Responds to Widespread Interruption of Delivery of Self-Directed
New Jersey's Department
of Human Services (DHS) operates self-directed programs for the
delivery of home and community based services. These waivers allow
Medicaid beneficiaries to directly hire, fire and manage their
own staffing, with funding provided under these waivers. Two of
these programs are the Division of Developmental Disabilities'
(DDD) Self-Directed option and the Division of Disability Services'
(DDS) Personal Preference Program (PPP).
Until the summer of
2017, each program contracted for its own fiscal intermediary
services to assist consumers and family members with payroll,
tax withholding and budget management. In early 2017, DHS awarded
the fiscal intermediary contract to Public Partnerships, LLC (PPL),
a subsidiary of Public Consulting Group.
Since PPL assumed the
role of fiscal intermediary, beneficiaries and families have reported
to DRNJ widespread interruptions to the delivery of waiver services,
including problems with incorrect, inconsistent, and missing payments
for services, non-responsive customer service, and poor communication
about significant changes that affect the implementation of these
In November 2017, in
response to numerous reports from beneficiaries and family members,
DRNJ filed a complaint with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services. A copy of the complaint may be found here.
In January 2018, DRNJ
sent a letter to departing DHS Commissioner Elizabeth Connelly,
detailing the complaints and seeking her direct intervention.
A copy of the letter may be found here.
During this time, DRNJ
staff have worked tirelessly with the Family Support Councils,
intervened in dozens of individual cases, and coordinated efforts
with the Developmental Disabilities Council and ABCD's coalition
of support coordinators.
Most recently, DRNJ
met with then Governor-Elect, now Governor Murphy's transition
team to apprise them of the ongoing problems. They have committed
to addressing this as a priority, with plans to brief the incoming
administrations in Human Services, Policy, and Treasury, with
follow up expected in February.
For customer service
and escalation process information about PPL click
Center for Mental Health Law, Disability Rights New Jersey and
New Jersey Human Services Commission Announce Completion of Settlement
That Transformed State's Mental Health Service System
Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, a national
legal advocacy organization advancing the rights of people with
mental disabilities, Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ), the
New Jersey protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities,
and New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Elizabeth Connolly
announced a settlement agreement expanding opportunities for residents
of New Jersey's state psychiatric hospitals to live in integrated
settings has come to a conclusion after more than six years.
access the press release click
Mobile Resources To Support Behavioral Health
SAMHSA has resources
that can help address some of the toughest mental health and substance
use challenges, including suicide prevention, bullying prevention,
behavioral health following a disaster, and underage drinking
Safe helps health care providers integrate suicide
prevention strategies into their practice and address suicide
risk among their patients.
provides information and guidance on ways to prevent bullying
and build resilience in children. A great tool for parents and
educators, KnowBullying is meant for kids ages 3 to 18.
Disaster App provides responders with access to critical
resources—like Psychological First Aid and Responder Self-Care—and
SAMHSA's Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to help
responders provide support to survivors after a disaster.
They Hear You is an interactive game that can help parents and
caregivers prepare for one of the more important conversations
they may ever have with children—underage drinking.
Offers Information Guides on Disability Benefits, Programs, and
reliable disability-related information and resources can be time
consuming. That's why Disability.gov has developed a series of
14 guides about topics such as disability benefits, housing assistance,
job training programs, and financial help for families with low
incomes. Other guides cover services that promote independence
for people with disabilities such as home health care, programs
for caregivers, assistive technology, and more.
guide begins with a series of “quick links” that answer many frequently
asked questions. Disability.gov’s Guides to Information &
Resources also connect you to information about local organizations
that offer programs and services that promote the inclusion and
full participation of people with disabilities in their communities.
To learn more, visit http://www.Disability.gov.
Inclusion Campaign Website Launched
Rights New Jersey (DRNJ), Education Law Center (ELC), the New
Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education (NJCIE) and other advocates
launched “The Inclusion Campaign” (http://www.inclusioncampaign.org)
website. The website is a resource for families, educators and
other advocates regarding the landmark 2013 legal settlement with
the New Jersey Department of Education to educate more of the
state’s students with disabilities in an inclusive environment.
For more information,
contact: Gregory Joseph, 646-346-4289, email@example.com
Publishes EPSDT Benefits Guide for Children and Youth
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published
a go-to resource for anyone interested in improving child health:
EPSDT - A Guide for State Coverage in the Medicaid Benefit for
Children and Adolescents. The Guide was produced by CMS in collaboration
with the National Health Law Program, under subcontract to the
NORC at the University of Chicago.
The Guide is intended to help states, health care providers and
others to understand the scope of services that are covered under
EPSDT so that they may realize EPSDT's goals and provide the best
possible child and adolescent health benefit through their Medicaid
here to download a copy of the guide.
