Gov. Christie highlighted the state’s commitment to individuals with developmental disabilities in his announcement on the FY16 budget:
“Governor Christie has long spoken of the State’s moral imperative to recognize the individuality and unique needs of every New Jerseyan with a developmental disability or mental health issue. The Governor’s budget increases funding by $106 million of combined State and federal funding for community placements and related services.”
The current New Jersey waiting list includes thousands of individuals, many with autism. Autism Speaks and autism advocates across the state have worked hard to educate lawmakers on the importance of providing critical supports and services for the community.
“We are immensely grateful for the leadership of Senate President, Stephen Sweeney; Assembly Speaker, Vincent Prieto and Budget Committee Chairs, Senator Paul Sarlo and Assemblyman Gary Schaer who have helped make sure that more young adults with autism in the state will have access to the services they need, when they need them. While our community has a long way to go, this is a promising step forward and we are grateful to Gov. Chris Christie and the New Jersey legislature for their work to provide families in the community with the support they need to live happy, productive lives,” said Liz Feld, president of Autism Speaks. “We will continue to work closely with advocates and policymakers in New Jersey so that no family is left on a wait list for the critical services they need.”
The FY 2016 budget includes:
- $2m in housing vouchers for people with developmental disabilities;
- $3m in Community Services Waiting List Placements (the Legislature added this $3 million in addition to the $4 million in funding proposed by the Governor in February bringing the total to $7 million); and
- Funds to increase the hourly rate from $15.50 to $18.00 for all Medical Assistance Recipients - Personal Care.
The New Jersey housing and community living victories are in addition to the grants recently announced by Gov. Christie for persons with autism. This initiative will help improve health outcomes for children with autism in New Jersey.