Disability Advocacy Resources

Disability Advocacy Resources

The information on this site is intended to link CASA advocates with information and services to better advocate for CASA children with disabilities. This site will be continuously amended with additional resources as they become available. 

Current topics include:
• General Information
• Healthcare and Special Education Case Management
• Family Support Services
• Family Support Organizations
• Information on Special Education
• Employment Services
• Transitioning to Adulthood
• Housing After Foster Care

**Please contact Case Supervisor and Disabilities Advocacy Specialist Lauren Kestenbaum at lkestenbaum@casaessex.org with any additional questions. 

General Information


• The State of New Jersey and PerformCare work together to administer the publicly-funded developmental disability service delivery system for children and youth up to age 21. Services include information and community resources, family support services, summer camp assistance and more.

• For Frequently Asked Questions about PerformCare in regard to children with developmental disabilities see www.performcarenj.org/pdf/families/faq-developmental-intellectual-disabilities.pdf 

Division of Disability Services (“DDD”), NJ State Department of Human Services

• The Division of Developmental Disabilities' Supports Program funds services and supports for New Jersey adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live in a non-licensed setting. See www.state.nj.us/humanservices/ddd/services/ and www.state.nj.us/humanservices/ddd/programs/supports_program.html 

Autism New Jersey

• Autism New Jersey is the largest statewide network of parents and professionals dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

Healthcare and Special Education Case Management

Special Child Health Services Case Management Unit (SCHCS CMU) 

• All SCHS CMU Case Managers, with parent consent, work with the child’s parents, physician, and/or specialists to evaluate an affected child’s strengths and needs; and collaborates with the family and community-based partners to develop and individual service plan (ISP) for the child and family. Case manages medical and educational services. For children in resource homes or parent homes – not available for children in group homes or therapeutic homes.

Family Support Services

Division of Disability Services (“DDD”), NJ State Department of Human Services

• For an EXTENSIVE list of organizations – governmental, community organizations and professionals –working to assist people with disabilities, see www.state.nj.us/humanservices/dds/documents/RD_16%20PQ_Final0316.pdf (only 2016 available)


• Family Support Services are a coordinated system of on-going public and private supports, services, resources, and other assistance, which are designed to maintain and enhance the quality of life of a young person with an intellectual/developmental disability and his or her family. 

• List of Family Support Organizations: www.performcarenj.org/families/fsos.aspx 

• For Information and Community Resources: www.performcarenj.org/families/disability/comm-resources.aspx 

Family Support Organizations

Arc of New Jersey

• The Arc of New Jersey is a statewide service and advocacy organization for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, with twenty local chapters serving every county. 

Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN)

• SPAN offers families, professionals, policy makers and our parent center colleagues information, resources, support and advocacy assistance addressing: effective parent involvement, child care, general and special education, dropout and bullying prevention, child welfare, health care, mental health, youth leadership, transition to adult life, incarcerated youth, military family support, violence prevention & more.

The Family Resource Network

• The Family Resource Network is the largest statewide provider of community based family support services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 


• Statewide program that offers peer support for mothers with children of special needs. 

Information on Special Education

Special Education Advocacy for Children with Disabilities in Foster Care

Special Education Advocacy for Children with Autism
• This PDF document goes into detail about the rights that students with autism are entitled to in school, different instructional methods that work well with these students, different types of therapies that are successful with these students, and how the school can take a “team approach” to working with the population of students with autism in their school. 

Employment Services

New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) http://careerconnections.nj.gov/careerconnections/plan/foryou/disable/vocational_rehabilitation_services.shtml 

• State employment services for any individual with a physical, mental, cognitive, or other form of disability that has a substantial impediment to employment; individuals may qualify for the services including career counseling, supported employment, evaluations and restorations, financial assessments and planning, job accommodations/equipment and vehicle modifications, training opportunities, interpretation services and small business funding.

Employment Resource Guide for Children with Autism

• Autism Speaks provides a document that is a resource guide for different components of employment and other options for individuals with disabilities as they make the transition into adulthood. Some of the topics on this PDF include Preparation, Career Exploration, Types of Employment, Job Matching & Searching, and Options other than Employment. This document also provides a list of resources and agencies that can help with the process of finding employment. 

Transitioning to Adulthood

Transition Supports for Children with Autism 

o The Community-based Skills Assessment (CSA) is an important tool that can help children with autism and their families to create a plan for the transition into adulthood. The CSA was designed for parents and professionals to assess the skills and abilities of the child (as young as age 12 and through adulthood) in order to develop a comprehensive plan. There is a link at the bottom of this webpage where one can download the CSA. (888) 288-4762; familyservice@autismspeaks.org. 

o This PDF is a guide on how to help children and young adults with autism become more integrated members of their communities. This document provides a list of community resources, as well as different activities available to these youths in their schools and local communities. This resource also discusses relevant social skills for the community and workplace, and goes into detail about safety concerns/skills as families and providers help these youths to become more independent (including safety tips for using public transportation).

• Autism After 16:
o www.autismafter16.com/article/02-02-2012/new-jersey-roadmap is a website that is dedicated to helping families to navigate their child’s experiences with autism after childhood, as many resources seem to become scarce once they reach adulthood. This specific page gives a list of resources for teenagers with autism and their families regarding making the transition from high school to college and employment, as pertaining to the laws and regulations in the state of New Jersey. There is a “Contact Us” button on the top left-hand corner of the website.

Housing After Foster Care

Community Access Unlimited 
• A non-profit organization that provides a variety of services to youth and adults with disabilities. These services include housing, life-skills training, employment skills, health maintenance, transportation assistance, and much more. CAU also provides support coordination and in-home supports. 

• This website offers a listing of different residential and group homes for adults with a variety of needs and disabilities. 

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