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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?
Congregate Day Programs
The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) has closed all in-person congregate day service facilities until further notice due to increased community spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey.
The Division will provide at least two weeks' notice once a reopening date is identified.
This temporary closure applies to the following congregate day services, both facility-based and those typically provided in an outdoors setting: Career Planning, Community Inclusion, Day Habilitation, Prevocational Training-Group, and Supported Employment-Group.
Individuals can continue to receive modified services (e.g. virtual), per DDD's updated Temporary Service Modifications guidance.
In-person one-to-one (non-congregate) services can continue so long as individual/guardian agree and proper precautions are taken to reduce COVID-19 infection.
When congregate day services re-open, the reopening criteria previously distributed by the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities will be used.
For more information refer to DDD's announcement on the temporary closure of congregate day services.
All sheltered workshops, which provide employment, job, and skills training to people with disabilities, are currently closed. However, each program has provided a reopening plan, which is being reviewed by the Department of Labor.
In August, Governor Murphy announced the State will provide CARES Act funding for the reopening of all 26 Sheltered Workshop programs throughout the state.
Each provider will be able to apply for up to $25,000 for the initial reopening with funds allocated toward eligible reopening costs like social distancing, intensified cleaning, personal protective equipment, and providing remote opportunities.
Visitation Policies at Group Homes
Visitors can meet with loved ones in both indoor and outdoor settings at group homes so long as individuals and facilities adhere to the required social distancing and safety protocols issued by the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities.
Safety guidelines for visits with family and friends for residential providers include:
- All visits must be scheduled in advance with the residential provider.
- No more than two visitors shall be permitted at any one time.
- Indoor visits within a residence may only occur when there have been no residents or staff of the home who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 28 consecutive days or are currently displaying symptoms.
- Outdoor visits may only occur when it has been at least 14 days since a resident or staff of the home tested positive for COVID-19 and no residents or staff of the home are currently displaying symptoms.
- All visitors must be screened, including temperature checks.
- 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 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) within the last 14 days with someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19
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.
Note: Beginning November 5, employers must adhere to new employee protection guidelines, summarized here. Detailed requirements, as well as exemptions for certain employers, can be found in Executive Order No. 192.
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.
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.
On December 15, the State of New Jersey began administering vaccines to individuals in Phase 1A: paid and unpaid healthcare workers as well as residents and staff of long-term care facilities.
The Phase 1A definition of health care workers includes Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) in the State's Developmental Centers and IDD group homes, day programs, and Self-Directed Employees in private homes.
In addition, the Division is working with the Department of Health to ensure that residents in group homes, which are considered high-risk congregate settings, receive vaccinations.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine distribution process or to register to receive your vaccine if you are eligible, visit covid19.nj.gov/vaccine
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