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New Laws will Benefit the Autism Community

January 15, 2016

The end of the 2014-2015 legislative session saw a number of bills signed into law by Governor Christie that have an impact on the autism community.  The following bills were signed into law on January 11, 2016

Criminalizes Endangerment:   Increasing penalties for those who endanger adults with developmental disabilities (P.L. 2015, c.186) Provides for prison terms up to 10 years for endangering the welfare of  individuals with developmental disabilities.  

Safety Alert:  "MVP Emergency Alert System" Law (P.L. 2015, c.184) Establishes a new public notification system to broadcast information about missing persons with mental, intellectual, or developmental disabilities.

Limits to “Return Home New Jersey” Policy (P.L. 2015, c.192) Limits a controversial policy of requiring individuals with disabilities living in subsidized homes outside the state to be returned to New Jersey.

ABLE Act  (P.L. 2015, c.185) Authorizes the establishment of tax-free “Achieving a Better Life Experience” (ABLE) accounts for persons with certain disabilities.

We are grateful to the champions of each bill for their efforts to craft and shepherd the legislation through the Assembly and Senate. These bills have been in the works for some time and represent the culmination of the passionate advocacy efforts of Autism New Jersey and our partners in the developmental disability community. Read more>> 

The Ride For Autism is Shifting Gears

Ride for Autism Operations Moving In-House to Autism New Jersey

December 17, 2015

Ride for AutismAutism New Jersey and the Ride for Autism have signed an agreement that will bring the operations for the Ride for Autism annual bike tour event under the management and administration of Autism New Jersey. This change went into effect on November 19th. The transfer of the Ride to Autism New Jersey will bring administrative efficiencies to its operations while maintaining the quality of this top notch annual cycling event that has brought together hundreds of participants annually. 

The Ride for Autism event was conceived by Andrew Abere, a cycling enthusiast from Monroe Township, NJ, and Autism New Jersey member who is also the parent of a son with autism. He sought to bring together his love of the sport with his desire to raise awareness and money for a cause that was close to his heart. The event was first incubated within Autism New Jersey (then known as COSAC) in 2001 before incorporating as its own 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in 2002. The organization conducted the Ride annually as a way to raise funds for Autism New Jersey, as well as to spread awareness about autism and provide an opportunity for individuals with autism and their families to engage in recreation and socialization. Read more>>

Commmunity Care Waiver Renewal and Amendments -- Public Input

October 28, 2015

DDD provided an informational overview web presentation for stakeholders that is now available on its website. This presentation provides an overview of the CCW and its renewal status process and outlines the proposed amendments.  DDD is accepting public comments regarding the CCW renewal and proposed amendments, as well as suggestions for additional amendments, through the close of business Tuesday, December 1, 2015. Comments can be emailed to or mailed to the following address (and postmarked by 12.01.15):  

CCW Stakeholder Input
NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities
PO Box 726
Trenton, NJ 08625-0726

Autism New Jersey will be providing comments on the behavioral services provider qualifications and annual service caps, expansion of the level of care criteria to include behavioral and medical acuity, and housing choice for CCW participants.  A copy of our comments will be posted once available.

Update:  Deadline extended to December 15, 2015.

Autism NJ Receives Leadership Gift of $50,000 from the Law Firm of Hinkle, Fingles and Prior

August 4, 2015

A Leadership Gift of $50,000 from the Law Firm of Hinkle, Fingles and Prior will help the organization build its capacity to address the specific needs of adults with autism. This focus is among the top priorities moving forward for NJ’s largest network of parents and professionals dedicated to improving lives of individuals with autism.  

Autism New Jersey continues to celebrate its 50 years of service by announcing the launch of its 50th Anniversary Campaign. Throughout the remainder of this year, the agency is setting forth to reinforce and sustain its existing core program areas: Information, Public Policy, Education/Training, and Awareness. With a commitment to lifetime services, the agency recognizes the importance of helping families prepare for the future by focusing specifically on the needs of adults with autism. The 50th Campaign can ensure the capacity to address the needs of adults across these core service pillars.

