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NJ Paid Family Leave Focus Groups!

Did you know about NJ's paid family leave/family leave insurance?  Did you have or adopt a child in the last 2 years?  Interested in sharing your story about whether or not you took advantage of paid family leave insurance? Read more about the project at and check out the flyers about the focus groups at .  You can find out about who is eligible for paid family leave and how to apply to use it at 

SPAN Looking for Stories about Use of NJ Family Care in NJ!

The Statewide Parent Advocacy Network is helping the NJ American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP-NJ) get stories from families of children with special needs about their experience with Medicaid.  We need both positive stories on access to care as well as problems families have had getting care for their child.  We are also concerned that federal funding to enhance funding for pediatricians who accept Medicaid ended as of December 31, 2014.  This may mean that fewer doctors will accept Medicaid, making it harder for families to get medical care.

Celebrate National Women's Health Week!

Celebrate National Women’s Health Week with us May 10-16, 2015

Promote your health at every age! It’s never too early or late to work toward being your healthiest you. The 16th annual National Women’s Health Week kicked off on Mother’s Day, May 10, and is celebrated until May 16, 2015. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, the goal is to empower women to make their health a priority. The week also serves as a time to help women understand what steps they can take to improve their health. Take the first step!

SPAN refunded as NJ's Family to Family Health Information Center!

Family Voices @ SPAN has been notified that we have received three years of funding to continue to serve as NJ's Family to Family Health Information Center for families of children with special healthcare needs!  Congratulations to the SPAN F2F team of Mercedes Rosa, Lauren Agoratus, Shirley Johnson, and Jeannette Mejias, and to all of us at SPAN!  Find out more about our F2F at

April is Autism ACCEPTANCE Month!

What is Autism Acceptance Month?  April is Autism Acceptance Month. During Autism Acceptance Month, we focus on sharing positive, respectful, and accurate information about autism and autistic people.  Autism Acceptance Month promotes acceptance and celebration of autistic people as family members, friends, classmates, co-workers, and community members making valuable contributions to our world. Autism is a natural variation of the human experience, and we can all create a world which values, includes, and celebrates all kinds of minds.

Sexual assaults against women with disabilities far too common

Sexual assaults against girls and women are far too common, but girls and women with disabilities are much more likely to be sexually assaulted.  Find out more about this in this article about sexual assault on campus.

DCF Commissioner Blake Celebrates Parent Leadership Month!

DCF Commissioner Alison Blake provided welcoming comments at the February 27 Parent Leadership Breakfast in Newark and commended Parents Anonymous of NJ and the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) for our support of parent leadership at all levels.  Her comments follow:

Celebrating Parent Leadership Month, this morning I participated in Parents Anonymous’ Parent Leadership Recognition Breakfast.  This annual event salutes parents and their commitment to raising strong families.

SPAN Testimony Supporting NJ's HCBS Transition Plan

On Thursday, February 19, there is a public hearing about the state's proposed Home and Community-Based Services Transition Plan.  The plan is a serious attempt to move NJ into compliance with the new federal rules and to help make NJ a more inclusive state for people with disabilities.

PARCC Testing and Students with Disabilities

There is an ongoing debate in our state and across the country about the new Common Core State Standards and Assessments and whether they are the right approach for our nation's education accountability system.  Parents, educators and advocates may have a variety of opinions about the importance, usefulness, or appropriateness of the new assessments such as the PARCC assessment in NJ.  While some of these arguments may have merit as to the validity, reliability and use of the assessments, it is important to note that whatever assessment is used by the state in its acccountability systems,

Action Needed on Congressional version of ESEA Reauthorization

SOURCE:  National Down Syndrome Congress.  February 10, 2015

Action Needed!  Chairman Kline of the Education and Workforce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita recently introduced the Student Success Act. Please contact your Representative if he or she is on the Education and Workforce Committee. We just heard that this Committee is meeting tomorrow at 10am to debate and amend the bill, so NOW is when you can make a difference.  A phone call is best with the short time frame we have.