TRENTON – Building on her comments from last Wednesday’s budget hearing with the Department of Children and Families, Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer, continued to push today to reduce the number of out-of-state placements for individuals requiring assistance in dealing with developmental disabilities and mental health disorders:
“Every out-of-state placement puts additional strain upon a New Jersey family looking to find treatment for a loved one dealing with a developmental disabilities or mental health disorder. Essential family contact is minimized by this practice and slows down the treatment process.
“Last year the Legislature passed S-205, which now requires the Commissioners of the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Human Services to maintain lists of all available State-owned properties that would be suitable for use as a residential treatment facility for those in need of mental health treatment or living with developmental disabilities.
“In the recent past, $500 million in state assets have been identified for possible sale, so of which was real estate that could be used to house in-state treatment facilities that could move most, if not all, of our out-of-state placements back to New Jersey.
“Increasing the number of in-state service providers would not only help families to stay close together and in constant contact during treatment, but also add jobs to the New Jersey economy and the tax revenues that would come from those jobs.
“We need to be more aggressive in identifying these potential facilities and finding ways to provide those mental health and developmental disability services currently unavailable in New Jersey.”