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Action Alert: NJ DDD Chris Christie Action Will Cause Disabled to Lose Their Homes

Action alertAttention New Jersey Constituents! VOR logo sidebar

Urge your Legislators to Protect New Jerseyans with I/DD From Eviction

The New Jersey Department of Human Services' Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) is moving ahead, with the blessing of Governor Chris Christie, on two initiatives that will result in hundreds of New Jersey's most fragile citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) losing their homes.

The Governor recently announced a new, aggressive timeline for the closures of the North Jersey (by July 2014) and Woodbridge (by Jan 2015) Developmental Centers. These closures, being pursued by DDD, come at the same time as DDD is aggressively pursuing its "Returning Home New Jersey" initiative which seeks to move New Jersey citizens now receiving quality supports in other states (for lack of supports in New Jersey), back to New Jersey.

The vast majority of the hundreds of affected individuals with profound I/DD and their families/guardians OPPOSE these transitions. Woodbridge, North Jersey, and the targeted facilities in other states (including Woods Services, Melmark and Devereaux) are HOME to the affected residents, and have been for years, even decades. Many residents have experienced failed "community" placements and will predictably suffer if transitioned to unprepared, unlicensed smaller settings. 

These proposals are dangerous and cruel. They are being pursued with a goal that money will be saved, but even that goal is highly questionable if adequate, life-sustaining services are provided.  With a waiting list of more than 8,000, what makes New Jersey think they can safely serve individuals with profound I/DD with complex medical and behavioral challenges in already over-saturated, underfunded "community" system. And why? The affected individuals are already receiving great care.

Taking action is easy – just click here  for a ready to send letter that will be sent directly to your legislators. Then share this alert with all your New Jersey family and friends on email lists and social media. (New Jersey residents only please.)

We believe strongly that a position in support of person-centered needs and choice is not only morally correct, but also legally justified by the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision.  These individuals are already home. Please help by taking action today.



Paul Altruda

Not only is the Return to NJ program flawed, it is not even being honestly administered. Disabled individuals placed out of state and funded by NJ DDD will be forced to move back to NJ without regard to an assessment of the individual needs of each individual. The DDD's goal is to grab as many Medicaid dollars as possible so there are no procedures in place to address a finding that the out of state individual can not be provided with the services he or she needs in NJ.

Even more callous is that in some out of state placements the cost of care is less than the cost of care in NJ, even taking into account any Medicaid money which might be available. How can the DDD be allowed to ignore the cost savings which would be realized by continuing the lower cost out of state placement?


New Jersey, under Christie, has also been doing everything possible to undermine affordable housing including completely ignoring court orders. I am not sure if you can just have a state in which everyone lives in a mansion but if you can Christie is for it. Everyone else can go to....not sure where but somewhere not the lovely Garden State.

A Concerned Citizen

Governor Christie is on a mission to cut expenditures by any means possible which entails increasing group homes for the disabled at the expense of closing developmental centers which are lifelong homes for the profoundly disabled.
Many of the residents at developmental centers are severely mentally disabled with little to no cognitive abilities combined with speech, vision and many other developmental complications and they are our most vulnerable citizens. They are HUMAN BEINGS with individual and varying needs and this issue should not be treated with a one-size-fits all solution. Sure there are some higher functioning disabled individuals that may be able to thrive well at home or in community Group Homes but to strip away the life-long home of many of the severely disabled individuals who heavily rely on the around the clock personal care, safety and medical staff that they are provided at developmental centers would be morally corrupt.
Christie’s plan, based on recommendations from a biased taskforce that he hand selected, did NOT include key stakeholders such as parents/guardians. His plan entails transferring clients from developmental centers to community housing or to a remote developmental center far out of reach of the disabled clients’ families and is dismissive of their input.
Group homes for the disabled is riddled with risks and problems for those with severe mental and physical disabilities, including higher rates of mortality and a greater risk of being abused in the general community. Those living in group homes waive their rights, under the Community Care Waiver. Under the State’s game of smoke and mirrors would have the public to believe that group homes would provide the same or better level of protections afforded to those thriving in home-like developmental centers, who receive FEDERALLY MANDATED levels of care.
Christie claims “de-institutionalization” is a “mandate” of the “Olmstead” Supreme Court decision when in reality nowhere in the Olmstead decision does it say that all people with disabilities must be transferred to the community.


It's easier for the Christie adminstration to pull the rug out from under the State's most vulnerable than face the truth that, of all the US States, the State of New Jersey has the most Pharma industries who, no doubt, boost the states economy and not so coincidently NJ also has among the nations highest autism rates. CDC reports that 1 in 27 boys in NJ has autism. so rather than take on the elephant in the room (sue their sugar daddy Big Pharma on behalf of NJ's injured children) Christie throws our kids under the bus and then backs the bus over them again and again. Then politics have never been about doing the right thing.


Jesus himself couldn't be kept from "steeping" with a brood of politicians..with the number of autistic children in school one in fifty, not counting those not in school, we as parents are approaching numbers enough to be noticed as potential voters..beware..some will claim to understand, to do more, to question vaccines..but will do NOTHING..but win us over with empty words...politicians won't solve this..like all medical mistakes and all criminal acts..it will be a court room to save our children. If we work for nothing else, we need to work toward having our day in a real court, where experts aren't degraded and their studies are not discounted. Today my mother received trash from "thinking person's guide to autism" a huge cartoon depicting Wakefield as the criminal in this, and Jenny with boobs suggesting no brain..it's a war.They KNOW how to manipulate..using degrading terms to describe parents that witnessed vaccine damage and death in their children. It's time to take their challenge and fight. I won't get into politics because I see the usual siding up and it offers nothing.

Vicki Hill

Reality is that there are special needs "advocates" in every state who are strong proponents of closing anything which is not "inclusive" - by their definitions. Doesn't matter if it is home, if the person has been living there for years. They pray at the altar of inclusion - nothing else matters.

Of course, there won't be much "inclusion" in neighborhood activities by a housebound severely disabled person who just lost access to all the friends he has had for years. But the inclusion activists will be happy. And they come in all political persuasions - Dems, Reps, independents. The issue of "inclusion" is wrong, in my view. The real issue is "choice" - the choice of the person with disabilities, not the choice of an advocate who has never met the person.


Perhaps Berea College can come up there and conduct tours to the let everyone see mentally ill people living beside tomatoe patches in card board boxes?

Maybe Bill O'Reilly can give his words of wisdome and tell us are no helping these people and the best thing to do is just to move out of the area.


New Jersey is the garden state and grows good tomatoes, right?
Are there any natural cliffs or caves in the area? If not perhaps cardboard boxes next to the tomato patches-- bridges perhaps?

Maybe some state - like Texas can donate those big metal oil barrels to burn fires in, so they can keep warm-in the winter cause I heard winters can be cold up there - Oh, but wait -- the North East citizens are the driving force behind (EPA) against all types of fires. --_Well perhaps Michigan Wal Marts can donate snow suits for the winter.

Clothes Closets, Clothes Attics -- Places you can go for free or cheap clothes has long been common in this area.

Berea College was established in Kentucky by people coming out of the North East - they draw their money from generous kind hearted donations, but also by conducting tours of the improvised in the region, and (impoverished and something else - oh what could it be --some kind of mental illness) all living under cliffs-- thus astonishing everyone else in the United States, that people exist that would live like that.

Berea College also sucked the local kids of this impoverished region dry with staggering work loads and still over pricing their tuition compared to the other local colleges in the area.

I don't know what to think of Chris - he seems hard nosed which we all think is great -- if he is hard nosed against those really evil and not the helpless.

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