Last year, as Avidd Community Services of NJ celebrated its 30th year of providing quality services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, it was clear that the organization is in the position to face future challenges head on. Most important among these challenges will be playing our part in helping New Jersey to comply with the federal Olmstead Act. The Olmstead Act is a part of the Americans with Disabilities Act that requires states to enable people with disabilities to live in community settings, rather than institutions. These community-based lifestyles are in the best interest of individuals with disabilities, their families, and the state of New Jersey.
- Institutional living costs $285,795 per year for services to each individual. The average cost for a community-based setting is $113,880 for the same exact services. The seven New Jersey Developmental Centers house only eight percent of the population served by the Division of Developmental Disabilities, but use over 30 percent of the Division’s budget.
- New Jersey ranks 49th out of 50 states in the number of its developmentally disabled residents living in institutional settings. About 2,800 New Jersey residents live in developmental centers—more than every state except Texas.
- Living in small, community-based homes enables people to more effectively access the local resources of employment, volunteer opportunities, arts, recreation, and clinical services. At the same time, they can contribute to the local economy with their skills and talents. The relationships that form between the individuals we serve and the communities they live in are mutually beneficial.
Another challenge that we take seriously is the responsibility of maintaining the quality of services we provide. While doing so, we must also focus our attention on the complexities of expanding our organization’s offerings to the community. We feel confident that the skills and strengths of our staff and the individuals we serve will ensure that we will meet this goal.
We are currently developing our 11th group home in Long Valley/Washintgon Township.