Jersey Supreme Court Upholds Property Tax Exemptions for Supportive
Housing - Positive Outcome for State’s Supportive Housing Providers
In a unanimous decision today in Advance Housing v. Teaneck, the
New Jersey Supreme Court upheld a property tax exemption for nonprofit
providers of supportive housing. Supportive housing providers, such
as Advance Housing, offer permanent homes for people with mental
illness or cognitive disabilities. Residents are also offered –
and almost invariably accept – a wide array of services, from crisis
intervention to cooking classes, that help them to live in an integrated,
community setting. The Court held that supportive housing constitutes
a charitable use of property and thus qualifies for a tax exemption.
This decision was welcomed by Advance Housing and a coalition of
nonprofit supportive-housing providers and national and state organizations,
including DRNJ, representing individuals with psychiatric disabilities
and their families.
the press release, click
Under Social Security's Plan to Achieve Self-Support
The Social Security Administration’s Plan to Achieve Self-Support
(PASS) is a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provision to help
people with disabilities return to work. The PASS program allows
disability beneficiaries receiving SSI to save money, as well as
things of value that an individual owns, to pay for items or services
needed to achieve a specific work goal. PASS allows a person to
set aside money (without affecting benefits) for installment payments
or a down payment on things like a vehicle, wheelchair or computer
if needed to reach a work goal. If the goal is self-employment,
a business plan is required.
are thinking about PASS, you will need to decide on a work goal
and determine the items and services that you would need to achieve
it. This can include supplies to start a business, school expenses,
equipment and tools and transportation. You can receive help in
setting up a plan from the following:
• A Ticket to Work Employment Network
• A Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor;
• An organization that helps people with disabilities;
• Benefits Specialists or Protection and Advocacy organizations
who have contracts with Social Security; and
• Local Social Security offices.
information, go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov
Accessible Playgrounds App
looking for information about accessible playgrounds for a new app.
Go to http://apps.npr.org/playgrounds/
Center Launches Veterans with Disabilities Online Toolkits
The Northeast ADA Center
has added additional "Making Work Happen" online toolkits
aimed at improving the employment experience for veterans with disabilities.
These three toolkits (one for employers, one for disability service
providers and one for veterans themselves) provide strategies and
practices for the full inclusion of veterans with disabilities in
employment. To learn more and to utilize these toolkits, visit:
Address Education Transformation Task Force Report
of stakeholders that work with individuals with disabilities, including
DRNJ, have joined voices to address the Education Transformation
Task Force Final Report dated September 5, 2012. To access a copy
of the coalition report click
here and to access a copy of the response click
Submits Comments Before State Board of Education
submitted comments during the State Board of Education's open comment
here to access a copy.
About Proposed Regulations for Veterans with TBI
has produced its Hurricane Sandy Response and Recovery Guide available
This guide will be updated
Releases Report of Discriminatory Treatment Against Individuals
Who Use Guide Dog
Rights Center, in collaboration with the American Council for the
Blind, has just released a new testing-based report, which documented
a 31% rate of discriminatory treatment against blind or visually
impaired individuals who use a guide dog while seeking rental housing
in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. You can download
a the full report at our website: http://www.equalrightscenter.org/disability
Signs Letter Supporting Keeping All Students Safe Act
Rights New Jersey and over 150 national, state and local organizations
show support for Keeping All Students Safe Act bills, H.R. 1381
and S.2020. These bills will protect schoolchildren from dangerous
restraint and seclusion. To access a copy of the letters to the
Senate, House Chair and Ranking Members,
and DCF Message Regarding Children with Developmental Disabilities
Commissioner of the Department of Human Services, Dawn Apgar, and
the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families,
Robert Sabreen, recently released a message regarding the changes
that become effective July 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012 in
the service delivery for youth under age 21, currently served by
the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). To access a copy
of the message, click
and Videos Released by DRW and NDRN
Rights Washington (DRW) and the National Disability Rights Network
(NDRN) released "Devaluing People with Disabilities: Medical
Procedures that Violate Civil Rights". The report comes five
years after media accounts surfaced of a Seattle girl who, when
six years’ old, was kept permanently small through a set of procedures
now commonly called the “Ashley Treatment.” The procedure was later
found to have violated her legal rights. To access the full report,
two videos have been released in conjunction with the Ashley Report
Rights: Citizens Speak Out and NDRN’s Curt
Decker on Ashley’s rights
submitted comments opposing proposed changes to eligibility for
General Assistance through Work First New Jersey. Click
here to access a copy.
