Dear Families and Self-Advocates,
Governor Murphy delivered his annual Budget Address yesterday afternoon and we're very pleased to report that the funding blueprint he outlined includes approximately $100 million in new monies within the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). This is a tremendous commitment to our community and an important recognition of the needs of those we represent. In light of the financial difficulties facing the state brought about by COVID, we are especially appreciative that the Governor and his Administration heard our advocacy calls and prioritized people with I/DD in the proposed State Budget. $100 million is a significant investment in our service delivery system, particularly at this incredibly challenging period of time.
Specifically, the budget includes within the Department of Human Services:
$41.7 million to raise Direct Support Professional (DSP) wages. This money will also go toward raising the wages of managers and senior level staffers. As New Jersey is scheduled to raise minimum wage every year through 2024, it's critical that DSP wages stay ahead of minimum wage.
$57 million to continue the supplemental payments for residential providers. With day habilitation programs closed because of COVID, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live in residential settings have received most if not all of their services at their home. This has put an increased pressure on providers and this extra funding ensures providers have the necessary staffing and resources to support residents during the public health crisis. This proposed funding would be available through December 2021 and is based on how long the public health crisis remains in place.
In the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Governor's proposed budget includes funding to rebalance rates for providers supporting children served by DCF's Children's System of Care. We are working to get more details and specific on this item and other portions of the budget to better understand how the proposed funding will impact those we represent.
In the meantime, we thank everyone who took the time to participate in action alerts and make your voice heard. Your participation in the Budget process is crucial as we advocate for funding to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and the workforce they depend on. Please know how important your role is in this process and we hope you will continue advocating alongside us as our budget advocacy continues through the end of June. Keep an eye out for upcoming action alerts and other ways to make your voice heard in the weeks and months ahead as the Legislature holds budget hearings and Department Commissioners provide deeper insights into the funding priorities.
Thank you again for all your hard work and support.