Mt Bethel Village. Autism Housing in New Jersey
Autism Awareness and Beyond – Presented by Kelly Adams, Loretta Kaes and Carolann Garafola.
The State New Jersey through the Department of Human Services Division and its Developmental Disabilities Division is a primary source of help that families can access. The first thing that families need to do is:
1 RegisterRegister with your state’s Developmental Disabilities Agency, read on-line and go to the office for a one-on-one meeting with a counselor; start with this website: http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/
2 ConditionsConditions that might be considered a developmental disability include: intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, spina bifida, traumatic brain injuries and certain neurological impairments.
3 ApplyIn order to receive services funded by DDD, a family must apply and the process can be lengthy and time consuming in completing the paperwork and application. While your child is still in school, it is imperative that the parent(s) begin this process. Ask you school district’s case manager to help you and keep a log on all phone calls, requests to DDD and send requests in writing.
Criteria for acceptance by DDD requires that your child has a severe, chronic physical and/or mental impairment that manifests itself in the developmental years and before age 22. There must be substantial limits in three of life’s activities from such categories as in self-care; learning, mobility, communication, self-direction, self-sufficiency and the ability to live totally independently. Your child also must be a legal resident of the USA and a legal resident of New Jersey.
Wherever you live in New Jersey, there are Community Services Offices that cover the 21 Counties in our State. You can locate your nearest office from the following website: http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/ddd/staff/cso/index.html. What you need to find out is if a particular office covers the service you need. For Example, Somerset County Office covers Case Management ONLY at 275 Greenbrook Road, 2nd Floor, Green Brook, NJ 08812, Phone: (732) 424-3301
The various services include Case Management, Day Services, Residential Services and Family Support Services. They are described as:
Case Management ServicesCase management services help individuals learn about and gain access to any services that can help address their needs. These include, but are not limited to, Medicaid Waiver and Medicaid State Plan services as well as medical, social, educational, county and municipal services. and/or information and referral services to everyone who is eligible to receive the services it funds. DDD funds three types of services for people who reside in the community.
Day ServicesDay Services are available, depending on the slots that are open in various agencies and programs and depending on the appropriateness of those settings. A person with a disability may want to look at a setting with regular employment, a traditional day program that meets five days a week, a special needs day program, a self-directed day program, a combination of part-time employment and a traditional program, a combination of part-time employment and a self-directed day program, a combination of a traditional day program and self-directed activities. Unfortunately, the choices may be limited depending on where you live in New Jersey. Go to this website for further information: http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/ddd/services/day/index.html. Mt. Bethel Village’s Self-Directed Day Program has made application to DDD and it has come under review for approval once a CO has been obtained for the building, opening in late October, early November. Applications for the Day Program attendees are now under consideration for those adults with moderate to high functioning capabilities on the autism spectrum, with developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injury.
Residential ServicesResidential Services include individual supports that assist an individual living at home or elsewhere in the community. Some residential options that may be offered and funded by DDD for an individual may include: Group homes – in which individuals share a home with no more than three other residents and receives services from staff that is on-site 24-hours a day. Community Care Home – in which an individual lives as part of the family of a caretaker and receives assistance from that person and/or from an agency on a routine basis. Supportive Housing – in which an individual leases his or her own apartment and receives services on an as-needed basis either in person or through phone contact up to a total of 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Supervised apartments – in which an individual lives alone or with a roommate in an apartment that is leased or owned by a provider agency, which also employs staff that is available to serve the individual 24-hours a day. Mt. Bethel Village will offer semi-independent apartment living for adults in a complex that is under construction in Warren Township with 24/7 supervision on site. However, Mt. Bethel Village is not a provider agency as this is a private living facility. Intakes are in process and residents have been accepted into Mt. Bethel Village. There are 8,000 persons with developmental disabilities in New Jersey awaiting residential placement, thus those who are on the waiting list may wait years for placement.
Family SupportFamily Support Services are generally offered in all regions of the state such as respite, camp, Assistive Technology Devices; and home and vehicle modifications. If you do want to modify your home, you should check with your municipality to see if they have passed an ordinance to allow you to apply for permits WITHOUT paying for construction fees. The State of New Jersey passed a law about 10 years ago to allow each town to pass such an ordinance waiving construction permit fees for residential homes that needed to be retrofitted for a special needs child or adult. For further information check out: http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/ddd/services/fss/index.html