Testifies on Mental Health Services in NJ
On September 20, 2010, DRNJ's executive director, Joseph Young testified
before the Assembly Human Services Committee regarding mental health
services and the state psychiatric hospitals in the State of New
here to view the comments.
Submitted on the Early Intervention Family Cost Share Increase
DRNJ submitted comments to the Department of Health and
Services regarding the proposed increase to the early intervention
family cost share. Click
here to view the comments.
Comments Submitted on the Emergency Enactment of
DDD Placement Regulations
DRNJ submitted comments to the Division of Developmental
Disabilities regarding the emergency adoption of placement regulations.
here to view the comments.
Comments Submitted on the Proposed DDD Waiting List
DRNJ submitted comments to the Division of Developmental
Disabilities regarding the proposed readoption without amendments
waiting list regulations. Click
here to view the comments.
Comments Submitted on the Proposed Family Support
DRNJ submitted comments to the Division of Developmental
Disabilities regarding the proposed readoption without amendments
family support services regulations. Click
here to view the comments.
Executive Director Provided Testimony Before the
Assembly Human Services Committee
Young, Executive Director of DRNJ provided testimony before the
Assembly Human Services Committee to express concerns about the
change in the definition of “traumatic brain injury”
in the proposed amendment to N.J.A.C. 10:141-1.2. To access a copy
of the testimony, click
Health Association in New Jersey’s Peer Recovery WarmLine Receives
The Mental Health Association
in New Jersey’s Peer Recovery WarmLine has received Mental Health
America’s Innovation in Programming Award. The honor was presented
at the recent 2012 National Zarrow Mental Health Symposium and Mental
Health America Annual Conference at the Delegate Assembly, in Tulsa,
OK. According to Carolyn Beauchamp, President and CEO of the Mental
Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ), “This award recognizes
the Peer WarmLine’s continuing innovation, creativity and accomplishments
including measurable outcomes, reflection of state-of-the-art thinking
and research in the mental health field and consumer empowerment.
We are proud of the concerted efforts of our Peer Recovery WarmLine
MHANJ’s Peer Recovery
WarmLine is a revolutionary consumer (peer) professional program,
providing ongoing telephone support to mental health consumers as
they work toward their recovery. All calls are answered by peers
who are trained, supportive mental health consumers, using best
practice models such as Intentional Peer Support and Wellness and
Recovery Action planning. In addition, the Peer Recovery WarmLine’s
full employment training program, with a spectrum extending from
volunteer to manager, exemplifies a best practice as a system of
occupational actualization for consumer professionals. In both aspects
it is an invaluable lifeline for mental health consumers in the
For more information
visit www.mhanj.org or call 973-571-4100.
Voice Offers Grants For Two Citizen Advocacy Groups
Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) is excited
to be offering grants to two citizen advocacy groups (CAGs) in the
amount of $4,000 each. The grants are part of phase two of the Consumer
Voice's project Quality Care, No Matter Where: Consumer Guides for
Self-Advocacy, funded by the Milbank Foundation for Rehabilitation.
The goals of this project are as follows: (1) to educate older aduts
and individuals with disabilities about the various options for
long-term services and supports available across the long-term care
continuum; (2) to empower older adults and persons with disabilities
to be self-advocates for quality services and supports; (3) to strengthen
citizen advocacy groups that work on behalf of long-term care consumers;
and (4) to forge new and meaningful partnerships with national and
state disability groups.
The due date for proposals is due by October 22, 2012 at 5:00 pm
EST. All proposal submitters will receive a notification via email
(or postal mail, if an email address is not provided) regarding
the acceptance or denial of their proposal by November 12, 2012.
If you would like more information or have any questions, please
contact Sara Cirba at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-332-2275
in collaboration with The Boggs Center and NJCDD, have published
a new resource "Voting: It's Your Right". The publication
is available in both English and Spanish. To access a copy, go to
Survey on Abuse of People with Disabilities was released
National Survey on Abuse of People with Disabilities was released
on May 1, 2012. The purpose of the survey is to seek input from
the public, especially from persons with disabilities or those who
interact with them, such as family members, caregivers, service
providers, and advocates. The survey, which takes just a few minutes
to complete, gathers information about actual incidents of abuse
as well as attitudes regarding the adequacy and effectiveness, or
not, of official responses to such victimization. To take the survey
of Wellness Newsletter
edition of the Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey Institute
for Wellness and Recovery Initiatives "Words of Wellness"
newsletter is available by clicking
Reveal Disparities in Schools' Use of Restraints
data that for the first time attempt to catalog how many times students
were isolated or restrained—by a school employee or with a device—show
that, in many cases, those techniques are applied disproportionately
to students with disabilities, particularly black students with
disabilities. To read the entire article, go to http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/03/13/24data.h31.html?tkn=YMCE5GXFBhFa1BYeMycLWVPvH%2FtOkD9h8yoB&cmp=clp-sb-cec
Files Complaint Regarding Involuntary Administration of Medication
in collaboration with Kirkland & Ellis, has filed a complaint
in U.S. District Court in New Jersey against the Departments of
Human Services and Health and Senior Services regarding the involuntary
administration of medication to psychiatric patients in New Jersey's
public and private hospitals. The lawsuit challenges the currrent
implementation of procedures put in place in the state-operated
psychiatric hospitals in response to the litigation in Rennie v
Klein (1978-1983) and the lack of any formal procedures or oversight
in the other hospitals. The lawsuit alleges that the current procedures,
which do not provide for an independent review in the event of a
challenge to the need for involuntary medication no longer conforms
to today's understanding of patient rights and good clinical practice.
