of the federal credit, the Governor’s FY2022 budget proposes making senior citizens without dependents eligible for the EITC this year, effectively cutting taxes for seniors.

Governor Murphy also signed Executive Order No. 227 creating the Age-Friendly State Advisory Council, which will work to identify opportunities for creating livable communities for people of all ages in New Jersey, recommend best practices for age-friendly work, and promote community inclusion across the state.

“Governor Murphy’s budget plan highlights his commitment to New Jerseyans at every stage of life, including several key investments in programs that help older adults confront some of the most pressing challenges they face,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “From allowing more seniors to save money on prescriptions and premiums to allowing older adults who are working to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit to making our communities more aging-friendly, accessible and inclusive, the Department of Human Services is committed to advancing the Governor’s exciting budget plans to improve the quality of life for older New Jerseyans.” Read more.

Human Services Distributes Naloxone to County Mobile Outreach Units

Human Services on Thursday distributed 6,384 two-dose naloxone kits for free to counties that operate Hope One mobile access units or similar services.

The distribution builds on Human Services’ effort during the Murphy Administration to make naloxone accessible, including giving 64,000 free doses to residents at pharmacies and delivering 70,000 free doses to police, EMS, homeless shelters, libraries and reentry organizations.

“Naloxone saves lives,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “With this distribution, we’re continuing our effort to get this life-saving antidote into as many hands as possible and to connect individuals to treatment.”

“Among our many strategies as we combat the opioid overdose epidemic is to ensure that the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone is readily available to as many people as possible,” said Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke, who directs Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “The mobile access units will have trained staffers giving out the naloxone and are required to provide materials about addiction treatment and recovery support services.This will be another tool in our work to save lives.” Read more

GOVERNOR’S BUDGET BOOSTS HEARING AID REIMBURSEMENT FOR OLDER ADULTS & DISABLED INDIVIDUALS

Governor Phil Murphy’s budget plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 would significantly increase hearing aid purchase reimbursement available under the state’s Hearing Aid Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (HAAAD) program. The HAAAD program provides a $100 reimbursement to offset the cost of purchasing a hearing aid per calendar year. Beneficiaries must be enrolled in the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) program or the Lifeline Utility Assistance program – or meet the eligibility criteria for those programs – to participate.

Governor’s Murphy’s budget plan for next fiscal year would increase the reimbursement to $500 per hearing aid per calendar year.

“This would be significant savings for those eligible for this valuable program,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “The Governor’s budget proposal is all about continuing to make New Jersey a stronger and fairer state that works for everybody, and that includes older adults and individuals with disabilities who need hearing assistance. This increase would be big help for some of our most vulnerable residents.”

Immigrants and Advocates Hail Governor’s Budget Plan

Johanna Calle, senior policy advisor for the Office of New Americans, joined a virtual forum on March 9 to highlight New Jersey’s publicly-funded detention and deportation legal defense program and Governor Murphy’s budget proposal to increase funding for such individuals to $8.2 million.

Participants shared stories of family reunification and praised the Governor’s commitment to a New Jersey for all.

Among those participating were the New Jersey Coalition for Immigrant Representation, American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, Seton Hall Law School Immigrants’ Rights/International Human Rights Clinic, Rutgers Law School Immigrant Rights Clinic, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, Make the Road New Jersey, New Jersey Policy Perspective and Church World Service’ Jersey City Immigration and Refugee Office.

NJ SNAP Recipients Continued to Receive Enhanced Food Assistance Benefits in March

New Jerseyans who receive food assistance through the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (NJ SNAP) continued to receive enhanced food assistance benefits in March to help address needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits that began in January remains in effect through June. Human Services has also been providing SNAP households with the maximum benefits since March 2020, and those supplements were provided this March to about 278,000 households. Human Services has now distributed $547.4 million in total supplemental monthly SNAP payments since March 2020 to New Jersey residents.

