Adult day programs in New Jersey to resume with limited capacity within next 2 weeks

State-funded day programs for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities can resume in two weeks with limited capacity.

News 12 Staff

Apr 22, 2021, 5:17 PM

Updated 1,125 days ago

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State-funded day programs for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities can resume in two weeks with limited capacity.
These programs have been on hold for most of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading some families to say that their disabled loved ones have been neglected by the Murphy administration.
“They don’t understand what’s going on. We’re their advocates. We have to scream and holler for them and that’s what we’re trying to do,” says Christine Irons, whose adult daughter has autism.
Irons’s daughter Chrislynn Tibus, 30, was going to these adult day programs six days a week before the pandemic hit.
“My daughter, I can tell, is deteriorating from being out of school and her behavior issues are getting worse,” says Irons.
Irons says that for nearly 14 months she has been virtually alone as caregiver to her daughter.
“You cannot understand her when she’s talking to you. She babbles. She’s not potty-trained. She has to be within arm’s length of us 24/7,” Irons says. “We have to bathe her, brush her teeth, clean her, change her.”
The state changed course on Thursday after an outcry from parents to allow programs in all 21 counties to resume in two weeks. Capacity will be set at 50% unless COVID-19 activity improves.
Gov. Phil Murphy says that there were issues with staffing and that, although the program isn’t under her jurisdiction, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli personally stepped in to get the programs back up and running.
“We completely understand this, but we’ve got to – as I’ve said many times – balance physical health with mental health,” Murphy said.
Irons says that she is still waiting on the details and says that she hopes a return to the routine will help her daughter.
“Chrislynn needs to keep going back to school every day and she doesn't have that. And I feel like she's neglected, from the governor and the state, because real school's back,” Irons says.
A COVID-19 vaccine is not required for the program participants, but it is encouraged.


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