Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can individuals who have significant needs and require assistance in all areas be cared for in the community?
Yes, each individual has a team that will determine what supports and services are required based on each person's specific needs. Ensuring that health, safety and quality of life needs are met is the number one priority of an individual's transition team. If an individual requires support in all areas, then the appropriate supports will be put in place. Many community provider agencies have nurses on staff to provide consultation and oversight. Individuals are placed in homes that are built around their needs, including individuals who need 24-7 care because of their acute medical conditions or behavioral support needs.
2. Who determines if someone could/should be considered for community living?
If the three criteria below are met without any opposition, your family member can move forward toward a path to community transition.
- Your family member is in agreement
- Community living is recommended by your family member's inter-disciplinary team (IDT) at the development center
- Your family member's guardian is in agreement with exploring transition to the community
3. Am I financially responsible for my family member when he or she moves into a home in the community?
There is no change in your financial responsibility for your family member when he or she moves into the community. What is new is that now your family member will have an individual budget based upon his or her level of needs. This budget will go with your family member where he or she lives in NJ. The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) continues to pay for all needed services and supports within the individual's allocated budget.
4. How involved do I need to be in my family members' transition process?
You can choose how much you want to be involved in making decisions and taking part in your family member's transition and new experience in community living. Your family member will have a core team assigned to him or her which includes the family and/or guardian, identified staff and a transition case manager. Individuals and families will have the support of the team throughout this process to answer any questions and concerns. We encourage family participation as it has been found to be an important part of successful transitions.
5. What types of housing and living arrangements are available in the community?
Housing options include: Single Family House, Townhouse, Condominium or Apartment, that is in the individual's own name, which can be rented or purchased.
- Live in housing with the individual hiring his or her own staff
- Live in housing with an agency managing and providing supports
- Live in a group home (no more than 4 people) or supervised apartment where a community provider agency provides both the housing and supports
- Live at home with a family member
Families who would like to learn more about a community setting should explore community living resources by visiting provider agencies and their existing homes. These existing homes will most likely not be the home where the individual will live in but can be a resource in the decision making process.
6. What is a Group Home?
Group homes are located in every community in NJ. People live with the assistance of trained staff. There are typically four residents and the home is staffed 24 hours a day by a resident manager and direct care staff. Residents have their own room and share other common living areas. Although most group homes provide long-term care, some individuals eventually acquire the necessary skills to move to more independent living situations. Group homes are provided oversight and licensed by the Department of Human Services (DHS) Office of Licensing (OOL).
7. What sort of oversight is provided for group homes and other types of community homes?
There are several types of oversight provided to every group home.
Office of Licensing (OOL)
Through its licensing and regulatory process, the OOL supports the provision of a safe environment ensuring individuals receive services appropriately. Each group home is licensed annually or as needed.
DDD Community Case Manager
Case management services provide face-to-face visits as well as document and provide services oversight for individuals on monthly or quarterly basis.
DDD Office of Quality Management and Planning (OQMP)
The mission of the OQMP is to incorporate sustainable quality assurance and quality improvement principles of supports and services for individuals. The OQMP provides regular audits and technical support related to services delivered.
Internal Agency Quality Assurance
Agencies have their own quality assurance policies. Agency administration provides regular support and oversight to their community residences.
8. What happens after an individual moves to the community?
After an individual moves to the community, the DDD will closely monitor how the transition is going. Soon after the move, a representative from the developmental center will contact the manager of the new home to see how the person is adjusting. Case review visits will be conducted 30, 60, 90, 180 and 365 days after discharge and annually for two additional years. Through this quality assurance review process, any issues that may arise during transition will be identified, adjusted and remedied along the way to better accommodate an individual’s life in the community. This is in addition to the regular outreach provided by the assigned DDD case manager, Office of Licensing, and agency quality assurance team.
9. Will more developmental centers close in the future?
The national trend over the past thirty years has been geared toward significantly reducing the number of individuals residing in developmental centers (institutional settings) to providing community-based support and services to individuals with developmental disabilities. There are more than ten states providing services exclusively in community settings without utilizing any state-operated institution. States continue to close developmental centers each year. There are only ten states that have never closed an institution, with five of those states operating only one developmental center. As more and more states make the shift from an institution-based funding structure to a community-based funding structure, developmental centers will continue to be closed and/or consolidated.
10. How do I pursue or learn more about community living for my loved one?
If you are interested in moving ahead with the community living transition process, you should let your family member's social worker at the developmental center know. If you have any questions or concerns about community living, please contact CLEP at 1-(800)-500-0448 for further assistance. We provide education and information to individuals, families, and staff members about the possibilities in community living.