“We’re steadfast in our commitment to provide as much additional food security as possible to New Jersey families,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said.

“Increased food assistance remains crucial,” Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said. “We are dedicated to helping as many families as we can during this challenging period, and are pleased to continue this assistance.” Read more

Governor Murphy Announces Expansion of Eligibility for New Jersey’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program

Governor Murphy announced the expansion of eligibility for more frontline essential workers and high-risk groups in New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Eligible groups include educators and staff in pre-K through 12th-grade settings, childcare workers, and transportation workers, among others. As of last Monday, the following categories are now eligible for vaccination:

  • Educators, including support staff, in pre-K through 12th-grade settings;
  • Childcare workers in licensed and registered settings;
  • Public and local transportation workers, including bus, taxi, rideshare, and airport employees; NJ TRANSIT workers; and Motor Vehicle Commission staff;
  • Public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals, including probation officers and fire safety inspectors;
  • Migrant farm workers;
  • Members of tribal communities; and,
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters, including domestic violence shelters.

Additionally, beginning on Monday, March 29, frontline essential workers in the following categories are also eligible for vaccination:

  • Food production, agriculture, and food distribution;
  • Eldercare and support;
  • Warehousing and logistics;
  • Social services support staff;
  • Elections personnel;
  • Hospitality;
  • Medical supply chain;
  • Postal and shipping services;
  • Clergy; and,
  • Judicial system.

Additionally, the eligibility list will indicate that all individuals ages 16-64 with certain medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that increase the risk or might increase the risk of severe illness from the virus, are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.

For more information about eligibility, statewide vaccination site locations, and to preregister for a vaccination, visit https://covid19.nj.gov/vaccine

“New Jersey has made great strides in opening vaccination to more and more residents, and we are very pleased to be able to expand availability to vulnerable communities such as individuals experiencing homelessness and critical workers such as those caring for older residents, children and providing social services supports,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “We cannot express enough thanks to frontline essential workers for their commitment throughout this entire public health crisis and look forward to more and more of them getting protection against this virus and to further protecting our most vulnerable residents.” Read more

Governor Murphy Signs LGBTQI+ Senior Bill of Rights Legislation

Governor Murphy on March 3 signed legislation (S2545) to establish rights and protections for LGBTQI+ older adults and HIV-positive residents of long-term care facilities. The LGBTQI+ Senior Bill of Rights prohibits long-term care facilities from taking any of the following actions based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, intersex status, or HIV status:

1. Denying admission to, transferring, discharging, or evicting a resident;

2. Opposing a request by residents to share a room;

3.  Assigning or reassigning a room based on gender;

4.  Forbidding a resident from using a restroom based on gender;

5.  Repeatedly failing to use a resident’s chosen name or pronouns despite being informed;

6. Denying a resident from wearing clothing, accessories, or cosmetics of their choice;

7. Restricting a resident’s right to engage with other residents or with visitors;

8. Denying, restricting, or providing unequal medical or non-medical care; and

9. Declining to provide any service, care, or reasonable accommodation.

“A long-term care facility is a health care setting, but it’s also someone’s home,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “Every person deserves to feel safe, respected, and comfortable where they receive their medical care, and especially in the place they call home. This law is an important step in New Jersey’s continued protection and support of LGBTQI+ individuals throughout their lifespans, including persons with medical conditions and disabilities.”  Read more.

SPOTLIGHTS ON NJ HUMAN SERVICES PROGRAMS

Help with Emotional support

NJMentalHealthCares offers New Jerseyans a safe place to call to discuss our anxiety, worry and concerns as we experience this unprecedented pandemic. The call line is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit HERE to learn more about NJMentalHealthCares, call 1-866-202-HELP (4357) or text NJHOPE to 51684.

ACCESS at St. Joseph’s Health provides mental health support via videophone in American Sign Language. It is available at 973-870-0677 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visit HERE to learn about ASL mental health care support.

