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New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities and Sussex County- Planning for the Future
Release Date: November 12, 2009

Stephen Gruchacz, Department Administrator
(973) 579-0559 ext. 1227

New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities and Sussex County- Planning for the Future

(Newton, NJ) The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and the Sussex County Department of Human Services recently partnered to host a Family Forum for individuals with developmental disabilities, along with their families/guardians. After months of planning, the Family Forum took place on October 28, 2009, at Willowglen Academy, Sparta, NJ. Individuals scheduled to attend included those near the top of DDD's Priority and Priority Deferred Community Services Waiting List (CSWL), as well as those enrolled in Real Life Choices (RLC) and Self-Determination (SD). Over 50 individuals attended, representing DDD, County government, provider agency representatives, advocates, family members and consumers. Attendees were eager to set short and long-term goals and utilize each other's resources and strengths to attain these goals.

Community services provided by DDD include financial assistance for at-home service options, respite care, job coaching, transportation and in-home supports. However, with the state's current economy, limited DDD funding and the long waiting lists for DDD community resources, many families have serious concerns relating to their loved ones future, when they are no longer able to care for them. Long-term planning emerged as a top priority among the discussions. DDD was clear in its limitations as a partner in the long-term care and emphasized that families need to be proactive in planning for their son or daughter's future.

A significant focus of this Forum was to foster various partnerships for example: DDD and families; DDD and county government; provider agencies and families; families partnering with other families in similar life situations. Both formal supports, such as non-profit and provider agencies, as well as informal supports, such as networking with parents & community groups, were encouraged to be utilized by the families.

Parents and guardians were given information on how to access state and local programs including obtaining financial assistance, housing, energy assistance, etc. Human Services Resource Guides were distributed and special needs trust funds were explained.

DDD and Sussex County government will be planning follow-up meetings with these families in continuing to plan for the future of their loved ones.

For additional information, please contact Christine Florio, Sussex County Department of Human Services at cflorio@sussex.nj.us or 973-948-6000 ext 226.

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A program of the
135 Morris Turnpike, Newton, N.J. 07860
Office Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Phone 973-948-6000 Fax 973-948-6664

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