Reason to Hope in NJ as State to Propose Stipend for Families Caring for the Developmentally Disabled
Posted Mar 21 2011 11:42pm
"International Year of the Disabled Person"
The Star Ledger reports that in the midst of group home waiting lists populated with thousands of developmentally disabled adults, New Jersey is on the verge of proposing help–in the form of at least $10,000 per year, perhaps $15,000, for families to “take care of their disabled children on their own.”
The waiting list for group home admission is said to top 8,000 each year with waits as long as 10 years for entrance.
The Star Ledger reports that in New Jersey
There are 8,840 people with developmental disabilities in 2,200 state-licensed homes, according to the state. About 8,000 more are on a waiting list to get into group homes or receive services designed to meet their needs. Because of budget cuts, in some years 100 people on the list have moved into homes.
According to the state, a group home costs approximately $120,000 per year to operate. With 8,840 in 2,200 homes, that comes out to roughly $30,000 per person.
The proposal will require federal approval, as Medicaid supplies funding for the need of the developmentally disabled. In this case, the federal government would be expected to provide approximately $45 million in matching funds.
The Star Ledger writes
Christie administration officials say the state would still try to build group housing for the developmentally disabled, but the payment would help families acquire services such as part-time aides, pay for summer camp or buy vehicles with wheelchair access. Families could also pool their funds to set up housing arrangements on their own rather than wait for a state-sponsored group home to open.
When only half of those in need are provided with what they need, and waits exceed 10 years to fill that need– the word “crisis” is not hyperbole. Anyone raising children can relate to demands– even, or perhaps more so, after those children have reached the age of majority. But families caring for the developmentally disabled are called upon to meet needs that often border (if not surpass) the heroic. And although money doesn’t solve everything, anyone who has been without knows it can help. Putting the access to services that money can buy into the hands of those struggling to provide for their children is a good step in the right direction.