The HEAL NJ Healthcare Workers COVID Hope & Healing Helpline offers health care workers a safe place to call for crisis counseling support. The call line is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with emergency support available 24/7. Visit HERE to learn more about the HEAL help line or call 1-833-416-8773.

The RISE NJ First Responders Covid Hope & Healing Helpline offers police, firefighters, EMS, National Guard, military and veterans, their families and caregivers a safe place to call for crisis counseling support. The call line is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with emergency support available 24/7. Visit HERE to learn more about the RISE help line of call 1-833-237-4325.

The NJ Hopeline provides support, assessment and, if needed, intervention in the most cooperative and least restrictive manner to New Jersey residents in emotional distress and suicidal crisis. The help line is open 24/7 at 1-855-654-6735. Visit HERE for more information.

NJ SNAP – ENGLISH / SPANISH

NJ FAMILYCARE – ENGLISH / SPANISH

NJHELPS –   ENGLISH / SPANISH

March 17, 2021

NEW WEBINAR! Transition into Adulthood: Information about DDD Services for the 2021 Graduates

When: Thursday, March 25, 1:00 – 2:30 PM

What: This webinar, presented by the Director of the Employment & Transition to 21 Unit, will provide information about accessing 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. Use the link below to register.

Register Now for Transition into Adulthood Webinar

March 15, 2021

March marks one year since the Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities announced the closure of congregate day service facilities and restrictions on visitation in group homes and supervised apartments. During these months we have seen heartbreak and loss. But we have also seen the resiliency of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and friends, direct support professionals, providers, support coordinators, Division staff, and so many others. The Department and Division are grateful for your dedication and support and are pleased to release the eagerly awaited updates below. Please note that providers are expected to comply with all updates.

Day Program Re-Opening

Residential Visitation Update

  • Effective as early as March 19, 2021 so long as all required documents are signed by the resident’s legal guardian.
  • Indoor visitation within a group home can now occur if the residence has not experienced any new COVID-19 positivity in staff and residents in the last 14 days.  This was previously 28 days.
  • Outdoor visits can now take place whenever indoor visits cannot.  This was previously only available if the residence had not experienced any new COVID-19 positivity in staff and residents in the last 14 days.
  • Residents can participate in either visit type, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Physical touch is permitted while wearing PPE if the resident so chooses.
  • Off-site visits with family and friends are now permitted for any duration – regardless of the vaccination status of resident.  Isolation upon return to the residence, regardless of vaccination status, is only required if the resident or the person returning them relay that the person has experienced an exposure (15 minutes or more within 24-hours of someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19) while on the visit.  Exposure is no longer assumed by simply engaging in an off-site visit.
  • Please see Guidance for Residential Providers on Visits with Family and Friends for more information.

Other important updates

  • Fully vaccinated staff (day and residential) who may have a recent exposure (15 minutes or more within 24-hours of someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19) and who are asymptomatic do not need to be restricted from work for 14 days following their exposure. Additionally, those asymptomatic staff who have recovered from COVID-19 infection in the prior 3 months should follow the same guidance
  • However, work restrictions for fully vaccinated staff with exposure (15 minutes or more within 24-hours of someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19) who have underlying immunocompromising conditions, or those who have not been vaccinated, must isolate for 14 days following an exposure.
  • Regardless of vaccination status or living arrangement, if an individual has been exposed (15 minutes or more within 24-hours of someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19) they cannot return to day program for 14 days following the last day of that exposure.  For those in a Division funded congregate residential setting, they must continue to isolate for 14 days following the last day of that exposure.
  • Please see Screening in Residential and Congregate Day Program Settings for more information.

