January 23, 2013 at 7:54 AM
Assembly members Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Pamela R. Lampitt have sponsored legislation that will provide transparency for parents and families of children with developmental disabilities programs that serve the vulnerable population. In part, the legislation would ensure that family members have access to all documents regarding the services that are designed and implemented for their disabled loved ones to ensure all New Jersey residents have access to documents concerning services and support for persons with developmental disabilities was released last week by an Assembly panel.
Assembly bill 3480 would require that Dr. Allison Blake, Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families and Jennifer Velez, Commissioner of the Department of Human Services “make all forms, materials and information on services and supports for persons with developmental disabilities available in English and any
other language that is the primary language of at least 10 percent of the residents within an election district in this state.”
Recently, parents of children with developmental disabilities have complained that their children have not received services that the aforementioned State Departments are mandated to provide. In fact, the parents assert that basic case management services are non-existent.
According to Huttle:
"This is quite simply the right thing to do to make sure all New Jersey residents and families have access to these valuable supports and services... It's a simple step that can pay countless dividends down the road by ensuring all persons with developmental disabilities can find the help and support they need."
Lampitt suggests that:
"This is common sense... We want to ensure all persons with developmental disabilities get the services they need, and this is one way to ensure that this information is available to all our residents and families."
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) assets that their role includes the delivery of a variety of services:
“DCF’s Strategic Plan outlines five Strategic Priorities. These include Seamless System of Care; Performance Management & Accountability; Partnerships; Communication; and Organizational Development. Please think of these priorities as the pillars or buckets in which we categorize our work. These priorities will help guide DCF now and into the future.”
The Department of Human Services (DHS) asserts that:
“DHS and its eight divisions provide programs and services designed to give eligible individuals and families the help they need to find permanent solutions to a myriad of life challenges... This is made possible through the Department’s work to maximize state and federal resources, establish community supports and promote
accountability among staff. DHS also provides some assistance for the families served by the Department of Children and Families (DCF)”.
Hopefully, a level of cooperation among DHF, DCF, the State Legislature, and parents and families will ensure that quality services do, indeed, become available for this vulnerable population.
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