New Jersey Partners in PolicyMaking

New Jersey Partners in Policymaking is a leadership development and advocacy education program for adults with developmental disabilities (over age 21) and family members of children and transition-age youth available through a collaboration between The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, and Disability Rights New Jersey. 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.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring some uncertainty. The 2022-2023 Partners in Policymaking sessions are currently scheduled to take place using a hybrid model which combines in-person and virtual learning. A fully virtual option for those that are immunocompromised or have an immunocompromised family member that prevents in-person participation will be made available.

Through participation in in-person and virtual educational leadership development sessions and completion of online assignments, selected participants learn about best practices and important areas for advocacy from nationally-known experts. Upon completion of the program, participants will have developed the knowledge and skills needed to:

  1. advocate for opportunities and supports that promote self-determination, independence, and inclusion in all aspects of community life
  2. be members of advisory boards and committees
  3. work alongside policymakers and state agencies

Requirements for Participation

  • Participation in all educational leadership development sessions held in New Brunswick, NJ and virtually
    • In-Person sessions will be held one weekend a month in September, November, February, and April (Friday 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm and Saturday 8:30 am – 3:00 pm)
    • Virtual sessions will be held one weekend a month in October, December, January, and March (Friday 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am –1:00 pm) and one Wednesday a month from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm from September through April.
  • Completion of between session online assignments. These assignments will be given to enhance learning between online sessions and may include watching videos and other assignments.
  • Completion of homework assignments, including the development of an Advocacy Action Plan

Is there any cost to participate?

No. Expenses are paid for by the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities. Covered expenses for in-person sessions include:

  • Overnight lodging (shared with another participant)
  • Meals and refreshments
  • Reimbursement for travel
  • Reimbursement for child care/respite at $15 an hour, up to $150 a weekend.

Accommodations such as sign language interpreters, large print materials, or Braille are provided as needed.


Project Director: Colleen McLaughlin
Project Staff:Jamie Zahid


The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities
335 George Street, Suite 3500,
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Monthly Educational Leadership Development Sessions & Topics

September 16 & 17 (In-Person)
• Parent Advocacy
• Self-Advocacy
• Social Media as an Advocacy Tool
Wednesday, September 28 (Virtual)

October 14 & 15 (Virtual)
• The LifeCourse Framework and Planning
• History of Disability Policy and Today’s Impact
Wednesday, October 26 (Virtual)

November 4 & 5 (In-Person)
• Medicaid; Health and Wellness
• Inclusive Education
Wednesday, November 30 (Virtual)

December 9 & 10 (Virtual)
• Transition
• Employment
No Wednesday Session

January 13 & 14 (Virtual)
• Federal Hot Topics and Tips from the Hill
• Direct Support Professional Workforce
Wednesday, January 25 (Virtual)

February 17 & 18 (In-Person)
• Supported Decision Making
• Public Speaking and Effective Communication
Wednesday, March 1 (Virtual)

March 24 & 25 (Virtual)
• State Policy and Systems Change Advocacy
• Advocacy in Action
Wednesday, April 12 (Virtual)

April 21 & 22 (In-Person)
• Building Social Capital and Community Connections
• Graduation