Largest Budget in State History Provides Needed Support for the Autism Community
July 21, 2021
On June 29th, Governor Murphy signed the 2022 State Budget into law. The $46.4 billion budget is the largest in New Jersey history and includes several appropriations that will greatly benefit the autism and I/DD community in the coming year.
Special education students experienced significant learning loss due to pandemic-related school closures over the last year and half. The Governor recognized this need by including $400 million in extraordinary special education aid, an increase of $125 million. This appropriation is expected to cover the State’s obligation of 85% of school districts’ extraordinary special education expenses in the coming year.
Additionally, the State will use the American Rescue Plan’s State Fiscal Recovery Fund to finance an additional year of special education for three classes of students with disabilities. The estimated cost is approximately $600 million over three years.
For the first time in more than a decade, the Governor included an additional $108 million for the Children’s System of Care (CSOC) to increase the rates of their contracted providers. This rate increase will greatly impact the 60,000 children served by CSOC who rely on in-home, in-community, and out-of-home services throughout New Jersey and ensure that providers can attract and retain qualified staff. Approximately, one quarter of the 60,000 children CSOC serves (15,000) have intellectual/developmental disabilities.
This budget will continue the State’s pandemic-related commitment to DDD’s adult programs by appropriating $57 million to continue supplemental payments to residential providers that have been providing additional staffing and resources since the pandemic forced the closure of day programs. This budget includes an additional $25 million to help day programs as they begin the process of reopening.
The Governor continued his commitment to Direct Support Professionals (DSP) by appropriating $44 million (a total of $88 million with the federal match) to ensure that DSP wages stay above the rising minimum wage scale that increases annually through 2024. This is a much-needed boost as providers are struggling to hire and retain qualified DSPs throughout the State. This appropriation will increase wages for DSPs and manager-level staff of contracted providers for the Division of Development Disabilities (DDD), Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS).
We thank the Governor and the Legislature for their leadership through this pandemic and the substantial financial investment they are making to support individuals with autism and their families throughout New Jersey. For any questions or clarification on the state budget, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.