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In 29 states in the US, as well as in Canada, the UK, Germany, New Zealand, Austria, Hong Kong, Japan, and Italy, self advocates have joined a grassroots movement organized and maintained entirely by individuals with disabilities, and dedicated solely to advancing the rights of citizens with disabilities across the globe. This International Movement is known as People First.
In accordance with the 1993 Family Support Act, the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities established the Regional Family Support Planning Councils (RFSPCs) to provide a way for parents and family members of people with developmental disabilities to come together to exchange knowledge and information about family support services and to advocate for families and individuals with developmental disabilities at the local and state level on issues that directly impact their lives. They also collaborate with the state Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and Department of Children and Families (DCF) on how to better serve individuals and their families.
The NJCDD’s Youth Leadership Program works with local groups and community-based organizations to provide leadership training for young people with developmental disabilities. Through attendance of eight fun and informative training sessions, young people with developmental disabilities develop skills to make them leading voices for themselves and other people with developmental disabilities.
New Jersey Partners in Policymaking is a leadership development and advocacy education program for adults with developmental disabilities (over 18) and family members available through The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities with funding from the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities. The goal of this program is to prepare the next generation of disability advocates to work toward meaningful change in our state.