News Archive 2017


Autism NJ’s Buchanan named to Governor-Elect Murphy’s Transition Team

December 13, 2017

Autism New Jersey | Dr. Suzanne Buchanan  |  Executive DirectorDr. Suzanne Buchanan, Executive Director for Autism New Jersey, is serving on the Human and Children Services Transition Committee as part of Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s Transition Team. Dr. Buchanan will help inform the administration’s policy direction and will also ensure Autism New Jersey’s priorities are reflected in upcoming discussions and agendas.

“Serving on Governor-Elect Murphy’s Transition Advisory Committee is a tremendous honor and opportunity to give voice to the critical and varied needs of the autism community,” Dr. Buchanan said. “We look forward to working with Governor-Elect Murphy and his administration to improve government agencies’ capacity and expertise to improve the lives of individuals with autism across the state.”

Dr. Buchnanan is the Executive Director of Autism New Jersey, a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Long Island University and has worked in the autism field for more than twenty years.

The Transition Team began meeting this month. 

Update:  Read Transition Team Reports

New Jersey Elects New Governor

November 15, 2017

On November 7th, New Jersey went to the polls to vote for the office of Governor, all 120 seats of the Legislature and local races. As expected, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany and retired Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy easily won his race for governor. Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver, a former Assembly Speaker, won the office of Lieutenant Governor on Murphy's ticket. Murphy/Oliver won 55% to Guadagno/Rendo’s 42%.  As we welcome the new administration and returning and new legislators, we look to strengthen our existing connections and forge new ones to ensure our agenda and the needs of the autism community remain front and center.

In the Legislature, Governor-elect Murphy will have Democratic majorities in the Senate and Assembly. The Senate voted to re-elect Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg to their posts. In addition, Senator Tom Kean, Jr. was re-elected by his caucus to serve as the Republican Leader. Assemblyman Craig Coughlin of Middlesex County was elected by his Democratic colleagues to serve as the next Assembly Speaker. Speaker Vincent Prieto will remain speaker until January 9th when the new Legislature is sworn in and the Senate and Assembly hold formal votes on their officers. Governor-elect Murphy and Lieutenant Governor-elect Sheila Oliver will be inaugurated on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

Governor-elect Murphy announced members of his Transition Team. There will be (14) committees including: Budget, Education/Access/Opportunity, Healthcare, Housing, Human/Children Services, and Labor/Workforce Development. These teams will map out policy proposals for the new administration. Autism New Jersey has been engaged in productive dialogue with Governor-elect Murphy senior staff and will continue to offer our expertise to the Transitions Teams and new Administration.

Leadership Changes at DDD

September 19, 2017

Last week, the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities Assistant Commissioner Liz Shea announced her resignation effective October 1, 2017. Assistant Commissioner Shea was an integral part of several DDD initiatives and system reforms, including: fulfilling the Olmstead settlement agreement, closing two developmental centers, advancing community based placement and services for consumers, launching the Supports Program, moving providers into a Medicaid fee-for-service payment system and integrating the Community Care Waiver into the state’s Comprehensive Medicaid Waiver.

Acting Commissioner Elizabeth Connolly praised Assistant Commissioner Shea, stating, “These are incredible accomplishments that will continue to benefit New Jersey residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities for years to come." 

Autism New Jersey Executive Director Suzanne Buchanan wholeheartedly agrees with Commissioner Connolly’s sentiment and stated, “We thank Assistant Commissioner Shea for her collaboration with Autism New Jersey over the last few years, especially on the Statewide Transition Plan. She led tremendous systemic changes and thousands of individuals, families, and advocates are indebted to her service.”

Upon her departure, Jonathan Seifried will serve as Acting Assistant Commissioner, and Autism New Jersey looks forward to continuing to work with him and his Division colleagues.


Department of Children and Families Seeking In-Home ABA Providers

Advocacy efforts yield inclusion of BCBA–D designation with higher reimbursement rate.

July 19, 2017

On July 14, 2017, the Department of Children and Families released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Provision of Intensive In-Home (IIH) Individualized Behavioral Intervention Supports and Services for Youth with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities. This RFQ will give qualified providers an opportunity to apply to become an approved provider of IIH services through the Children’s System of Care (CSOC).

