Autism New Jersey Announces New Executive Director
May 14, 2013
Autism New Jersey is excited to announce Suzanne Buchanan as its new Executive Director. Dr. Suzanne Buchanan is a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst - Doctoral (BCBA-D). She has been a committed staff member and has provided the agency with clinical leadership for more than 10 years. Suzanne brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding to her new position.
“The Board of Trustees is both proud and pleased to have Dr. Buchanan as the Executive Director of Autism New Jersey. We are confident that under her leadership and guidance Autism New Jersey will continue flourish as New Jersey’s leading voice on behalf of all members of the autism community,” said Board President Jim Paone. “The Board looks forward to working with Suzanne and the wonderful staff at Autism New Jersey to achieve great things on behalf of all of those that the Agency serves.”
With nearly 20 years of experiences in the autism field, Suzanne has interests in family resilience, informed decision-making about autism intervention, and contributing to the development and implementation of state policies that impact the autism community and the professionals who support them.
“In the summer of 1993, I met a child with autism who changed my life - personally and professionally,” Suzanne reflected. “I was in awe of his and his family’s challenges and their resilience. They gave me my life’s work and passion. Now, as a psychologist, behavior analyst, statewide advocate, and Executive Director of Autism New Jersey, I will continue to do everything I can to empower families and professionals, increase access to evidence-based intervention, and enhance New Jersey’s public and private capacity to support individuals with autism.”
Governor Holds Special Breakfast for New Jersey Autism Community
April 11, 2013
Princeton, NJ -- Hosting an event to honor Autism Awareness Month at Drumthwacket on Thursday, April 11, 2013, Governor Chris Christie stated that he is personally committed to advocating for individuals with autism and their families in New Jersey. Accompanied by Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez, DDD Deputy Director Dawn Apgar and DCF Deputy Director for Programs and Services Jeffrey Guenzel, the Governor urged the autism community to be a 'united force' and to involve legislators in their advocacy to support needed programs.
Parents and advocates articulated the urgent needs of the autism community and emphasized the importance of enhancing the capacity of the adult service system. The Governor responded he is intimately aware of the problems and is actively working on systemic improvements. Commissioner Velez responded enthusiastically as audience members described their successful efforts developing employment opportunities and offered the support of the Department of Human Services. Concerns regarding educational services and after-school care were also raised. The Governor responded to each concern by explaining the context in which these systems operate and that he is working with his Cabinet to maximize the resources the State Budget affords. In addition to lamenting the State’s finite resources, the Governor expressed his frustration with the slow pace of educational reform and the lack of flexibility in how school districts are funded.
Autism New Jersey Directors Dr. Suzanne Buchanan and Bob Titus were among the invitees, along with former Autism New Jersey Board President, Dr. Michael Aquino, Board Member, James Grasselino and Autism New Jersey members and valued supporters Anthony Kelly and Kelly Milazzo.
Family Support Services via DDD -- Important Information for Families
Deadline for Service Continuation April 12, 2013
April 10, 2013
On January 22, 2013, The Division of Developmental Disabilities’ (DDD) eligibility regulations changed. These changes now require that individuals must become Medicaid eligible as a condition of continuation of DDD funded services. If an individual is receiving services through DDD and has not yet established eligibility through Medicaid, they must immediately do so or risk losing services.
Currently DDD will continue to fund all current on-going family support services through June 30, 2013. Families wishing to continue these services beyond June 30, 2013, must call their DDD contact which is either their DDD Case Manager or the Division of Disability Services (DDS), by this Friday, April 12, 2013. Approvals will be provided by June 21, 2013. Based on the new DDD Medicaid requirement, all requests for a Family Support service after June 30, 2013, will be approved based on a demonstrated level of need and all Medicaid eligibility requirements being met.
For more information and information on how to apply for Medicaid please click here.
There has been some confusion generated by the letter as families with children under 21 served by the Department of Children and Families through PerformCare believe that this pertains to them as well. It does not. If their child is under 21 and receiving services through the DCF Children's System of Care, they do not need to be calling DCF or Performcare to continue to receive services. This letter only pertains to individuals over 21 receiving family support services through DDD.
Governor's 2014 Budget Address Reinforces Commitment to Autism
March 11, 2013
Trenton, NJ -- In his 2014 Budget Address given to the Senate and Assembly on February 26, 2013, Governor Christie reaffirmed his commitment to the autism community and outlined several key funding provisions and announcements. Read more>>
Autism New Jersey Testifies at Insurance Committee Hearing
March 7, 2013
Trenton, NJ -- In response to community concerns about insurance carriers’ inconsistent compliance with provisions of the state-regulated healthcare plans, a hearing was convened by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee on Thursday, March 7, 2013. Committee Chair Gary Schaer, (D-36), Passaic, presided over testimony of family members and advocates, including Autism New Jersey and attorney Jodi Bauer, as well as an Ward Sanders, an insurance industry spokesperson. Chairman Schaer promised a second hearing in six months and acknowledged Committee concerns that the issues discussed were substantive.
If you are having problems accessing insurance coverage, please call us at 800.4.AUTISM.
To read Autism New Jersey's Testimony, click here.
To read Sue Livio's coverage in the Star Ledger, click here.
Governor Christie Announces Settlement of Olmstead Lawsuit
February 26, 2013
Trenton, NJ -- In his annual State Budget Address, Governor Christie announced a settlement of the Olmstead lawsuit brought by Disability Rights New Jersey against the state.
Today, I am proud to announce that we have settled an eight-year-old Olmstead lawsuit with Disability Rights New Jersey. The suit claimed that New Jersey was not complying with U.S. Supreme Court mandates to allow people with developmental disabilities to live in the least restrictive and most appropriate setting. In response, we have increased funding for community-based services; we have reduced the waiting list for in-home supports and services, and we have expanded group homes and supported living options.
We all know New Jersey’s sad history of over institutionalization. We have institutionalized more citizens than any state other than Texas. It is shameful. It is ineffective. And, in this Administration, it is ending. We are allowing people with disabilities to live where they and their families want them to live: at home, in the community, among family and friends. So this suit is settled.
But to continue this progress, my budget includes $83 million for community placements and services for those with developmental disabilities.
To read the full text of the Governor's address, click here.
To read DRNJ's statement on the settlement, click here.
New DDD Eligibility Rule Could Affect Eligibility
The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) issued a new rule that went into effect on January 22, 2013 requiring all individuals 21 and older, who are eligible to receive DDD services, to now also be Medicaid eligible by March 23, 2013 or the individual is in danger of losing services. Read more>>