Areas of Focus & Objectives
Goals and Objectives of Disability Rights New Jersey
Protection and advocacy program goals and objectives ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable populations are served, and the most critical, far-reaching issues are addressed. Goals and objectives also assist Disability Rights NJ as it faces a demand for representation that often exceeds the resources of the P&A system.
Disability Rights NJ may provide people with disabilities information and referral, legal representation including self-advocacy assistance, investigation, systemic legal representation, or other systemic advocacy. Level of legal representation will depend on a variety of factors including alignment with goals and objectives, availability of staff and funding, as well as merits of case.
Disability Rights NJ began a new goal-setting cycle in the fiscal years starting October 1, 2023 through September 30, 2026. In preparation for the development of those new goals and objectives, Disability Rights NJ distributed surveys and conducted focus groups of people with disabilities, their families, professionals, health care and service providers and others about the needs of people with disabilities and the barriers to addressing those needs. The data collected was shared with our advisory groups and staff for development into goals and objectives, and approved by the Disability Rights NJ Governing Board at its September 2023 meeting.
If you would like to be provided with surveys, or if your group would like to host a focus group to help Disability Rights NJ determine its goals and objectives in the future, please contact our outreach office at 609-292-9742.
To access a survey, click the appropriate link below:
Individuals can submit comments on Disability Rights NJ’s goals and objectives in writing to: 210 S. Broad Street, 3rd Floor, Trenton, NJ 08608 or email [email protected], and over the phone by calling 800-922-7233 toll-free (in NJ only) or 609-292-9742, and online.
2024-2026 Goals and Objectives
GOAL 1 – Prevent and stop abuse and neglect in all its forms that we encounter in any setting where people with disabilities live or receive services, with a focus on individuals and communities experiencing multiple forms of discrimination.
- OBJECTIVE 1: Educate people with disabilities residing in institutional settings (e.g., state psychiatric hospitals, Developmental Centers and nursing homes) and licensed HCBS settings (group homes) on residents’ rights and patients’ rights and assist them in exercising their rights through targeted self-advocacy assistance, limited legal assistance, and training.
- OBJECTIVE 2: Collaborate and provide education and training with stakeholders and policymakers regarding individuals in institutional settings (e.g., state psychiatric hospitals, Developmental Centers, and nursing homes) and licensed HCBS settings (group homes) on residents’ rights and patients’ rights.
- OBJECTIVE 3: Find and stop abuse and neglect at state psychiatric hospitals and Developmental Centers by conducting quarterly monitoring.
- OBJECTIVE 4: Identify misplaced youth with disabilities as well as ensure that youth residents are free from abuse and neglect in youth residential or psychiatric facilities, detention facilities, and facilities licensed by Juvenile Justice Commission through targeted monitoring and investigations.
- OBJECTIVE 5: Develop and disseminate self-advocacy materials for youth with disabilities so they are knowledgeable about and can exercise their rights in youth residential or psychiatric facilities, detention facilities, and facilities licensed by Juvenile Justice Commission.
- OBJECTIVE 6: Respond to allegations of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or unexplained death of individuals in institutions and licensed settings through primary and secondary investigations and self-advocacy training.
- OBJECTIVE 7: Investigate patient safety and analyze data related to individuals on conditional extension pending placement (CEPP) status at state psychiatric hospitals with the intent of engaging in systemic advocacy.
- OBJECTIVE 8: Represent the interests of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have a state Bureau of Guardianship Services (BGS) guardian in end-of-life consultations with BGS, as required by state regulation.
- OBJECTIVE 9: Through the Social Security Administration review process, ensure that beneficiaries of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income are not financially exploited or subject to abuse or neglect by representative payees.
GOAL 2 – Ensure that people with disabilities, particularly individuals and communities experiencing multiple forms of discrimination, can return, live, and thrive in the community and access equitable services, supports, and necessary resources of their own choice.
- OBJECTIVE 1: Ensure equitable access to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services for VR applicants and clients by providing legal representation and training emphasizing individual plan for employment (IPE) development, informed choice, and access to appeal rights. Educate policymakers and engage in systemic advocacy through participation in State Rehabilitation Councils about access to VR services.
- OBJECTIVE 2: Increase awareness of VR services, VR client rights, and the Client Assistance Program (CAP) through outreach and training about CAP to Vocational Rehabilitation constituencies, with a focus in the Black and Latinx communities, including VR clients and prospective VR clients, VR agencies and staff, and other stakeholders.
- OBJECTIVE 3: Advocate for an end to subminimum wage and for equitable access to competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities, especially individuals with complex medical, physical, and behavioral needs through outreach, training, and systemic advocacy.
- OBJECTIVE 4: Identify and address barriers to employment for beneficiaries of SSI and/or SSDI by providing information and referral and self-advocacy assistance, including information about SSA work incentives and referral to the State WIPA as necessary for extended benefits counseling.
- OBJECTIVE 5: Promote the right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace for employees with disabilities by providing information and referral, self-advocacy assistance, and training.
- OBJECTIVE 6: Provide self-advocacy assistance to beneficiaries of Social Security regarding work related overpayments, including financial education and information necessary to seek a waiver and to appeal the overpayment determination where it acts as a barrier of employment.
- OBJECTIVE 7: Engage in collaboration with stakeholders regarding the implementation of New Jersey’s new Workability rules and provide self-advocacy assistance and training to individuals with respect to the new eligibility criteria for the Medicaid Workability Program.
