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Are programs funded by the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities closed? What support is there for residents of Developmental Centers?

Last Updated: 06/26/2020

Closures

New Jersey has temporarily closed congregate day programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Division of Developmental Disabilities has issued guidance and published an FAQ document on day program closures and discontinued community outings related to COVID-19.

Visitation

To protect residents against the spread of COVID-19, visitors are not permitted within group homes. However, visitors may meet with loved ones in designated areas outside of the group home.

The Division has issued safety guidelines for visits with family and friends for residential providers for outdoor visits including:

  • All participants must remain at least six feet apart
  • All participants must wear a face covering
  • After a visit in space controlled by the provider concludes, the provider shall clean and disinfect all areas and surfaces following CDC guidelines
  • No resident, current staff of the home or person(s) planning to visit have tested positive, been symptomatic for COVID-19 within the last 14 days, or been in close contact (within six feet for 10 minutes) within the last 14 days with someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19

For a full list of safety requirements, refer to the Divisions Guidance for Residential Providers on Visits with Family and Friends, and for specific visitation protocols contact the residential provider directly.

Support During Hospitalization

To better support individuals with disabilities during this public health crisis, in circumstances where support is essential, the Department of Health has made some accommodations during hospitalization.

  • A designated healthy support person is permitted to be with an individual with a disability during hospitalization. The designated support person may be a family member, personal care assistant or another disability service provider.
  • Healthy is defined as individuals with no signs of respiratory illness such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. They should not have had contact with anyone with or suspected of having COVID-19 or any respiratory illness and individuals should be wearing the appropriate protective equipment.

Testing

Beginning the week of April 27, the State started testing all residents and staff at all five State Residential Developmental Centers for COVID-19 using the new saliva-based testing developed by Rutgers University. As of May 20, Developmental Centers have completed testing in their facilities, and the Department of Health is now working together to improve access to testing in group homes.

The Division of Developmental Disabilities regularly publishes information about COVID-19 cases including deaths and numbers of cases by county. That information along with the latest updates from the Division can be found on the Department of Human Services' COVID-19 Updates page.

Source: https://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/news/press/2020/approved/20200318b.html| https://nj.gov/humanservices/ddd/resources/coronavirus.html; Governor Murphy's Remarks 4/23/20; NJ Health Commissioner Persichilli's Remarks 5/7/20; NJ Health Commissioner Persichilli's Remarks 5/20/20; https://nj.gov/humanservices/ddd/documents/COVID19-residential-screening-policy.pdf