NJ Department Of Human Services Initiates Community-Based Group Home Program

By: Savannah Scarborough, Follow South Jersey Intern

SOUTH JERSEY — The New Jersey Department of Human Services has just initiated a new community-based program to create behavioral health stabilization group homes for adult individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

The program’s goal is to provide short-term placement in a home-feeling environment for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities going through behavioral challenges that make it unsafe to return to their personal homes. 

These group homes differ vastly from in-patient hospitalization but instead aim to provide short-term care to help prevent hospitalization for individuals at all. Furthermore, the homes act as a hospital discharge option for individuals leaving in-patient hospitalization. 

Commissioner Sarah Adelman initially announced the awarded contract to develop these three four-bedroom homes in September 2021 when the Young Adult Institute (YAI, Inc.) was awarded the $4 million grant. 

According to YAI: Seeking Beyond Disabilities, their mission is to “offer children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities a comprehensive range of services” and is “committed to seeing beyond disability, providing opportunities for people to live, love, work, and learn in their communities.” 

“YAI’s person-centered philosophy of support is perfectly aligned with the goals of this home,” said Amanda Duva Gannon, Director of Community-Based Behavioral Health Stabilization Homes for YAI’s growing New Jersey service menu. “Building on the strengths of the people we support, YAI has a history offering behavioral stabilization support. We look forward to making a real difference in the lives of those supported in these programs.” 

The first home already developed follows DDD standards and policies, as will the next two. Additionally, all homes will be accessible and include specialized design and space planning for individuals with sensory processing difficulties. 

All the homes will provide professional staff trained to prevent and stabilize behavioral crises in individuals. A central component of individuals’ stay includes trained professionals’ assistance in assessing individuals and giving them new behavioral management techniques. 

Within the house will include a treatment team of a Board Certified psychiatrist, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, a Registered Nurse, and a Transition Navigator who bring a patient-centered, trauma-informed approach to their daily service to all individuals in the house. 

“This home – and the ones to follow – provide a homelike setting for individuals to receive the care and support they need to stabilize so they can return home safely,” Commissioner Adelman said. “The development and launch of this home is an important milestone in our work to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they can live and thrive in the community. We know there is a need for these behavioral health stabilization homes and we look forward to the positive results of this new program.” To learn more about YAI Inc., visit https://www.yai.org/who-we-are.

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