here to access a copy of the complaint.
here to access a copy of the opinion denying protective
here to access a copy of the opinion regarding motion
a copy of the opinion denying Plaintiff’s Motion for a Protective
Order that sternly admonishes the State to instruct its staff not
to intimidate hospital patients who wish to testify regarding their
experiences being involuntarily medicated.
Opinion denying Plaintiff’s Motion for a Protective Order sternly
admonishes State to instruct staff not to intimidate hospital patients
who wish to testify regarding their experiences being involuntarily
wrote the following; "The Court does not dismiss the possibility
that judicial intervention, including a protective order, preliminary
injunction, or sanctions may be later required if evidence of harassment
or intimidation is found. To be clear, even some of the conduct
that Defendants already admit is clearly improper.3 Counsel would
be advised to ensure that physicians and staff who may have access
to patient files or occasion to discuss this litigation with patients
are well informed as to the ethical duties of litigants and the
severe penalties associated with witness tampering and/or spoliation.
Plaintiff is entitled to a fair hearing, and the Court is obligated
to protect the integrity of that process."
Read the full Opinion
Motion to Dismiss the Case is denied.
In upholding DRNJ’s argument
that the current practice of forcibly administering medication to
psychiatric patients violates the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act
the court wrote the following; "Plaintiff alleges that its
constituents have been denied the opportunity to meaningfully participate
in the treatment offered by state facilities because of their mental
illness. (Complaint ¶¶ 218, 225). Plaintiff further alleges that
other medical patients under the care and supervision of the state,
such as patients without mental illness, prisoners with mental illness,
and individuals with both mental illness and developmental illness
are accorded this ability, resulting in superior treatment and greater
access to the benefits provided by the state program. Id. at 205.
Defendants have offered no argument as to why this differential
treatment does not constitute a denial of benefits by reason of
disability. Consequently, Plaintiff’s claims under the ADA and RA
will be permitted to proceed."
Read the full 38 page
Motion To Dismiss
State’s Affirmative Defenses Granted in it’s entirety, and DRNJ
awarded attorney fees
DRNJ filed a Motion to
Dismiss 33 Affirmative Defenses filed by the State. In so doing
DRNJ pointed out that many of the defenses were irrelevant to the
case, and had already been rejected by the court and were a waste
of time. Agreeing with DRNJ the court dismissed all 33 Affirmative
Defenses, awarded attorney fees to DRNJ, and wrote the following;
wishes to appeal a final judgment of this Court, she has the right
to do so. She may raise any legal or procedural challenges that
she believes appropriate. Until then however she will not be permitted
to waste the time and attention of the parties or the Court by continuing
to reassert legally groundless defenses that have already been rejected."
Read the entire
Motion to Strike Affirmative Defenses here
Protection Smartphone App
six million people didn’t vote because they didn’t know how to register
to vote or missed their voter registration deadline. For the first
time ever Election Protection has developed a smartphone app to
help you check your voter registration status and register to vote.
You can also access information about absentee voting or early voting
in your state. And what’s even more exciting is that you can use
this app to help your friends and family on the go. The Election
Protection smartphone app truly puts everything you need to know
about this year’s election at your fingertips. For more information,
go to http://www.866ourvote.org/pages/election-protection-smartphone-app
Security Administration Newsletter
2012 Social Security Administration Newsletter is available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/newsletter/.
Please share this information with your staff, clients and the general
public. If you are able to, please publish this newsletter and/or
please post it on your website.
of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, Governor Chris Christie
has signed a proclamation and written a letter. Click
here to access the proclamation. Click
here to access the letter.
Department of Education Issues Resource Document that Discourages
Restraint and Seclusion
the U.S. Department of Education issued a publication that outlines
principles for educators, parents and other stakeholders to consider
when developing or refining policies and procedures to support positive
behavioral interventions and avoid the use of restraint and seclusion.
