Christie Administration Failed to Participate in Joint Legislative Hearing on Proposed Closing of Two Developmental Centers

February 14, 2013 at 7:24 AM

On Wednesday, Feb. 13, The Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens and the Assembly Human Services Committee met jointly at Montclair State University to take public testimony on the closing of the Totowa and Woodbridge Developmental Centers. The Senate Committee was chaired by Joe Vitale
(D-Middlesex) and the Assembly Committee by Valerie Huttle (D-Bergen). Absent from the hearing were representatives from the Department of Hunan Services and the Governor’s office.

Testimony during the hearing included heart-wrenching stories from the families of people with developmental disabilities who reside in New Jersey’s developmental centers.

At least two witnesses cited Bernard White, a former State official who served as the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Human Services for 30 years. White, who is now retired and living in Florida, recently contacted several individuals, including this writer, to suggest that there is a surge in mortality rates among individuals with
developmental disabilities after being forcibly transferred from a residential center. In addition, White pointed out that transferring them to a location that was further away from other family members exacerbated the mortality rate. Furthermore, non-ambulatory individuals who were transferred experienced an even higher mortality rate.

Hearing participants suggested that these factors have not been examined or considered by State officials who are planning to close the two developmental centers. This writer has suggested that the planned closings are based on money, rather than the welfare of the residents. In addition, hearing participants have suggested that services that are provided by the developmental centers, such as medical, dental, and other health care cannot be
replicated in community settings.

It was pointed out during the hearing that the Department of Human Services was invited to the hearing, but failed to attend. The Parents and family members have repeatedly suggested that State officials have been unavailable to discuss the welfare of their disabled and vulnerable loved ones. Hopefully, this hearing will serve as a catalyst for improved communication among all parties.

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Tue, January 17, 11:30 AM

SAGE Eldercare, Summit

Tai Chi

Health & Wellness


Wed, January 18, 7:30 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Author talk: Jeanne D’Haem,  "Inclusion: The ...


Sun, January 22, 1:30 PM

Morris County Historical Society at Acorn Hall, Morristown

"At Home in the President's Neighborhood" ...

Arts & Entertainment

Today’s Bond Market - Should I Stay or Should I Go?

2016’s final days left bond investors unsettled.

Just a few months ago, with the backdrop of the surprise July Brexit vote, U.S. Treasury yields hit record lows. Donald Trump’s election as president has increased concerns of a new round of tax cuts and greater government spending, which could stimulate inflation. The Federal Reserve has finally raised interest rates and is ...

Why the Y: A Mother and Daughter Find Community

“My mom works here at the Y,” says 9-year-old Leah Rajnarain, looking out from under her cat face-shaped sleeping mask that’s pushed up above her big brown eyes. It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon and she’s in Kids Central, the Madison Area YMCA’s indoor playground, snuggled up in comfy pajamas because it had been pajama day at Torey J. Sabatini ...

First Chatham-Shanghai Exchange with Chinese Students Coming to CHS

January 17, 2017

The first Chatham-Shanghai Exchange will begin on Sunday. On Monday, 12 Chinese students will attend Chatham High School with their American hosts and shadow their host students for the whole week.

On the evening of January 27th, which is Chinese New Year’s Eve, all Chinese classes, both from middle school and high school, the CHS Chinese Club, and the Chinese host families will be ...