We want to ensure everyone has an opportunity to attend a live webinar overview of this updated day program re-opening and residential visitation guidance. Therefore, because our attendance capacity for the Division’s COVID-19 Update Webinar is 1,000, we will hold two webinars this week, each covering the same information. Use the links below to register:

Tuesday, March 16 at 11:00 am: Register Now for March 16 Webinar

Thursday, March 18 at 10:30 amRegister Now for March 18 Webinar

March 3, 2021

REMINDER! DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar Tomorrow, March 4

The Division’s March COVID-19 Update Webinars are scheduled for Thursday, March 4 and Thursday, March 18, both at 10:30 am. Use the links below to register.

Register Now for March 4 Webinar

Register Now for March 18 Webinar

February 24, 2021

NJ Human Services Extends COVID-19 Child Care Assistance Programs Through End of School Year

New Jersey Human Services is extending several COVID-19-related child care assistance programs through the end of June as part of the Murphy Administration’s continued effort to support families and child care providers impacted by the pandemic.

The extensions include programs that have helped families pay for child care during remote schooling and support the sustainability of child care providers.

“This has been a difficult time for everyone, but parents can now know that these critical child care programs will continue helping through the remainder of the school year,” Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “We have worked hard to use all resources and means to help working families and the child care sector, and remain very concerned about the data that shows women have faced difficult choices to leave their jobs during this pandemic. With these extensions, we hope to provide families and the child care industry some peace of mind for the rest of the school year.”

“We are very pleased to be able to extend these programs through the end of the school year,” Human Services Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said. “We know that child care is crucial to a strong economy, and we know that quality child care is crucial to strong childhood development. With these extensions, we are giving families and child care providers vital support during the ongoing pandemic.”

Read more here.

First Lady Tammy Murphy and Human Services Announce New Medicaid Initiatives to Help Improve Maternal & Infant Health

As part of the Murphy Administration’s continued effort to improve maternal and infant health, First Lady Tammy Murphy and Human Services Acting Commissioner Adelman announced the state Medicaid program now covers doula care, while also no longer paying for non-medical early elective deliveries. Also, the Medicaid program will require obstetrical providers, nurse midwives, or other licensed health care professionals to complete a perinatal risk assessment form during a beneficiary’s first prenatal visit to help identify trends in risk factors. These initiatives are outlined in the First Lady’s Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Strategic Plan, which aims to the combat New Jersey’s maternal and infant health mortality crisis by eliminating racial disparities in maternal and infant care.

“With these critical steps forward, we continue making strides toward improving maternal and infant health in New Jersey,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “This is about positive outcomes for mothers and babies – and a healthier New Jersey for everyone. Doulas support healthy pregnancies, and by not paying for non-medical early elective deliveries, Medicaid is promoting healthier deliveries. This is more progress in our fight to improve care for women and children throughout our state.”

Read more here

Human Services to Expand Availability of Medication that Supports Recovery from Addiction

Medicines proven to help people recover from opioid dependency will soon be available during longer, non-traditional hours under a $4 million grant program announced by Acting Commissioner Adelman.

As part of the Murphy Administration’s continued commitment to increasing access to medication-assisted treatment in the state’s efforts to reduce overdoses and fight the opioid epidemic, Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) has notified treatment providers that it will award five-regional contracts not to exceed $800,000 each to expand availability of the life-saving medicines throughout the state.

“Addiction isn’t 9-to-5,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “Cravings don’t limit their grip to the work day, and many people work varying hours and rely on Medication Assisted Treatment to keep them on the path of recovery. We need to do everything we can to make sure the medication is available where and when it is needed.”

“For many people, the availability of medications at earlier and later-than normal program hours and a dedicated program offering medications and case management will improve access to care,” said Human Services Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke, who oversees DMHAS. “Data from pilot programs in other states indicates that people seek treatment more readily when services are available at times that accommodate their work, school and family obligations.”

Read more here.

NJ Human Services to Help Advance Health Care Affordability Efforts

NJ Human Services will be part of an Interagency Health Care Affordability Workgroup created by Governor Murphy to identify opportunities administration wide and across the public and private sectors to advance shared goals of improved health care affordability, accessibility, and transparency.