“We are humbled by Hinkle, Fingles, and Prior’s unwavering support of Autism New Jersey for more than four decades,” said Autism New Jersey Executive Director Suzanne Buchanan. “The 50th Anniversary Campaign was propelled by this generous Leadership Pledge from the firm, who consistently has been a champion for the autism community.” Read more>> 


Autism New Jersey’s 50 Years of Service Recognized by NJ Senate

July 24, 2015

Trenton, NJ – Yesterday, New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-3) and Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14) introduced a resolution recognizing the 50th anniversary of Autism New Jersey and acknowledged the agency’s tireless advocacy and support of New Jersey’s autism community. Read more>>




Update on the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) Supports Program

July 17, 2015

DDD has begun the transition of DDD-eligible individuals into the Supports Program with a small inaugural group of individuals who will be notified soon. DDD has indicated that “Supports Program Group 1” will be kept purposefully small (approximately 130 individuals) to ensure the availability of providers and to enable DDD’s “Supports Program Launch Workgroup” to closely monitor the roll-out and to identify and resolve any process issues. Read more>>


Providers and Insurers Meet to Address Implementation Issues

June 22, 2015

On Monday, June 22, 2015,  Autism New Jersey hosted a meeting for behavior analysts from the New Jersey Association for Behavior Analysis (NJABA) Insurance Provider Workgroup (IPWG) and representatives from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and Value Options. Representatives offered updates on retroactive reimbursement, implementation issues with new Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes, and reimbursement schedules. Everyone in attendance agreed the conversation was valuable and the information shared would facilitate the insurance reimbursement process.

This meeting is one of the many ways Autism New Jersey is working to see that the intended benefits of the autism insurance mandate are being realized by providers and, most importantly, families. To learn more about our efforts, click here.  If you are a policy holder or a provider that has additional insurance-related questions, contact our Helpline at 800.4.AUTISM or  For more information about the health insurance coverage and autism, click here.  

Proposed New Law Establishing Strong Penalties for Recklessly Endangering Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

May 13, 2015

Senator Robert Singer and Senate President Steve Sweeney today announced new legislation that would upgrade current law to better protect those with developmental disabilities from being victimized by the acts of others that are dangerous and potentially deadly. The bill would better define reckless endangerment laws and increase punishment and penalties for putting others at risk, with the strongest penalties for those with cognitive impairments.

"...Autism New Jersey is grateful for Senator Singer and Senator Sweeney’s leadership, compassion, and desire for justice. If their legislation is enacted, it would criminalize activity that creates substantial risk for individuals with developmental disabilities and assess greater legal penalties for such action,” said Dr. Suzanne Buchanan, Executive Director of Autism New Jersey. “Individuals with autism would have new protections under the law and make New Jersey a safer place for everyone, especially our most vulnerable citizens..."

Current law is limited in its ability to prosecute those who knowingly endanger others or target them because of a mental disability. Senator Singer and Senator Sweeney rewrote the current endangerment statutes into one generalized law that includes gradations in punishment based on the injury to the victim or the status of the victim.

Under the bill, it would be a crime of the fourth degree to recklessly engage in conduct that creates a “substantial risk of bodily injury” to a person with a developmental disability, punishable by a prison term up to 18 months or a fine up to $10,000, or both; a crime of the third degree if the conduct creates a “substantial risk of serious bodily injury,” with potential prison term of three to five years, a fine up to $15,000, or both, and a second degree crime if it creates a “substantial risk of death,” subject to a term of five to ten years, a fine up to $150,000, or both. Read more>>


Sold Out 2nd Annual Transition Conference Offered Essential Information

More than 300 attendees participated in Autism New Jersey's conference focused exclusively on the transition to adulthood.

April 21, 2015

Autism New Jersey’s 2nd Annual Transition Conference held on April 20, 2015 in Woodbridge was a resounding success. More than 300 attendees had specialized workshops to choose from as well as time with expert exhibitors, all focused exclusively on the transition to adulthood. 