The goal of this resource document is to help ensure that schools
are safe and healthy environments where all students can learn,
develop and participate in instructional programs that promote high
levels of academic achievement. The 15 principles that frame the
document ultimately highlight how schoolwide behavioral interventions
can significantly reduce or eliminate the use of restraint or seclusion.
These guiding principles offer states, districts and other education
leaders a framework for developing appropriate policies related
to restraint and seclusion to ensure the safety of adults and children.
The document also provides a synopsis of ongoing efforts by federal
agencies to address national concerns about using restraint and
seclusion in schools, and includes links to state restraint and
seclusion policies and procedures.
To access this document, click
Finds Government Dollars Used to Segregate and Exploit Workers with
In a report released, the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)
outlined how federal funding is being used to shuttle people with
disabilities into sheltered workshops and deprive them of meaningful
The report, Beyond Segregated and Exploited is a follow up to a
report released last year that examined the issue of segregating
working people with disabilities in sheltered workshops and the
use of the subminimum wage to exploit their disability for the financial
gain of employers. The new report is an update on progress to end
those practices and move toward a system that encourages integrated
employment options that pay competitive wages.
This report also provides additional insight into the complex and
confusing system that pumps millions of dollars into sheltered work
despite good national public policy meant to encourage integration
and competitive employment. The report follows money designated
to be spent on integrated employment as it winds its way from the
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Rehabilitation
Services Administration (RSA) to the states, state agencies, and
finally into sheltered workshops.
The report calls for:
• Ending segregated employment and the subminimum wage by restricting
all federal and state money that is spent on employers who segregate
employees with disabilities from the general workforce.
• Strengthening current and create new tax incentives for employers
to hire people with disabilities in integrated workplaces at comparable
• Increasing labor protections and enforcement of existing law.
The report can be found at http://www.ndrn.org/images/Documents/Resources/Publications/Reports/Beyond_Segregated_and_Exploited.pdf
Conference Focused on Laws Affecting People with Disabilities
Two top officials from
the Department of Human Services led a workshop last month on the
integration of behavioral services into a managed care system during
a statewide conference on the law and disability issues. Division
of Mental Health and Addiction Services Assistant Commissioner Lynn
Kovich and Deputy Director Raquel Jeffers guided a panel discussion,
"Managed Behavioral Healthcare," as part of the New Jersey
State Bar Foundation and Community Law Project's annual "Law
and Disability Issues."
More than 300 lawyers,
advocates and providers involved in mental health and substance
abuse services participated in the DHS-run workshop, as well as
one updating attendees on the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In their workshop,
Kovich and Jeffers focused on transitioning behavioral health care
into managed care, explaining fee structure changes that will be
phased in and assuring participants that access to care will be
maintained and that service administrators will not profit from
denying care. John Monahan, President and CEO of Greater Trenton
Behavioral HealthCare also led the panel, which was moderated by
mental health policy consultant Dennis Lafer.
The ADA workshop was
led by Community Law Project Managing Attorney Steven Leder and
included law project attorney Stuart Weiner and Cherry Hill attorney
Richard Yaskin. Keynote speeches about providing an overview of
the Affordable Care Act, health reform implantation and Accountable
Care Organizations were presented by Rutgers University Center for
State Health Policy Director Joel Cantor and Sarah Barth from the
Center for Health Care Strategies.
Releases Quick Guide as Part of Disabilities Awareness Month
In recognition of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Department
of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Jennifer Velez released a “Quick
Guide” to educate the public and media on appropriate terminology
to use when referring to individuals with intellectual or developmental
disabilities. The guide reinforces the spirit of legislation signed
in 2010 by Governor Chris Christie that removes disrespectful language
referring to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities
from New Jersey statutes and regulations.
“Words matter,” said Commissioner Velez. “The use of outdated, derogatory
terms is insulting and hurtful to individuals with disabilities
and the people who love them. We’re hopeful this guide provides
phrase alternatives that become instilled in the vernacular so we
can eliminate the stigma of archaic vocabulary.” The Commissioner
noted that despite sophisticated, nationwide public relations campaigns
by a host of service organizations promoting People First language
or denouncing the ‘R’ word, the message has not resonated, as it
should. “This is not about being ‘politically correct’,” said the
Commissioner. “It’s about respect. Our characteristics do not and
should not ever define us.”
Launches New Website about Dual Eligible Demonstrations
The National Senior Citizens Law Center has launched a new website
to provide aging and disability advocates the information and tools
they need to ensure that models for delivering health and long term
services and supports to dual eligibles (people with both Medicare
and Medicaid) include strong consumer protections.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as part of
an initiative authorized by the Affordable Care Act, is currently
working with states to design and implement new models for integrating
the benefits and financing of both programs. As states build these
new models, NSCLC believes that advocates for dual eligibles must
be involved in this process.