“Medicaid is New Jersey’s largest health insurance program, providing affordable health care coverage to one in five New Jerseyans. Our goal is to ensure that Medicaid members have accessible, equitable, high-value, and high-quality care as we also work to balance the rising health care and prescription drug costs that put pressure on our state budget,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “DHS looks forward to working with our partners across state government to continue our Administration’s commitment to smart policy solutions that promote affordable health care access.”

Read more here.
Vaccine information Available for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Visit here to download copies of communication cards presented by the Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing to assist with vaccine prescreening for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Also, Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Executive Director Elizabeth Hill explained the vaccine process in American Sign Language.

Elizabeth Hill explains the vaccine process in ASL. 

NJ Human Services Celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

This past year, NJ Human Services and its Division of Disability Services celebrated an important milestone – the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This monumental law ensured that individuals with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

A video looking back at ADA’s 30th anniversary.

NJ Human Services Partners with Area Agencies on Aging During COVID-19

Human Services has partnered with Area Agencies on Aging to help older adults during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. All 21 New Jersey counties have an Area Agency on Aging that serves as the primary entity responsible for developing comprehensive, coordinated systems of community-based services for older adults.

A Call for Entries: 2021 New Jersey Teen Media Contest Celebrates Family & Loved Ones During Challenging Times

New Jersey Human Services announced teens across the state can begin submitting entries for the 26th Annual New Jersey Teen Media Contest, which highlights Human Services’ mission to support families, especially during these challenging times.

The contest, run by Human Services’ Division of Family Development, is open to all New Jersey middle- and high school-age children. This year, the contest will once again accept entries in the hand-painted/hand-drawn and written-word categories.

The 2021 contest challenges teens to illustrate – through art or the written word – how they and their loved ones have supported each other through all of the changes that have happened this year, from remote schooling to finding new ways to stay connected to friends and family.

“These have been challenging times and so much has changed in the world around us,” Deputy Commissioner Neira said. “From spending time with our families and loved ones while socially distanced to doing activities on a computer we usually do in-person, this year affected us all in many ways. With that in mind, we again look forward to the creativity of New Jersey teens and to celebrating their talents.”

Read more here.

Murphy Administration Reminds New Jerseyans of Coverage Benefits for COVID-19 Vaccine

As New Jersey continues to scale up its statewide vaccination program, the Murphy Administration is reminding New Jerseyans that the COVID-19 vaccine will be available without cost-sharing barriers.

Pursuant to the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement, all providers must vaccinate individuals regardless of whether they have health insurance coverage or what type of coverage they have, and are prohibited from balance billing or otherwise charging vaccine recipients.

“NJ FamilyCare recipients can get the COVID vaccine at no cost and at any vaccination site,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “That means zero co-pays for the vaccine and its administration, no matter the provider, so we urge everyone to sign up and get the vaccine when they are eligible.  We are all eager to end this pandemic and save lives. For NJ FamilyCare recipients, you can protect yourself at no cost.”

Read more here.

NJ Human Services Awards $1.3M in Grants to Create Inclusive Healthy Communities for Individuals with Disabilities

Human Services recently announced it has awarded 18 grants to help communities across the state develop and/or implement inclusive initiatives that support the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities where they live, work, learn and play.

“We are excited by the creative and innovative solutions proposed by the applicants,” Deputy Commissioner Neira said. “From taking steps to create fully accessible community spaces to developing plans to assess and evaluate current community practices, to expanding critical health services such as oral health, to creating new, inclusive coalitions and cross-sector partnerships, it is important for communities across the U.S. to adopt the inclusive and healthy communities model to improve access for individuals with disabilities.”

“People with disabilities are disproportionately affected with chronic diseases and conditions such as obesity and high blood pressure,” Division of Disability Services Executive Director Peri L. Nearon said. “This program will help these communities improve the local environments and systems that can support individuals with disabilities stay active and access community resources so they can have better health outcomes.”

