The Collaborative for Citizen Directed Supports - New Jersey
We are an organization dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities to fully participate in the design, delivery and evaluation of their services, with the support they need, from whom they want.
Ultimately, this means people and their families are supported in living lives of meaning, of their own choosing.
On what would have seemed like a typical work day in 2015, thought bubbles burst in the minds of a few like-minded professionals: “We must ensure that person-directed services thrive in New Jersey!”. This was no typical day: The Collaborative for Citizen-Directed Supports – NJ was born.
The Collaborative did not morph from thought bubble to force for change entity quickly or magically.
At the time, the transition of NJ’s service system from contract-based to Fee-For-Service (FFS) was moving forward with great gusto, and we knew we were not alone in our passion to broadcast the importance of people directing their services. Things were changing and the changes were big. We knew that FFS did not mean that individuals stopped choosing their services or that they had limitations to those services, but we also knew that change creates uncertainty and tension. It was more important than ever to create a space for person-centered thinkers to join together, to learn together, teach together, and ultimately, to thrive together.
NJ DDD Leadership heard us, supported us, and while we were not as established (or nearly as big) as existing trade organizations, we were given a seat at the table as the only organization exclusively focused on citizen-directed supports.
Things took off quickly – we set up forums and invited anyone and everyone who was interested in learning more about our vision to come and ask questions, learn more, and decide if they wanted to join NJ’s “first of its kind” organization. We enjoyed great conversation and debate as we met individuals who use services, other professionals, family members, advocates, and general public members…and then COVID came, and our focus on forums shifted to a focus on keeping people safe. We joined an amazing team of other professionals, who were deployed from DDD offices, packed up with masks and gloves to drive around NJ and distribute to those in need. We were committed to make sure people had what they needed to stay safe.
At the same time, remaining true to our mission to inform, educate, and promote the tenets of self-direction, we hosted virtual sessions to help people think about alternatives to day programs and other congregate supports which literally were not available. Collaborating with others, including those who had no prior interest in or experience with directing their supports, was a confidence-building experience for all of us who were trying to cope in a scary, locked down world. It is, and will always be, about helping people get what they need.
Today, we continue to collaborate, move forward, and invest in opportunities and projects which uphold the right of every citizen to choose their services.
Meet Our Self-Advocate Advisor
Anthony Vazquez, B.A, is a Self-Advocate and has been with the Collaborative for since 2020.
He continues to share his experiences living with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and discusses home aides, college, and joining the workforce with a disability.
He is fluent in Spanish and hopes to share his story with a wide range of communities.
Outside of work, Anthony enjoys spending time with his cats and furthering his knowledge in information technology (I.T).
We believe the time is now to join together to challenge tradition and to promote and expand
citizen-directed services and supports in New Jersey.
By Doing This:
Creating opportunities for shared learning and teaching
Networking with colleagues and subject matter experts, all vetted by the Collaborative
Sharing access to information on best practices in I/DD services & supports
Offering technical assistance on matters of compliance, policy and regulation
Guiding and supporting each other through the many challenges we collectively face in our work
Promoting the expertise your organization has to expand citizen directed supports throughout New Jersey
Our Current Member Organizations
Founded in 2007, Values Into Action NJ is a statewide support coordination agency dedicated to helping people live the lives of their own design.
Royal Community Support offers individuals the opportunity and support to live independent lifestyles. We believe each person is the architect in creating the blueprint of their life.
Guided by the principles of self-determination, we support people with disabilities living, loving, learning, working, worshipping, and playing as valued citizens who contribute to and receive the benefits of belonging to the communities where they choose to live.
Collaborating and consulting with an international network of person-centered thinkers, Eiros provides innovative person-centered supports based on the hopes, dreams, and desires of the person.
Gold Medal Home Health was founded in 2012 with the mission to assist individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities to live as independent a life as possible.
Founded in Service, Known for Service, Pride in Service, and the Future in Service. For over 25 years, Service Access & Management is committed to its vision of leaving everyone, better off!