SPAN The Bridge Newsletter pictorial graphic.  Your weekly access to SPAN news, resources and events.

December 14, 2022 | Issue 57 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

Important News

Decorative image

Celebrating International Day of Disability

By shoring up our resources to amplify the voices and bolster the work of those fighting for the rights of children with disabilities globally, this legislation represents a significant step forward in advancing disability rights and achieving lasting reform. – Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)


Children with disabilities deserve a place in society where they are respected, loved, and treated with basic human dignity. This legislation helps protect the most vulnerable children around the globe and gives them opportunities to succeed by keeping them out of harmful institutions and supporting their families.

Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)

Millions of children with disabilities around the world are placed in institutions and left to grow up without the love and support of a family.

The vast majority have a parent or extended family member -- who would keep their children if they had the support to do so. People with disabilities and their family members are eager to bring about change in their societies to ensure that children with disabilities can live and grow up with their families.

The bipartisan International Children with Disabilities Protection Act, which was introduced by Senators Menendez and Moran, with additional co-sponsors, seeks to bolster U.S. support for children with disabilities and to support activists and reformers who work on their behalf. 


Panel members at the International Day of Disability briefing included:

  • Isabel Hodge, Executive Director, US International Council on Disability;
  • The Honorable Judy Heumann, former Assistant Secretary for Education for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and former State Department Special Advisor on International Disability Rights.
  • Leonardo Hosh, Vice President for Child Protection and Education, World Vision, and
  • Diana Autin, Executive Co-Director, SPAN Parent Advocacy Network, Executive Director, National Center for Parent Leadership, Advocacy and Community Empowerment.

View the video of the briefing here

"Parents of children with disabilities and special healthcare needs in the US are served by federally-funded Parent Centers and Family to Family Health Information Centers that help them understand their rights and advocate for their children. Parent Centers and F2Fs are examples of how a small investment in parents of children with disabilities can improve their lives. This funding will make a world of difference for parents of children with disabilities - and children, youth, and young adults with disabilities themselves - and help them ensure that their children have a brighter future." -

Diana Autin,

Executive Co-Director, SPAN

Hear Diana Autin's full remarks about 50 minutes into the recording!


Decorative image

"Vaccines Protect Me" - New Resources for Children and Families in Multiple Languages

The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities has developed new resources for children and their parents, in light of the triple surge of viruses everyone is dealing with. These materials promote and explain the benefits of following the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule as well as for COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Boggs Center, as New Jersey’s federally designated University Center for Excellence, was able to develop these materials with support from the American Recovery Act funding, through the Administration for Community Living of the US Department of Health & Human Services.

Fact sheets are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Portuguese, and Tagalog and a poster is available in English and Spanish.


Download Fact Sheets or Poster here


This funding stream also made it possible for The Boggs Center to collaborate with the New Jersey Department of Health by translating the “Vaccines Protect Me!” Activity Book developed by their Vaccine Preventable Disease Program into 5 languages. This resource provides children with a fun and engaging way to learn about the importance of vaccines in preventing illness and disease.

Download the "Vaccines Protect Me!" activity book here in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Portuguese, and Tagalog.

Peg Kinsell Named to School Staffing Shortage Task Force

Image of Peg Kinsell

Many teachers have either retired or left the profession due to the stresses of the pandemic and other hardships, and the pipeline of new educators is shrinking. On Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced appointees to serve on a task force to address school staffing shortages. Peg Kinsell, SPAN Policy Director, will be a member of the task force.

The group will have less than two months to recommend ways to increase the number of teachers and support staff in the state’s public schools. It will address long- and short-term solutions and suggest ways to recruit and retain school staff.

The group will be chaired by Dennis Zeveloff, the governor's chief policy advisor, and Christopher Huber, special assistant to the acting education commissioner, will represent the NJ Department of Education.

Other members include:

  • David Aderhold, superintendent of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District;
  • Karen Bingert, head of the state New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association;
  • Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden) chair of the Assembly Education Committee;
  • Debra Jennings, Education Committee, New Jersey NAACP State Conference
  • Harry Lee, head of the New Jersey Charter School Association;
  • Silvia Pereira, a Newark Public School teacher;
  • Sean Spiller, president of the New Jersey Education Association,

The task force will also include school board representatives, an assistant principal, a paraprofessional, and teachers.

Read the Executive Order establishing the task force here

Register here to view a NJ Spotlight News webinar "Is Teaching in Trouble?" on December 15, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Upcoming Events

SPAN offers a variety of learning opportunities for families and the professionals who work with them.

Highlighted Event This Week

New Jersey Paid Leave Train the Trainer

December 21, 2022

12:00 - 1:30 PM

Did you know that you can use your Earned Sick Leave to...

  • Attend preventative or wellness care visits;
  • Attend an IEP or other school meeting;
  • Care for people who are like family but to whom you may not be related?

And that Paid Family leave is available for longer leaves for caregiving to...

  • Care for any loved one who is like family, as long as you have a doctor certify their condition,
  • Care for a loved one on an intermittent basis as needed,
  • And much, much more!

In collaboration with New Jersey Citizen Action, SPAN is offering an opportunity to learn more about Paid Leave Options in New Jersey. Our goal is to spread the word so that as many eligible employees learn about these benefits and can access them. Participants will receive a detailed overview of NJ Paid Leave along with access to information and resources to share with colleagues, family-serving organizations and others.

The first 25 people who register are eligible to receive a $50 stipend.

Register now by clicking here

See all of SPAN's upcoming events with details and registration links here 

Para recibir la edición en Español de este boletín semanalmente en su correo electrónico 

haga clic aquí para suscribirse
SPAN Youth Hub image

The Growth Zone

Getting too comfortable may keep you from growing or trying new things. Trying new dishes, places or hobbies can be part of growing and learning more about yourself. Read the latest youth blog post, "Growth Zone," to learn how to leave your comfort zone in the past.

Click here to read the blog

Share your SPAN testimonial story! CLICK HERE

Join the SPAN Team - View Open Positions here

Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn  Instagram