Read more here.

SPOTLIGHTS ON NJ HUMAN SERVICES PROGRAMS
Need help affording groceries? 

Go to www.njhelps.org to apply for NJ SNAP.

NJ SNAP – New Jersey’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program –  provides New Jerseyans with lower incomes help buying groceries. NJ SNAP recipients get money on a benefits card each month that is accepted in most grocery stores, many bodegas, and through online shopping at Aldi, Amazon, Walmart, ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer.

Eligibility is determined by income and households size.

Visit njsnap.gov to learn more about NJ SNAP.

Affordable health insurance 

Go to www.njhelps.org to apply for NJ FamilyCare.

NJ FamilyCare is free or low-cost health insurance for individuals and families who need help affording coverage. NJ FamilyCare covers doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions, mental health services, vaccines and more.

Visit njfamilycare.org to learn more.

NJ SNAP – ENGLISH / SPANISH
NJ FAMILYCARE – ENGLISH / SPANISH
NJHELPS –   ENGLISH / SPANISH

February 22, 2021

Caregivers are invaluable to the people they support, which can include older adults and individuals with disabilities, chronic health conditions or mental health issues. Governor Murphy and the New Jersey State Legislature created the New Jersey Caregiver Task Force to determine the current availability of caregiver support services and provide recommendations for improving and expanding caregiver support services in New Jersey.

The Task Force has announced that it will be conducting virtual Caregiver Listening Sessions on March 6, March 10, and March 18, for which caregivers may register to speak, listen or share written testimony. Caregivers may register here to attend or speak at one of these listening sessions.

Please share this important information with your networks.

Please also see the dates and registration links below for the Division’s March COVID-19 update webinars.

February 18, 2021

REMINDER! DDD COVID-19 Update Webinar TODAYFebruary 18
The next live DDD COVID-19 update webinar is scheduled for Thursday, February 18 at 10:30 am. If you already registered, you do not need to register again.
REGISTER NOW for February 18 Webinar

February 3, 2021

January 22, 2021

!! IMPORTANT UPDATE !!

January 15, 2021

NJ Human Services Celebrates the ADA
This past year, NJ Human Services and its Division of Disability Services celebrated an important milestone – the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. This monumental law ensured that individuals with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

Please watch this video as we take a look at the significance and impact of the ADA.

And we will continue the important work to advance the ideals of the ADA in building a more equitable and accessible New Jersey.

January 6, 2021

DDD January Webinars

The Division’s bi-weekly COVID-19 Update Webinars for January 2021 are scheduled for Thursday, January 7 and Thursday, January 21, both at 10:30 am. There is a separate registration link for each webinar:

Webinar on COVID-19 Vaccine for People with IDD

We are also pleased to let you know about a free webinar, COVID-19 Vaccinations for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) in New Jersey with speaker Dr. David Adinaro, NJ Department of Health Deputy Commissioner for Public Health Services, that will be presented by The Arc of New Jersey on Monday, January 11, 20201 at 11 AM. Attendance is open to everyone and you can register here for The Arc of New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccine webinar.

DDD to Conduct NCI Surveys in 2021

We are pleased to share that in 2021 the Division will again administer National Core Indicators (NCI) surveys for individuals and their families and guardians. Beginning in January, Division staff will begin outreach to individuals and families to request voluntary participation in one of the following surveys:

  • In-Person Survey (will be conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic) – for individuals 21 and older who are receiving at least one Division-funded service in addition to Support Coordination.
  • Adult Family Survey – an online survey for family members who have an adult (21 years or older) with an intellectual/developmental disability who lives in the family home and receives at least one DDD service in addition to Support Coordination.
  • Family/Guardian Survey – an online survey for family members/guardians who have an adult (21 years or older) with an intellectual/developmental disability who lives outside of the family home and receives at least one DDD service in addition to Support Coordination.

Please see the Division’s NCI Survey Overview for more information.

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