NJ Human Services Bolsters Efforts to Reduce Occurrence of Preventable Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

$1.6 Million in Funding Made Available to Organizations to Implement Strategies to Help Reduce Incidence of IDDs

July 25, 2022

(TRENTON)Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced the Department is funding three new projects to help reduce the incidence of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) and improve infant health outcomes in the state.

IDDs are disorders that are usually present at birth and affect the trajectory of the individual's physical, intellectual, and/or emotional development. About one in six children in the U.S. have one or more developmental disabilities or other developmental delays.

“We know some developmental disabilities can be prevented through maternal, paternal and child care practices. This funding will support the Department’s ongoing work to help prevent developmental disabilities through public awareness, education, and other effective prevention efforts, and provide better health outcomes for families and future generations of New Jerseyans,” said Commissioner Adelman.

The grants were awarded by the Office for the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities (OPDD) within the Department’s Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). Vendors were encouraged to submit proposals that address the prevention of developmental disabilities that are novel or unique to the current developmental disability prevention work in the state.

“Preventing developmental disabilities begins long before a woman gets pregnant and continues long after her child is born. Educating new or young parents on the harmful impact of lead paint, for example, is one simple yet effective way to help prevent these types of disabilities. We look forward to the implementation of these innovative proposals and the impact they will have on the quality of life of parents and children,” said Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Seifried, who leads the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

Funding was provided to these organizations for the following projects:

  • Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern NJ will work with school districts in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties to implement a nationally recognized K-12 Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Education and Prevention Curriculum to educate young students about FASD. The project will also provide IDD prevention education to college students, and provide screening and early intervention education to school nurses.
  • New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics will educate primary care clinicians and community stakeholders about the importance of prevention, early identification and referral of children with elevated blood lead levels. It will also educate pediatric providers about the Department of Community Affairs’ remediation program so that they can refer families to receive free home inspections to identify potential sources of lead. 
  • SPAN Parent Advocacy Network will focus on maternal, paternal and children’s health and mental health by providing leadership training and education, and community engagement for women and men of childbearing age to prevent IDDs, specifically Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The project will address the social determinants of health including poverty, language barriers, Adverse Childhood Experiences, societal and environmental stressors, access to service systems, immigration status, language barriers, and other factors that influence issues such as smoking, substance use, and nutrition.

The three organizations will receive funding for three years. A maximum award of $185,000 per year will be available to each organization to implement their proposals.

The grants are funded through June 30, 2025.

The OPDD may consider future support for project models that show their efficacy and are believed to have the potential for further replication throughout New Jersey.