The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute provides caregivers with the necessary resources and education to access the appropriate supports and services for their loved one with an intellectual and developmental disability.
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Governmental Affairs Update
The Arc of New Jersey is happy to report that the revised Fiscal Year 2021 Budget signed by Governor Murphy on September 29, 2020, includes $40 million to increase wages for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) while also avoiding any cuts to services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To read our Budget update, click here.
In legislative news, two bills impacting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities were advanced by the Senate and the Assembly last month, and they now await action by the Governor. This includes: 

S2517/A4208 – the bill aims to reform the state's system of providing paratransit services. Its goal is to provide more efficient transportation services for individuals with I/DD and it requires the establishment of a best practices pilot training program for paratransit providers. The bill is based on a successful transportation model spearheaded by The Arc Mercer. The Arc of New Jersey testified in support of the legislation when it was voted on in Committee.  

S864/A1978 – this bill limits the use of single-use plastic bags and paper bags. While the legislation was still making its way through the Senate and the Assembly, The Arc of New Jersey reached out to the bill sponsors to emphasize the importance of plastic straws for individuals with I/DD who depend on them for hydration. We urged legislators to amend the bill to ensure restaurants maintain a supply of plastic straws and that they are available upon request for patrons who need them in order to drink. The bill was amended to reflect our concern. If signed, the law will go into effect in 18 months. 

Governor Murphy will now decide whether to sign the bills into law, veto them entirely, or conditionally veto them. A conditional veto means the Governor objects to parts of a bill and he proposes amendments that would make it acceptable. If the Legislature re-enacts the bill with the recommended amendments, it is presented again to the Governor for signature. 
On the federal level, The Arc of New Jersey continues to urge members of Congress to support people with I/DD and their families in any future COVID relief bill. Click here to view the most recent action alerts from The Arc of the United States.
Survey for Parents of Special Education Students

The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute has developed a 4-minute survey for parents of students who receive special education services. We understand that this is an extremely difficult time for everyone, but families with school-aged children in particular, are facing important decisions about their child's safety and education. The goal of this survey is to hear directly from parents about their children's return to school, priority of services, and how students are responding to the sudden changes in their education. The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute will continue to advocate for children with disabilities and their families, and your response to this survey will help ensure that these families' voices are heard.
The Arc of the United States has developed plain language videos and documents to help people better understand COVID-19, the pandemic, and how people with disabilities are being affected. Check out the free material at thearc.org.
Census 2020

Deadline Extended to October 31st!
You can still complete your census online at 2020Census.gov
Census takers will be visiting homes who have not completed their census. Find out more about census takers HERE
EdgeUcation
Closed Schools Have To Serve Some Special Ed Students In Person, Experts Say

“He doesn’t want to pay attention to Zoom,” she said of her son. “He doesn’t want to sit down and stare at his iPad... I have to keep telling him to stop messing with the screen. He’s also a 6-year-old little boy, so he doesn’t want to sit still anyway.”

At school, her son had a special education aide who knew how to get him to focus and who fueled his drive to learn. Now the aide interacts with him via Zoom, but it’s not the same, Menard said.
New Office of Special Education Programs(OSEP) Q&A
In response to frequent inquiries regarding IDEA Part B provisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the OSEP has released an updated Q&A document to reflect concerns raised by parents and educators. This document addresses the following:

  • Having IEPs ready to start the year and ensuring parent participation
  • How to use IEP amendments
  • How to provide missed ESY
  • Initial evaluation timelines
  • IEP timelines
  • Conducting reevaluations
Kids Corner
Sesame Street Video Teaches Children with Autism About Wearing a Mask
"Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind 'Sesame Street,' is hoping to help through a new collection of videos and resources designed to help children with autism and their families cope with adjusting to life during the coronavirus epidemic.
The collection, released on September 21, stars Julia, the 4-year-old Sesame Street muppet with autism, and helps autistic kids work through difficult concepts like social distancing, disrupted routines and mask wearing."
via USA Today

DD Training Resources is an online database, funded by a grant from The NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities and run by The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute. It provides a wide range of information about trainings and support resources for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families throughout the State of New Jersey.
We welcome your feedback on our new DD Training Resources website!
Mission to Transition
Planning for Adult Life is Offering Free MAPS Classes for the Fall!
The Planning for Adult Life Program is pleased to offer live virtual Making Action Plans sessions for high school students in special education. These "live" online classes will begin the week of September 14 and run through December 18.
Each class will last 50 minutes and include:
  • 5-minute ice-breaker activity
  • 5-minute review of the prior lesson
  • 25-minute skill-building (presentation of skill, discussion, and student practice)
  • 10-minute game playing/interactive activity
  • 5-minute feedback and assignment of generalization activity outside of the session.
Navigating the System
DDD to Accept Applications via Email

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Division of Developmental Disabilities will allow individuals to submit eligibility applications via email. The announcement was made on September 17th during their bi-weekly COVID-19 update, which can be viewed HERE.

Applicants must scan the completed application and email it to DDD.NJApply@dhs.nj.gov. The subject line format must be as follows:
"Intake application - applicant initials - applicant county of residence."
Free Webinars From The Family Institute
Upcoming Webinars

  • October 19th, 6:00pm - Finding Support as an Adult Sibling - REGISTER

  • November 5th, 12:00pm - Addressing Barriers to Oral Health and Healthcare for Adults with I/DD in New Jersey: Five-Year Plan - REGISTER
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The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute | 732.828.2022 | thefamilyinstitute@arcnj.org