Public Policy

**Important News Regarding the FY17 Budget: Governor Christie unveiled a $34.8 billion State Budget on Feb. 16, and there is a lot of good news to share about how that proposed State Budget will impact individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Click below to learn more about announced funding levels at the Department of Human Services and the Department of Children and Families. You can also read Budget Testimony delivered by our Executive Director and Board President.***

Improving the System:

The Arc of New Jersey engages in ongoing advocacy and oversight on issues related to transparency, communication and regulations within the New Jersey Department of Human Services and the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. Our program directors sit on a variety of committees, task forces and coalitions working on issues such as prevention, early intervention, special education, family support, employment, and healthcare. The Arc of New Jersey's legislative activities include monitoring and responding to all state legislation and budget issues that will impact individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and provider agencies. In addition, we also weigh in with New Jersey's congressional delegation on national issues. Below you will find information on legislation currently pending at the State House and in Washington, DC.

Pictured here: The Arc of New Jersey advocates at the State House in Trenton alongside Self-Advocates and Direct Support Professionals.

I/DD related legislation signed in FY16:

FY16 Budget Campaign Results:

  • More than $100 million in new money for individuals on the waiting list, those facing emergencies and students aging out of their educational entitlement.
  • For the first time ever, we secured 200 new housing vouchers specifically for people with I/DD.
  • Finally, the Legislature added and the Governor kept in, an additional combined $5.5 million for individuals on the Waiting List (DHS) and families in need of Family Support Services (DCF).

The Arc of New Jersey, family members and self-advocates visit the Hill in Washington, DC to meet with decision-makers about important legislative and regulatory matters.

Ongoing Legislative Priorities:

Pictured here from left to right: The Arc of New Jersey Board President Robert Hage, Governmental Affairs Director Sharon Levine, Executive Director Tom Baffuo and The Arc Bergen & Passaic President/CEO Kathy Walsh advocated on the Hill in Washington, DC.

State Legislation:

  • Provides employers with various tax incentives for hiring persons with disabilities under insurance premiums tax, corporation business tax and gross income tax.

  • Requires Rutgers University to create a liberal studies program for students with intellectual disabilities; appropriates $500,000.

  • Establishes New Jersey Caregiver Task Force to evaluate and provide recommendations on caregiver support services.

Federal Legislation:

FY15 Accomplishments

With your help we were able to accomplish so much this year! Thank you for your advocacy efforts and for your ongoing support of The Arc of New Jersey. Scroll down to learn more about our accomplishments, the year's biggest priorities, and the results of our advocacy surrounding the FY16 Budget signed by the Governor.

I/DD related legislation signed by the Governor in FY15:

  • Requires the Commissioner of Health to review impact of disabilities on persons in minority and underrepresented communities.

  • Previous law allowed a student with a disability, including autism, to have a service animal in school buildings and on school grounds. This bill expands the law to permit a student with a disability to bring a service animal on a school bus.

  • Requires a one-time application for requesting services for individuals with developmental disabilities from DCF and DHS.