Working closely with CSOC and the IIH program over the last year, Autism New Jersey has advocated for the inclusion of the doctoral designation for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA-D) coupled with an equitable rate structure. Learn more>>

Fiscal Year 2018 State Budget Finalized with New Funding

July 10, 2017

After days of negotiations and a brief government shutdown, the New Jersey state budget was finalized and signed by Governor Christie on July 4th. With the passage of the $34.7 billion budget, came a number of appropriations that will benefit the autism community in the coming fiscal year, including new funding for children’s intensive in-home behavioral services, increased funding for Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) to expand community-based options, and funding to increase hourly wages for direct support professionals. Read more>>


New Law Creates Oversight Board to Monitor DHS's Transition to Fee-For-Service System

May 12, 2017

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37), Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-14), Senator Joseph F. Vitale (D-19), Senator Robert M. Gordon (D-38), and other legislators was signed into law by Governor Christie on May 11, 2017. This new law establishes two oversight boards that will monitor the transition to a fee-for-service model for the mental health and addiction community and the developmental disability community.

Autism New Jersey will recommend one seat on the new 11-person oversight board created to monitor DDD’s fee-for-service transition. The board will evaluate and report on the continuity and quality of care, reimbursement rates and provider availability as the system changes go into effect. Learn more>>


Autism New Jersey Joins NJ 101.5 Autism Town Hall

Executive Director Dr. Buchanan Joins the NJ 101.5 Special Autism Town HallApril 27, 2017

On Wednesday, April 26, New Jersey 101.5 held a special town hall on air and online, exploring autism’s impact on New Jersey families and the support services available. Experts from Autism New Jersey and Bancroft — two of the many organizations serving the autism community in New Jersey — were on hand during the Facebook Live chat to answer questions about where and how to get help. Watch now>>

Menendez, Sweeney Recognize National Autism Awareness Month

April 18, 2017

In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, Autism New Jersey had the opportunity to partner with our legislative champions to highlight and visit exemplary programs and discuss the needs of the community. Last week, our Public Policy team met with New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney at the new Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services and Senator Robert Menendez at a special round table discussion at his Newark Offices. Read more>>


State Announces CCW Renewal and Fee for Service Rollout Plans

April 18, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Acting Commissioner, Elizabeth Connolly announced that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the Division’s Community Care Waiver renewal. The waiver’s renewal will accelerate the significant system changes that have been underway for the last few years. Learn more>>


Open Forum Focuses on Severe Behavior Challenges

April 17, 2017

On March 29, Autism New Jersey hosted more than 25 parents in an Open Forum for Parents of Children and Adults with Autism and Severe Behavioral Challenges in our Robbinsville offices. Recognizing the variety and severity of behavioral challenges that many individuals with autism and their families face, Autism New Jersey convened this forum as a way for these families to meet other parents, share their experiences, and learn about resources that might be helpful. Their heart-wrenching stories will help inform our advocacy efforts. Learn more>>


Public Policy Update: Making Sense of Federal HealthCare Reform

March 8, 2017

With the recent release of the House Republicans’ plan for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the overhaul of the country’s healthcare system, Autism New Jersey shares the concerns of many within our community on what impact the proposed legislation will have on individuals with autism. We are currently analyzing the draft legislation that was released on March 6 in order to determine what effect these changes will have on the autism community. Although we are not yet certain of the impact of the proposed legislation, we can be certain that the repeal of the ACA is a cause for concern. Learn more>>


Autism New Jersey Welcomes New Public Policy Director

February 10, 2017

Autism New Jersey is pleased to announce that Eric Eberman, M.S. Ed., has joined the organization as our new Public Policy Director.  “Eric brings with him experience and expertise that make him uniquely qualified for this important position,” notes Executive Director, Dr. Suzanne Buchanan.  

With nearly 20 years of experience in delivering high quality Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities in New Jersey, he is well positioned to successfully represent Autism New Jersey in advocating for the interests and needs of our community.  Read more>>  


DDD Releases New Policy on Housing Assistance and Vouchers

January 17, 2017

The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) recently released information on their Housing Assistance Policy, which goes into effect on February 6, 2017. Individuals who are both DDD and Medicaid eligible may apply for housing assistance through the Supportive Housing Connection (SHC). Learn more>> 


News & Media

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