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Christie's compassion for disabilities

March 6, 2017 | online article article article

For people with disabilities and their families, Gov. Chris Christie’s budget address on Tuesday was compassionate and fair. He said, “This particularly vulnerable community, a community with great potential for growth, will not be forgotten or left behind by this administration.”

Christie did a great deal more for people with developmental disabilities than did his predecessor. He consolidated institutions, closing Woodbridge Developmental Center and North Jersey Developmental Center.

Having set the bar high, his successor needs to look at the horrific institutions remaining in Vineland, Woodbine and New Lisbon, costing taxpayers over $240,000 per person. Pause should be given for the strides made in a state with complex funding and a waiting list of over 6,000 persons with developmental disabilities needing housing and support.

In states such as Mississippi, Texas and Georgia, there remain thousands warehoused in institutions who could live and be employed in the community. Hopefully, Christie will advocate for the emancipation of people with disabilities from large congregate care into places where they can prosper.

His advocacy is something that can make a very significant impact on helping others live a more meaningful life.

Robert Stack, President and CEO, Community Options, Princeton