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Raising Awareness of Child Development Milestones

Source:  Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive

The U.S. Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched  Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!, a collaborative effort with federal partners to encourage developmental and behavioral screening for children to support the families and providers who care for them.

By raising awareness of child development, Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! will help families look for and celebrate milestones; promote universal screenings; identify delays as early as possible; and improve the support available to help children succeed in school and

Oppose Tracking Youth with Disabilities into Sheltered Workshops and Subminimum Wage Jobs!

The Workforce Invesment Act is being reauthorized.  Unfortunately, two key provisions would weaken the WIA.  As an organization that serves children, youth and young adults with disabilities and their families, SPAN strongly believes that these provisions are steps in the wrong direction for the disability community, at a time when it is critical to support career development for people with disabilities.  Oppose moving the Rehabilitative Services Administration from the USDept. or Ed to the Dept. of Labor.

First, the proposed move of RSA to DOL comes at the time when RSA is collaborating

Guttenberg Scholarship for Students with Disabilities at NJIT

The New Jersey Institute of Technology, New Jersey’s largest public research university, has a long history of providing access to education for the engineering, technological, and management professions to all students, regardless of economic, social, or developmental/physical disabilities.  In keeping with this tradition, the Guttenberg Scholarship Fund continues to provide financial assistance for qualified students with disabilities.

NJ DOE Agrees to Settlement in Inclusion Lawsuit by SPAN, Others!

Nearly seven years after the lawsuit was filed, and more than five years since the District Court denied the State’s motion to dismiss, disability advocates entered into an historic settlementwith the New Jersey Department of Education to ensure that New Jersey students with disabilities receive an appropriate education in the “least restrictive environment.”  Plaintiffs in the lawsuit included Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ), the Education Law Center (ELC), the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) and the ARC of New Jersey.

Evidence for the benefits of making classes smaller

From National Education Policy Center (2/18/2014):  While a series of high-profile and often controversial school reforms has gotten the lion’s share of attention from policymakers over the last decade or two, one reform appears to have been consistently ignored and marginalized: reducing the size of classes.

Yet, as Professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach points out in a new policy brief released today, the evidence that class size reduction helps raise student achievement is strong.

SPAN is Helping Families Impacted by Superstorm Sandy

New Jersey's families faced many challenges due to Sandy.  In addition to the trauma of displacement or sheltering in place, families faced closed schools, economic hardship, and emotional trauma.  But families of children with special needs were disproportionately impacted by the storm and its aftermath.  Under its new SuperStorm Sandy Resiliency Project, SPAN now provides intensive assistance to families of children with special needs in the counties hit hardest by the storm:  Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union.

SPAN Family Resource

SPAN Celebrates 25 Years

On January 27th, SPAN celebrated its 25th year of serving families in New Jersey.  More than 100 partners and supporters joined in an evening of festivities at The Newark Club.  Not able to join us?  Enjoy photos from the event.  Check out the program and congratulatory messages from across the country.  Learn more about the celebration and about how you can support SPAN's mission for families in the next 25 years and beyond.

NJ-DDD Cash Option Respite Ended on Feb. 1

Alert!  The Cash Option (Self-Directed) Respite from the NJ Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities has been discontinued effective 2/1/14!  (Please note that respite provided under the Department of Children and Families is not affected by this change.)   The DDD website has the initial 12/23/13 notice and the 1/24/14 update at  Per DDD, “This does not mean that these services are being discontinued.”  It just means that families will no longer be reimbursed directly.

Expanded Medicaid Eligibility Comes to NJ!

Beginning January 2014, NJ FamilyCare - New Jersey's publicly funded health insurance program - includes the NJ Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid and Medicaid expansion populations. That means qualified NJ residents of any age may be eligible for free or low cost health insurance that covers doctor visits, prescriptions, vision, dental care, mental health and substance use services and even hospitalization.

If you are a NJ resident and you need more information on this program, please go to the NJ Family Care website,,  and see how

Still time to purchase health insurance!

There is still time to purchase affordable health coverage that provides essential health benefits on the NJ Health insurance exchange/marketplace! You can do it on line at  You can also get information or enroll using other options, such as the phone, on line chat, or in-person navigators.  Find out more at