New Jersey's 25th Legislative District

Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco Calls on Governor Murphy to Reopen Congregate Day Programs

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco sent Governor Phil Murphy a letter (click here for PDF) calling on the Governor to reopen congregate day programs funded by the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).

Sen. Tony Bucco sent Gov. Phil Murphy a letter calling on the Governor to reopen congregate day programs funded by the Division of Developmental Disabilities. (SenateNJ.com)

“Congregate day programs provide critical services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Unfortunately, due to Governor Murphy’s inconsistent COVID-19 policies, these facilities have been unable to reopen. This is in direct contrast to other neighboring states, such as New York, where adult day care facilities remain open,” said Bucco (R-25). “Over the last several days, I have met with countless parents who are worried that their adult children with disabilities are being left behind by the Murphy Administration. This is unacceptable. I urge the Governor to reopen these facilities immediately so that individuals who need these programs can receive the support they deserve.”

The full text of the letter is below:

March 29, 2021

Dear Governor Murphy,

I am writing to you to express my concerns regarding the closure of congregate day programs funded by the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). These programs are not only critical for many families in my district, but also for thousands of families throughout New Jersey. I am extremely concerned that their continued shutdown will have a severe impact on those who need these services the most.

As you know, thousands of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities attend congregate day programs in New Jersey. The programs are community-based, and give individuals the tools to learn new skills, build long-lasting friendships, and become caring, responsible adults. Unfortunately, the mandatory closures due to COVID-19 restrictions prevents this vital communal interaction.

According to the DDD website, “Programs may reopen starting March 29, 2021 so long as they meet the congregate day program re-opening requirements and fall within the required categories of the NJ Department of Health’s COVID-19 Activity Level Index (CALI).” Strangely, these requirements are far more strict that those that apply to public schools, and will prevent most of the day programs from reopening. As I am sure you are aware, many schools in New Jersey remain open in some form for in-person instruction, even if those schools are located in counties with a “High” CALI rating.

I strongly urge that you reconsider the reopening protocols for these programs and allow day programs for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to reopen. Now is the time to lift these burdensome restrictions that have been imposed on the congregate day programs so that they can effectively serve their local communities and the families of New Jersey.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter.

Sincerely,

Senator Anthony M. Bucco
25th Legislative District

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