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State Transition Plan Highlight: New Jersey Transition Plan Would Improve Day, Employment and Housing Services

March 30, 2015

New Jersey’s state transition plan, to bring programs and services for people with disabilities into compliance with the CMS Final Rule on Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS), includes major changes to day, employment and housing services. Each state was required to submit a five-year plan to CMS by March 17, 2015, indicating how it would comply with the new regulations. State transition plan proposals are available via www.HCBSAdvocacy.org.

The New Jersey transition plan specifically excludes certain congregate settings from HCBS funding, including disability-specific farmsteads, gated communities or campus-style housing arrangements, or housing settings where employment services are also provided. The plan requires that HCBS day services providers ensure that people with disabilities spend at least 75 percent of their day in community-based employment or recreation, as opposed to center-based activities.

In early March, Governor Chris Christie indicated that his administration may be considering changes to the plan. The transition plan has received considerable support from integration advocates, but raised concerns among some providers and families who support some types of segregated settings. In his comments, Governor Christie described some of the plan’s integration-focused changes as “too strict to be workable.”