The site will evolve over time with new postings and updates added
weekly. Key features include:
• Advocate tools which provide specific recommendations on important
topics like enrollment, appeals, financing and consumer protections.
• State profiles that describe the current status of demonstration
• A front page map that tells the user at a glance how many dual
eligibles there are in each state and what type of care model is
• A custom search engine that directs users to the most relevant
information on the web.
• Federal guidance related to the dual eligible demonstrations.
• Recommended reading for advocates that are newer to the issue.
In addition, the site allows users to sign up to receive updates
and related information from NSCLC about dual eligibles.
The site is part of NSCLC's project to ensure that new models for
integrating care for dual eligibles or for converting Medicaid-funded
long term services and supports into managed care include strong
The project and site are funded in part by the Commonwealth Fund,
the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies. The
site address: http://dualsdemoadvocacy.org.
of ED Must Do More to Stop Restraint and Seclusion of School Children
new report released, the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)
called on the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to do more to reduce
and prevent the use of restraint and seclusion on school children.
This report is the third in a series of reports on restraint and
seclusion by NDRN called School Is Not Supposed to Hurt. The first
two reports were issued in 2009 and 2010. Many others, including
the Government Accountability Office, have reported on deaths and
injuries resulting from the use of restraint and seclusion in schools.
report, NDRN argues that ED is in the unique position to issue strong
national guidance to state education agencies and local school districts
about when the use of restraint and seclusion might violate anti-discrimination
and education laws, similar to the guidance that the Office of Civil
Rights has already issued on bullying and harassment. The guidance
must at a minimum address that the use of physical restraint or
seclusion is limited to circumstances when necessary to protect
a child or others from imminent physical danger.
A copy of the report can be found at www.ndrn.org
Announces New Effort to Strengthen Accountability for Students with
Department of Education announced new steps to help close the achievement
gap for students with disabilities by moving away from a one-size-fits-all,
compliance-focused approach to a more balanced system that looks
at how well students are being educated in addition to continued
efforts to protect their rights.
For more information about the work of the Department’s Office of
Special Education Programs, see http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/index.html
Charges Bank of America with Discriminating Against Homebuyers
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that
it is charging Bank of America with discriminating against homebuyers
with disabilities. HUD alleges that Bank of America imposed unnecessary
and burdensome requirements on borrowers who relied on disability
income to qualify for their home loans and required some disabled
borrowers to provide physician statements to qualify for home mortgage
loans. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in
the terms and conditions of a loan to an individual based on a disability,
including imposing different application or qualification criteria,
and makes it illegal to inquire about the nature or severity of
a disability except in limited circumstances not applicable here.
Jersey’s Anti-Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Law
Christie signed the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act”, P.L. 2010,
Chapter 122, into law on January 5, 2011. It became effective on
September 1, 2011. It amends and supplements the 2003 New Jersey
Bullying Law, and aims to forge a statewide and systemic approach
to harassment and bullying that involves students, parents, teachers,
administrators, and the community at large. It applies to all public
elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools. The goal of the
new amendments is to increase prevention, reporting and responsiveness
to incidents by requiring the adoption of policy prohibiting harassment,
intimidation and bullying on school property, at a school sponsored
function, on a school bus, or off school grounds. It requires that
staff report any allegations of bullying, requires that schools
provide training and that they comply with strict guidelines for
investigations. On January 27, 2012, the Council on Local Mandates
held a hearing on the Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying statute
to determine whether it constituted an unfunded mandate on school
districts. Additional information can be found at:
or to access the DRNJ bulletin, go to publications
NJ's Special Needs Housing Trust Fund Campaign
15, 2012, the Renew NJ's Special Needs Housing Trust Fund Campaign
began with a meeting of more than 130 people in Trenton. After being
the catalyst for 2,000 units of community housing that made independent
living a possibility for 3,000 people with disabilities and creating
many NJ jobs for people in housing development, the SNHTF has depleted
its resources. Join the "Renew NJ's SNHTF Campaign" and
find out how we can work together to renew funding for supportive
housing. It is only by working together that we can secure a permanent
funding stream for this crucial funding stream for supportive housing.
