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

Last Updated: 10/14/2021

Congregate Day Programs

Congregate day programs have been directed to reopen at full capacity provided they meet all the requirements in the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities' congregate day program re-opening requirements.

Program providers may elect to limit capacity for a period of time before moving to full enrollment and or enact additional protocols based on the health needs of participants.

Safety requirements for re-opening include:

  • All individuals, staff, contracted professionals, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must be cleared for admittance to the facility through screening, including temperature checks.
  • All staff, regardless of vaccination status, must continue to wear a well-fitted face mask when working, unless doing so would create a risk to workplace health, safety or job duty as assessed by the employer, and physically distance (as appropriate for the care of residents) when working with participants and other staff.
  • If all participants and staff in a group are fully vaccinated, participants and staff may choose to remove their mask and may have close contact with others in the group without a mask.
  • All individual program participants who are not fully vaccinated shall be encouraged by the staff to wear a well-fitted face mask. This guidance recognizes that some individual program participants may not tolerate wearing face coverings or it may not be medically advisable for them to wear one.
  • Group sizes shall no longer be limited but is recommended to be 15 or fewer individuals and that, to the extent practicable, that the same group composition be maintained.
  • Individuals (regardless of vaccination status) transported by the day services provider shall be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to entering the vehicle and conduct temperature screen prior to entering the vehicle. The driver or other program staff can deny transportation to a day program if the individual is demonstrating symptoms.
  • Visitation in the center shall be limited during operating hours to those that are essential to operations (maintenance or repair services, prospective admissions, prospective employees, planning team meetings, etc.). Routine or annual meetings shall take place virtually when possible and appropriate.

For a full list of safety requirements, refer to the Division's congregate day program re-opening requirements.

COVID-19 Vaccination Update

Everyone 12 or older who lives, works, or studies in New Jersey is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Click here for more information on where and how to get vaccinated.

NOTE: For all vaccinations, consent from a parent or guardian is required for minors.

As of April 28, 2021, CVS and Walgreens completed their last rounds of vaccination clinics as part of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care (LTC) Program.

Through this partnership, New Jersey administered over 145,000 doses to residents and over 127,000 doses to staff at nearly 1,200 long-term care facilities - including nursing homes, the State's three veterans memorial homes, federal senior housing, all five Developmental centers, and some I/DD group homes.

In addition, through a supplemental federal partnership with Walmart for residents and staff at I/DD group homes not included in the Federal Pharmacy Partnership, over 5,500 residents and staff have been fully vaccinated as of March 22, 2021.

Visitation Policies at Group Homes

Indoor, outdoor and off-site visits must be offered by residential providers for residents who elect to engage in them, including residential programs for persons with Traumatic Brain Injury.

For detailed guidance, refer to the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities' guidance for residential providers on visits with family and friends.

Indoor Visits

Indoor visitation must be permitted so long as no residents have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days, no residents in the home are currently symptomatic of COVID-19 infection, and no staff have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

Outdoor Visits

Outdoor visits must be permitted, weather permitting, when indoor visits are not possible.

Off-Site Visits

Off-site visits with a family member or friend, whether for a few hours or overnight, must be permitted for residents who are not currently positive of or symptomatic for COVID-19. Fully vaccinated residents do not have to isolate upon return unless they were a close contact to a suspected or confirmed case. A resident who is unvaccinated/not fully vaccinated does not have to isolate upon return to the residential setting unless he or she, or the person returning them from their visit, report exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If this is the case, a 14 day quarantine period is required.

Face Coverings

For indoor and outdoor visits, fully vaccinated residents and their fully vaccinated visitors are not required to wear a mask or socially distance when alone during their visit. Visitors should wear a well-fitted mask and physically distance from other staff/residents/visitors with whom they are not visiting.

If the visitors or residents being visited with are not fully vaccinated then the visitors are to wear a well-fitting face mask. The resident is to wear a well-fitting face mask as tolerated/medically advisable.

All staff, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a well-fitted face mask and physically distance (as appropriate for the care of residents) when working with staff and residents. Fully vaccinated staff can elect not to wear a mask when outdoors if the residents in the group they are working with are fully vaccinated.

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

Testing

Beginning the week of April 27, 2020, 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, 2020, 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.

Sheltered Workshops

The 26 Sheltered Workshop Extended Employment (EE) programs located across New Jersey re-opened between late September and November of 2020. CARES Act Funding was provided to EE programs totaling over $600,000 during the months of November through December of 2020.

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; https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20200902a.shtml; Commissioner Persichilli's Remarks 3/22/21