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The Division collaborates with policy makers, health educators, public and private agencies, and experts in the field of health and wellness on projects and initiatives. 

DDS aims to promote healthy living and prevention of secondary conditions for people with disabilities and create healthier, more inclusive communities through policy, systems and environmental changes.  

 

Current and Upcoming Projects

New Jersey Healthy Communities Network (NJHCN)

NJHCN is a public-private funding collaborative that provides small grants to non-profit organizations, New Jersey counties and municipalities, early childcare/education centers, New Jersey K-12 public school districts and/or tax-exempt educational institutions with the goal of increasing public health impact and promoting social justice through policy change and inclusion.

Through the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network (NJHCN), DDS funds three New Jersey organizations that align with the Division's overall goal of inclusion, improving health outcomes for individuals with disabilities through policy, systems, and environmental change. 


Promoting Inclusive Prevention and Intervention Efforts for Sexual and Domestic Violence Assault Survivors with Disabilities (STOP Violence Against Women Act)

Research indicates that individuals with disabilities experience higher rates of interpersonal violence, including sexual abuse, domestic violence, and financial abuse and face additional barriers to help-seeking.

A number of gaps exist within the delivery of services to victims of violence with disabilities.

The New Jersey Division of Disability Services (DDS) is committed to addressing these gaps by working in partnership with sexual and domestic violence service providers in the state. With generous support from the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Office of The Attorney General, DDS is leading a three-phase policy, system and environmental change initiative to promote inclusive prevention and intervention efforts for sexual and domestic violence assault survivors with disabilities.

  • Phase I (Spring 2020) – DDS partnered with the Center on Violence Against Women & Children at the Rutgers School of Social Work to conduct a state-wide needs assessment to identify barriers and opportunities for service providers related to supporting individuals with disabilities.  The evaluation findings are pending and will inform Phase III of the project. 

  • Phase II (July 2020) – Interviews with individuals with disabilities who are survivors of sexual and domestic violence will be conducted to identify service delivery gaps that prevent survivors from accessing critical services.  These data will be analyzed with data collected from service providers in Phase one, to guide the development and implementation of systems level change for inclusive support environments. 

  • Phase III (January 2021) – DDS will develop local/regional-level service provider trainings and resource tools, based on the needs that emerge from Phase I and II, to encourage sharing of best practices and sustainable collaborations that enhance services, improve access for survivors, and pilot models of inclusivity for all communities.
 
 
Historical Projects

The Unheard Voice: Addressing Violence Against Women with Disabilities

The Division received a multi-year grant from the STOP Violence Against Women Act and is worked collaboratively with its sister agency, the Division of Developmental Disabilities, and two of the state’s leading agencies focusing on domestic violence and sexual assault of women, The New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence and the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, to adapt and deliver training material.

The target audiences for this project included women with more severe cognitive/intellectual disabilities, direct support staff, professionals working with women with disabilities, and domestic violence and sexual assault professionals throughout the state.

Related Materials: 

Violence Against Women with Disabilities: Spot the Signs, Ask the Questions (English), (Spanish) 


Emergency Planning and Disaster Preparedness for People with Disabilities

When addressing the health and overall wellness of a person with a disability, disaster and emergency preparedness must be taken into consideration. It is important that people with disabilities and their family members make plans to protect themselves in the event of disasters.

With two sub-grants awarded by the Department of Law and Public Safety's Office of Emergency Management, the Division was able to develop materials designed to educate people with disabilities in disaster preparedness, host training sessions in locations throughout New Jersey on the topic, and distribute up to 2,000 emergency supply kits or “go bags” to attendees.

A “go bag”, an important item when ensuring emergency preparedness for everyone, and especially individuals with disabilities, is a bag packed with essential items, kept ready for use in the event of an emergency evacuation of one's home.

Related Materials:

NJ Office of Emergency Management: Your Kit/Your Plan

NJ Office of Emergency Management-For Access & Functional Needs

Service Animal Emergency Preparedness Guidance – for Handlers

COVID-19 Considerations: Support for Service animals in Human Shelters

Service Animal Guidance – for Emergency Shelter Managers and Workers

Key Facts About Service Animals for Disaster Shelter Workers


Health and Wellness Guides

In collaboration with the Division of Developmental Disabilities' Office of Prevention, DDS produced the following wellness guides. The guides offer health, fitness, and nutritional information and are designed to familiarize people with disabilities with the basic elements of a healthy lifestyle.

Related Materials:

Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well: A Guide to Healthy Living for People with Disabilities 

Your Body is Where You Live: A Guide to Healthy Living for People with Disabilities - Volume II

 
 
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025

Jointly published by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) every five years, the Dietary Guidelines provide science-based recommendations designed to foster healthy dietary patterns for Americans of all ages – from birth through older adults. Importantly, the latest edition expands the guidance to include recommended healthy dietary patterns for infants and toddlers.

Key recommendations include following the four overarching guidelines below:

  • Following a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage;
  • Customizing and enjoying nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations;
  • Focusing on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages from five food groups – vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy and fortified soy alternatives, and proteins – and staying within calorie limits; and
  • Limiting foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limiting alcoholic beverages.

For assistance making healthy food choices, the USDA also offers the helpful Start Simple with MyPlate app and a food guidance system at myplate.gov. With these free resources, you can:

  • Learn how much you need from each food group. Get a personalized MyPlate Plan that's right for you, based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level.
  • Take a look at your current eating routine. Pick one or two ways that you can switch to choices today that are rich in nutrition.
  • Think about how your food choices come together over the course of your day or week to help you create a healthy eating routine.
  • Choose options for meals, beverages, and snacks that have limited added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium.
 
 
Related Links

US Office of Disease Prevention & Health Promotion

 
 
CONTACT INFORMATION

Division of Disability Services
11A Quakerbridge Plaza, Mercerville NJ
(Mailing: PO Box 705 Trenton NJ 08625)

Telephone: 1-888-285-3036
Fax: 609-631-4365

 
 
KEY STAFF

Susan Rogers
Program Support Specialist 3

 
 
 
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