Home and Community Based Settings, Services and Supports
- OBJECTIVE 1: Increase the ability of youth with disabilities eligible for the Children’s System of Care (CSOC) and other Medicaid services to access home and community-based services (HCBS) and supports through self-advocacy assistance, training and collaborations with stakeholders. Provide legal assistance to underserved and unserved youth with a focus on Black and Latinx youth with respect to adverse Medicaid and CSOC/PerformCare decisions. Engage in systemic advocacy where needed to ensure that CSOC Medicaid waiver programs for youth with disabilities are fully implemented.
- OBJECTIVE 2: Provide self-advocacy assistance, legal assistance, and training for people with disabilities who receive long-term services and supports or other HCBS services or who are seeking to receive these services, who are being terminated from Medicaid due to the unwinding of the public health emergency. Engage in systemic advocacy including educating policy makers regarding systemic problems with the unwinding of the public health emergency and Medicaid terminations.
- OBJECTIVE 3: Provide self-advocacy assistance, legal assistance, and training with respect to denial, reduction, limited authorization, or termination of Medicaid home and community-based services and supports with a focus on providing information about Medicaid waiver eligibility criteria, application process, services available, and appeal rights. Engage in systemic advocacy where needed to ensure that Medicaid waiver programs and rights for adults with disabilities are fully implemented.
- OBJECTIVE 4: Provide self-advocacy assistance and training with respect to denial, reduction, or termination of state-funded TBI or state-funded personal care assistance services to individuals with traumatic brain injury as well as educate stakeholders and policy makers on service and support needs of people with TBI.
- OBJECTIVE 5: Engage in systemic advocacy including a public report and targeted individual legal assistance and self-advocacy assistance for adults and youth with disabilities regarding accessing Medicaid Private Duty Nursing.
- OBJECTIVE 6: Identify institutionalized adults with disabilities, and in particular those with mental health disabilities, IDD, and TBI in state psychiatric hospitals, Developmental Centers, and nursing homes to educate state partners and other stakeholders regarding rights-based access to home and community-based services to move these individuals to the most integrated settings consistent with the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision (link for more information).
- OBJECTIVE 7: Provide self-advocacy assistance, legal assistance, outreach, and training to move institutionalized adults with disabilities (state psychiatric hospitals, Developmental Centers, and nursing homes) to the most integrated residential settings to promote home and community-based services consistent with the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision (link for more information).
- OBJECTIVE 8: Educate the state Medicaid agency and other state partners on the federal home and community-based settings rule, including the rules pertaining to person-centered planning rights, to ensure that the implementation of the rule fully complies with the federal law, especially related to ensuring landlord/tenant protections equivalent to those under New Jersey’s Anti-Eviction Law and provide self-advocacy assistance and training to people with disabilities related to their rights under the federal HCBS rule.
- OBJECTIVE 1: Advocate for affordable, accessible housing for people with disabilities that align with delivery system of community-based services and supports through collaboration and education of policymakers.
- OBJECTIVE 2: Educate people with disabilities about their rights to reasonable accommodations in housing through information and referral, self-advocacy assistance, limited legal assistance in the Division of Civil Rights, and systemic advocacy.
- OBJECTIVE 1: Advocate for effective state oversight of Medicaid non-emergency medical transportation provided by Modivcare, with a focus on ensuring that people with disabilities are provided accessible vehicles for those using wheelchairs, walkers, who may use oxygen machines or any equipment to be transported with the person.
- OBJECTIVE 2: Engage in collaborations and systemic advocacy regarding accessible transportation for people with disabilities including Accesslink, NJTIP, NJ Transit, and county-based transportation.
Education and Transition Services for Youth
- OBJECTIVE 1: Promote student involvement in accessing pre-employment transition services (ETS) and transition services from Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and School Districts by providing self-advocacy assistance, legal assistance, and training to students with disabilities between the ages of 14-22, especially Black and Latinx youth. Engage in systemic advocacy and collaborations with stakeholders to ensure youth timely access to transition services while in school and through the VR Agency.
- OBJECTIVE 2: Ensure youth in Mercer and Essex Counties who are experiencing school-based discipline or are involved in the youth-justice system receive appropriate educational school-based services and supports in the least restrictive environment as well as Medicaid, and CSOC/PerformCare services through information and referral, self-advocacy assistance, legal assistance, and training.
- OBJECTIVE 3: Provide information and referral to students with disabilities and their families regarding educational rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Provide self-advocacy assistance to students with disabilities and their families regarding educational rights under IDEA who meet income eligibility of 300 percent of the federal poverty level with a focus on students who reside in Abbott districts (hyper-link).
- OBJECTIVE 1: Ensure access to Medicaid healthcare services and providers for people with disabilities through stakeholder collaborations and educating policymakers, including systemic advocacy regarding the integration of behavioral health into Medicaid managed care.
- OBJECTIVE 1: Assist voters with disabilities access the right to vote through a disability voter hotline as well as education, outreach, and collaborations with other voter advocacy organizations.
- OBJECTIVE 2: Educate state and local policymakers about the barriers to voting that people with disabilities experience and advocate for the removal of those barriers.
- OBJECTIVE 1: Educate people with disabilities about their rights to reasonable accommodations in places of public accommodation through self-advocacy assistance, training, and systems advocacy with state agencies.
GOAL 3 – Promote self-determination for people with disabilities with an emphasis on limiting unnecessary guardianship, particularly for individuals and communities experiencing multiple forms of discrimination.
- OBJECTIVE 1: Educate people with disabilities and families, policy makers and key stakeholders about the use of supported decision-making as an alternative to unnecessary guardianships in New Jersey.
- OBJECTIVE 2: Engage in systemic advocacy regarding guardianship reform.
- OBJECTIVE 3: Provide legal assistance to individuals with disabilities subject to guardianship who are seeking to terminate guardianship or challenge a guardian’s decision.