have not already endorsed this campaign, we encourage you to do
so today by clicking here http://www.snhtf.org/organizational-endorsement/
of Education Issues ADA Amendments Act Dear Colleague Letter to
Provide Guidance Under Amended Legal Standards
The Department of Education's
Office for Civil Rights issued a Dear Colleague letter concerning
the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act. The letter and
accompanying Frequently Asked Questions document provide additional
guidance on the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities
Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in elementary and
secondary schools, given the changes to those laws made by the Amendments
You can view the press
release and letter at http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/department-education-issues-ada-amendments-act-dear-colleague-letter-provide-gui
Helpline for Travelers with Disabilities
Security Administration (TSA) announced the launch of TSA Cares
today, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities
and medical conditions, prior to getting to the airport. Travelers
may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787 2227 prior to traveling
with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to
expect at the security checkpoint. Please see the below links regarding
this new service
A Comment from Joe Young, Executive Director of DRNJ About the Recent
many years ago, New Jersey’s P&A received a call from a parent
who said that her child with Down Syndrome was being denied a heart
transplant by a New Jersey hospital. The initial report to our office
was that individuals with cognitive impairments were disqualified
from receiving transplants. If my memory is correct, it took just
one phone call to get agreement that individuals with cognitive
disabilities were not categorically disqualified from receiving
While not categorically ineligible, the individual would still have
to satisfy the clinical criteria for the procedure. It is possible
that a person's existing disability may make it more difficult to
meet appropriate clinical criteria. For example, guidelines for
heart transplants have excluded individuals with some forms of cancer
or who are receiving cancer treatments. Active alcohol or (legal)
substance abuse usually will preclude a liver transplant.
Most, if not all, transplant guidelines require the individual to
be able to comply with immunosuppression protocols. At its simplest,
this means the ability to take multiple medications according to
fixed schedules, or as needed, and the ability to report changing
symptoms to a responsible heath care provider. This was the issue
that was raised many years ago, and it appears to be the crux of
the current controversy.
It is clearly impermissible to assume that everyone with a cognitive
or communications impairment cannot meet the requirements of a post-transplant
protocol, especially considering services and supports that may
be available from family and other caretakers. It is possible, however,
that someone with no capacity to communicate would not meet the
clinical criteria. It is also possible that someone with a severe
mental illness may be irreparably resistant to a medication regime
despite the best efforts of family and other supports.
It is my belief that the NJ Law Against Discrimination and the Americans
with Disabilities Act already preclude categorical discrimination
against individuals with disabilities in all medical care, including
access to transplants. I do not believe that special legislation
is needed. In fact, special legislation covering only transplants
may give the incorrect impression that discrimination in other aspects
of health care is permitted.
Even if an individual is denied a transplant based on the failure
to meet the clinical criteria, I believe an aggrieved individual
would be able to challenge criteria that are not clinically necessary
and have a discriminatory impact. The individual would also be able
to challenge what they believe is an incorrect determination that
they do not meet a clinical criteria for the transplant.
Both preventing discrimination and access to health care are priorities
of DRNJ, which would allow DRNJ staff to assist individuals who
believe that they have experienced disability-based discrimination
in accessing and receiving health care.
COST Published Report
the New Jersey Council on Special Transportation (NJCOST) published
a report "Stranded in New Jersey: Community Transportation...A
Service in Financial
Crisis". This report describes alternative community transportation
funding in a time of declining revenue.
the report, go to http://www.njcost.com/2012%20info/2012%20NJ%20White%20Paper%202nd.pdf
Arc Launches Sibling Project with New Partnership
The Arc announced a new
partnership with the national Sibling Leadership Network (SLN) and
formed The Arc’s National Sibling Council to foster the active involvement
of siblings of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
(I/DD). The sibling relationship is unique and siblings are critical
to ensuring the full inclusion and participation of their loved
ones in all aspects of life. The partnership with SLN and the National
Sibling Council will connect siblings with each other and offer
them opportunities to impact policy, service delivery and the quality
of life for millions of Americans with I/DD through specialized
programming, events and opportunities to connect.
For more information,
go to http://www.siblingleadership.org/join-sln/
Parenting Education and Support Group for Mothers With Psychiatric
Disabilities Research Study
The Temple University
(TU) Collaborative on Community Inclusion has launched a new research
study examining the effectiveness of an Internet parenting education
and social support program for mothers with a psychiatric disability.
The TU Collaborative is looking for women who are interested in
participating in an online parental education course designed to
enhance parental knowledge and skills in the following areas: illness
management, child development, stress reduction, parent-child communication,
and promoting resiliency in your child.
This program also involves
Internet social support through a Listserv, which will be co-moderated
by a parent with a psychiatric disability and a mental health professional.
This group can connect you 24-hours a day, 7-days a week to a community
of supportive peers, in your own home or anywhere you can access
the Internet. Participants will be compensated up to $100 for their
participation in this study.
If you want to participate
or would like more information, please send an email to the following
Apps for People with Brain Injury
Almost everyday we hear of new smartphone applications ("apps")
developed for just about everything - from staying organized to
hearing better in noisy environments. The
BrainLine team sifted through many resources to collect this list
of Android apps that could be useful to people with a brain injury
- and their families and caregivers.
