NJCDD Programs

People First New Jersey-Logo

People First NJ

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.

Regional Family Support Planning Council Logo

Regional Family Support Planning Council

In accordance with the 1993 Family Support Act, the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities established the Regional Family Support Planning Councils (RFSPCs) to provide a way for parents and family members of people with developmental disabilities to come together to exchange knowledge and information about family support services and to advocate for families and individuals with developmental disabilities at the local and state level on issues that directly impact their lives. They also collaborate with the state Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) on how to better serve individuals and their families. Click here to find out more.

Youth Leadership Program logo

Youth Leadership Program

The NJCDD’s Youth Leadership Program works with local groups and community-based organizations to provide leadership training for young people with developmental disabilities. Through attendance of eight fun and informative training sessions, young people with developmental disabilities develop skills to make them leading voices for themselves and other people with developmental disabilities. Go to the Youth Leadership page to find out more.

Partner in PolicyMaking Logo

Partners in PolicyMaking (PIP)

The goal of this program is to prepare the next generation of disability advocates to work toward meaningful change in our state. The Boggs Center is committed to building a diverse group of participants that is reflective of the needs, geography, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds of New Jersey. Go to the PIP page to find out more.

NJCDD Activities

Community Building Awards

Each year, the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities looks to members of the community to help us identify individuals or organizations who have shown an exceptional commitment to promoting community inclusion for individuals with developmental disabilities. Whether a devoted educator, a visionary community leader, or a diligent advocate, the Council believes such individuals or organizations should be encouraged, supported, and given recognition.

New Jersey Employment First

In April 2012, Governor Chris Christie made New Jersey an ‘Employment First’ state. It means that competitive employment is the first and preferred post-education activity for everyone, including people with disabilities.

During the announcement, the Governor said, “Everyone should have the opportunity to be productive, earn a living, and feel a sense of personal fulfillment from employment. …That’s why we’re working cooperatively with the private sector to ensure that people with disabilities are a seamless part of New Jersey’s workforce, with the independence and sense of community that comes from relationships developed inside and outside of the workplace.”

People with disabilities are a multi-skilled workforce resource for employers. An inclusive workplace promotes diversity, expands the tax base and creates an expanded pool of qualified candidates for available jobs. ‘Employment First’ is about creating an environment for individuals with disabilities that empowers them with choices for their future, reduces poverty, shrinks enrollment in entitlement programs, eases demand on state and community based social service agencies and provides workers with a sense of achievement.

As one of 14 states that recognize ‘Employment First’, New Jersey is setting new benchmarks – not just for people with disabilities – but for their families, school administrators, employers, government agencies, business leaders and community partners.

New Jersey Legislaive Disability Caucus 

The newly formed New Jersey Legislative Disability Caucus serves as a bipartisan forum within the New Jersey Legislature for lawmakers and their staff to consider the impact on the disability community when shaping ALL public policies in the Garden State through increased awareness and a greater understanding of the complexities of the disabilities service system and issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families. People with disabilities, their families, and organizations that serve support and advocate for people with disabilities in New Jersey serve as a resource to the Caucus, providing education and programming as needed.

School Safety Issues Affecting Students with Disabilities

Most schools have a comprehensive plan for emergency situations—fires, natural disasters, active shooters, terrorism, and even the unplanned release of chemicals, but few have effective plans in place to address the complex, individualized needs of students with disabilities.

Bridging Aging & Disability

In 2022, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) announced that it was awarded a five-year grant for a national Community of Practice (CoP) grant focused on improving aging services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD), as well as their aging families. The CoP will be made up of 15 States and/or Territories through grants made available by the Administration for Community Living at the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

New Jersey is one of seven grants to States and/or Territories that have been awarded to date. Read More

Cultural Liaison

The NJCDD defines a Cultural Liaison as an individual from a diverse background within the I/DD community who utilizes their own network of community contacts and resources such as family/friends, religious institutions/ faith-based places of worship, school/college/trade school, employment/volunteer, memberships/associations, and leagues/clubs AND connects their network to the NJCDD and other resources for information related to disability services and supports. Read More