Transition is a critical time in the life of a person with autism, requiring careful planning on the parts of both caregivers and professionals. Navigating the changes from school to the adult service system is incredibly challenging. We thank our esteemed speakers for their presentations on a variety of legal, educational, vocational, social, and financial topics specifically addressing adolescence and the changes that come with the end of the high school years. Read more>>


National Autism Indicators Report: Transition Into Young Adulthood

April 21, 2015

On the heels of Autism New Jersey’s sold out Transition Conference held yesterday, we’re pleased to share Drexel University’s A.J. Drexel Autism Institute’s “National Autism Indicators Report.” The report provides important findings regarding the transition into young adulthood that will inform and reinforce Autism New Jersey’s public policy and family support efforts. It details and substantiates the many challenges that youth entering adulthood experience, providing some striking statistics. Learn more>>



DDD Announcement Regarding Re-Assessment; System Reform Webinars Offered

April 15, 2015

The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) recently announced that it will be assessing everyone who is currently eligible for Division-funded services, except those individuals who were assessed since November 1, 2014, as a part of the Division’s transition to a Medicaid-based, fee-for-service (FFS) system. This re-assessment comes as DDD begins to implement its current system reforms (set to begin July 1) and is a key component to determining an individual’s “tier,” which impacts provider rates and budgets.  Additionally, DDD is offering webinars on its system reform and the implications for those entering its services and those already participating in its services.  Learn more>>


New DDD Webinar Now Available:  Tiering in the Fee-for-Service System

March 15, 2015

As the Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD or “the Division”) moves closer to the anticipated July 1, 2015 implementation date of the shift to a Medicaid-based, fee-for-service system, it is more important than ever that stakeholders understand what that change will mean. The Division has released a new webinar entitled Implementing the Rate Structure: Tiering in the Fee-for-Service System, which provides an overview of the concept of “tiering” with respect to individuals who receive Division-funded services.   Learn more>>


DDD’s Statewide Transition Plan Public Comment Period Open

February 26, 2015 -- **UPDATE**

Thanks to all the members and stakeholders who took the time to submit comments to DHS/DDD regarding the Statewide Transition Plan.  What’s Next?  Learn more>>

February 10, 2015 -- **UPDATE**

Stakeholder feedback on this issue is critical.  Autism New Jersey has additional information to help you craft you your comments about DHS/DDD's Plan.  Learn more>>

January 29, 2015

The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) is requesting public comment on their “Statewide Transition Plan” for the Medicaid Waiver through February 26, 2015.  If you or your loved one receives or is eligible for services via Medicaid, then New Jersey’s plan will affect you. Learn More>>

Amendments to NJ Insurance Mandate Expand Autism Coverage

Provide First-of-its-Kind Access to ABA Coverage for Adults

February 6, 2015

The New Jersey Individual Health Coverage Program Board and the New Jersey Small Employer Health Coverage Program Board (IHC and SEH Boards) have adopted amendments to the individual and small employer health benefits that expands coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to adults with autism and removes visit limitations for occupational, physical and speech therapies to treat autism. The amendments were adopted in November 2014 and are effective as of January 2015. Read more>>


Announcement:  DDD Seminars Provide An Overview of Support Coordination Model in the New Fee-for-Service System

January 14, 2015

The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) continues to move forward from a contracted system of care reimbursement to a Medicaid-based fee-for-service (FFS) system.  This is a complex systems change which will require parents, providers, and stakeholders to stay informed on up-to-date developments. 

In an effort to walk providers through the Support Coordination element of this system change, Christine James, DDD Director of Quality Improvement & System Reform, presented a seminar, How is Case Management for DDD Services Changing? An Overview of the Support Coordination, on January 14th.  A variety of important information was shared pertaining to Support Coordination such as:

  • Support Coordination Model Overview
  • Support Coordination Agency Policies
  • Accessing Support Coordination
  • Support Coordination Responsibilities
  • Support Coordination Documentation Requirements
  • iRecords
  • Monitoring
  • Quality Oversight of Support Coordination Agencies.

Click here to download the Provider Seminar Slide Presentation:  "How is Case Management for DDD Services Changing? An Overview of the Support Coordination Model in the New Fee-for-Service System."

The Division will conduct a similar seminar for families at a later date.  (The scheduled January 21, 2015 session was postponed due to inclement weather.) The slide presentation from the family seminar will be posted once it is made available to the public.  


News & Media

Autism New Jersey successfully works with national, regional, state and local reporters and producers to address the issues affecting New Jersey's autism community. If you are a reporter or producer seeking accurate information for a story about autism, as well as New Jersey families affected by autism and the professionals that support them, we can help.

Jessica Barkosky, Communications  & Marketing Manager 
609.588.8200 x25