To access the list, click
Injury Resource Website
Reid-Arndt, chair and assistant professor of health psychology in
the University of Missouri School of Health Professions, has launched
a resource for people to understand traumatic brain injuries. Developed
through a collaboration with the Missouri Department of Health and
Senior Services, the website is designed specifically for people
who, in their professional lives, may come in contact with people
who have suffered brain trauma (e.g. police officers, social workers,
Brain Injury Guide and Resources are available at http://braininjuryeducation.com.
If you have questions, please contact Lori Brenneke at Lori.Brenneke@health.mo.gov
Adopts Policy Encouraging Expansion of Home and Community Based
Services as a Viable Long Term Care Option
August ABA Annual Meeting the ABA House of Delegates approved the
following as official ABA policy:
Policy Proposal 106A August 2011
RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges Congress, and
all federal, state and territorial administrative bodies to continue
efforts to expand the availability of home and community based services
(HCBS) as a viable long term option by:
1. Making HCBS a mandatory service under Medicaid available to anyone
who would otherwise qualify for institutional long-term care.
2. Providing comparable financial eligibility standards and procedures
for nursing home care and HCBS.
3. Permanently mandating Medicaid spousal impoverishment protections
for spouses of HCBS enrollees, as already exist for spouses of institutional
4. Allowing Medicaid enrollees to retain sufficient income to pay
their reasonable living expenses in the community.
5. Initiating and expanding other HCBS efforts to help people with
disabilities of all ages to live with dignity in the community.
Comments Regarding the Comprehensive Medicaid Waiver Concept Paper
submitted comments to the Department of Human Services regarding
the Comprehensive Medicaid Waiver Concept Paper. To access a copy
of the comments in pdf format, click
Fact Sheet Translated into Multiple Languages
of faculty, staff and trainees of the USC University Center for
Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (USC UCEDD) at Childrens
Hospital Los Angeles have translated the CDC “Learn the Signs. Act
Early” Autism Fact Sheet into multiple languages to reach underserved
populations in CA. The Autism Fact Sheet provides a one-page tool
for clinicians to share with families, to raise awareness about
developmental delay, which may be related to autism or other developmental
disabilities. The Autism Fact Sheet is available in Arabic, Armenian,
Farsi, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog,
Thai, and Vietnamese from http://uscucedd.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=455&Itemid=426.
You can also contact Cary Kreutzer, MPH, RD at email@example.com
to obtain copies or if you have any questions. English and Spanish
versions of the fact sheet are available from the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/downloads.html.
Developmental Center Closure Information and Testimony
Christie's proposed budget includes the closure of Vineland Developmental
Center. The Department of Human Services released information regarding
the planned closure. Click
here to see the Department's information.
17, 2011, Joseph B. Young, DRNJ's Executive Director, provided written
testimony to the joint legislative committee of the New Jersey Legislature
regarding the closure of Vineland Developmental Center. To access
a copy of the testimony, click
Department's New ADA Rules
regulations implementing the ADA will take effect on March 15, 2011,
the Department of Justice announced. The revised rules are the department’s
first major revision of its guidance on accessibility in 20 years.
The department is also releasing a new document, “ADA Update: A
Primer for Small Business,” to help small businesses understand
the new and updated accessibility requirements. In addition, the
department is announcing the release of a new publication explaining
when the various provisions of its amended regulations will take
effect. Both documents are available on the department’s ADA website,
Department Settles ADA Lawsuit
Department has reached a settlement with Inova Health System to
ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf or
hard of hearing in the provision of medical services. The agreement,
under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation
Act, resolves a complaint that Inova failed to provide sign language
interpreters to an expectant mother and others who are deaf and
need interpreters to communicate effectively with health care providers.
interested in finding out more about this settlement or hospitals’
effective communication obligations under the ADA may call the Justice
Department’s toll-free ADA information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383
(TDD), or access its ADA website at www.ada.gov.
Education Lawsuit Seeks to Redress Systematic Discriminatory Practices
Involving More than 95 Children
2, 2011, Disability Rights New Jersey announced that it intends
to join a lawsuit filed against the Dumont, New Jersey Public School
District for systematic discrimination against children with special
the press release, click
to DOE from NJ Immigration Policy Network
joined a long list of education and children’s advocates encouraging
the acting Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Education
to take steps to ensure that the state’s local school districts
are not denying enrollment to immigrant and undocumented students.
Despite federal and state law guaranteeing access to the classroom
for undocumented students, a previous survey found that more than
a third of New Jersey’s local school districts continued to require
proof of citizenship before registering a child.
the letter, click