TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Ron Dancer recently introduced two bills to increase support for youth with developmental disabilities by establishing new clinical training and expanding a state agency.
“More can be done to help families and youth with developmental disabilities,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “From their healthcare to community-based services, we need to meet their needs and evolve with best practices.”
Bill A5677 establishes special needs training protocols for health care professionals who encounter youth experiencing psychiatric or behavioral health crises. The training would help staff in children’s crisis intervention centers treat, identify, evaluate and communicate with youth who have developmental disabilities.
The second piece of legislation, A5679, expands the membership and responsibilities of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities.
“The more inclusive the council, the better the recommendations will be for how we can improve upon our services,” said Dancer.
The bill would add the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families and the state ombudsman for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families to the council. It also directs them to study statewide community-based systems, service gaps, the shortage of treatment beds for children and youth with developmental disabilities, and the implementation of the New Jersey Autism State Plan Amendment, which expands Medicaid coverage for autism treatments. An annual report would be submitted to the departments of children and families, health, and human services.