Selecting a Group Home or Agency

No agency will be perfect but for your loved one to succeed make sure everything is covered in the preplanning meeting and written down.​ Be deliberate and take your time. This is a tough decision.

Steps

  • Location: Where do you want your loved one to reside in? How close are they to resources?
     

  • Agencies: Identify which agencies service the areas you are comfortable with by checking Provider Search which allows users to search by name of services. You may filter your search results further by entering locations, zip code, radius etc. Providers are responsible for updating DDD with their current information.

    *Note: double check information listed by contacting the providers directly in this source as some inaccuracies have been reported in the past. past to have inaccurate information.

  • Provider Performance Data: The Office of Program Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) operates a Risk Management System (RMS) to promote a positive quality of life for all persons with developmental disabilities by ensuring safety and well-being. 

  • Background Check: Do your homework! Think about running a background check on the CEO’s of the agency especially if it’s one of the newer agencies that have started to crop up to just make sure how fiscally solvent they may be. Know the difference between a non-profit and for-profit company and decide whether that’s an important consideration for you.

  • OPRA Request (Open Public Records Act): Also know that by contacting the municipal clerk in the town the home resides in, you will be able to file an OPRA request to see how many times 911 has had to respond to individual emergencies in the home.

  • Budget: Know your tier and budgetary dollars. Ask how much staff is being paid and know the maximum billable amount an agency can charge.

  • Home Infrastructure: Ask about the infrastructure of the home and what their plans are to cover for staff that don’t show up, what do their meal plans look like along with their activity calendars? Get samples of menus and weekly outings they have taken.

  • Ask if they have a Human Rights Committee or Behavioral Management Committee and get the names of those individuals.

  • Make sure you get names of parents/guardians that are or will be in your child’s home. With the Stephen Komninos Law in effect, this should not be a problem. If it is, think carefully if you want your child there.

  • Financials: Financials should be discussed.  If an agency is  requesting 100% of the individuals check, you should proceed with caution. Make sure you know everything that this covers, to include a funeral trust if necessary. Call Disability Rights if there is a question on this matter and know that other families have successfully been able to negotiate that fee.

  • False Promises: With the many smaller agencies cropping up trying to capture the budgetary dollars of your loved one, many have made promises of specially trained staff, behaviorist always available, tailor made plans especially designed for your loved one. BE CAUTIOUS, for the most part these are false statements.

  • One Party Consent: Please know that NJ is a one-party consent state, you may record all phone conversations and meetings which might come in handy later if a dispute erupts.

  • Application Packet: Your DDD case manager or support coordinator can assist in getting your loved one’s packet completed and sent out by the community development branch of DDD. Finally, make a few phone calls yourself and speak with the intake coordinator for the agencies you may be interested in. You can usually find out if any openings exist or if there will be any in the near future. Get your loved one’s name on their waiting list if you have found an agency you are interested in.

  • DDD Meetings: Attend the DDD quarterly meetings or your local family support council where you will find a wealth of information plus parents who have invaluable experience.

CONTACT  |  njpdda@gmail.com

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