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SPAN Celebrates 25 Years

On January 27th, SPAN celebrated its 25th year of serving families in New Jersey.  More than 100 partners and supporters joined in an evening of festivities at The Newark Club.  Not able to join us?  Enjoy photos from the event.  Check out the program and congratulatory messages from across the country.  Learn more about the celebration and about how you can support SPAN's mission for families in the next 25 years and beyond.

NJ-DDD Cash Option Respite Ended on Feb. 1

Alert!  The Cash Option (Self-Directed) Respite from the NJ Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities has been discontinued effective 2/1/14!  (Please note that respite provided under the Department of Children and Families is not affected by this change.)   The DDD website has the initial 12/23/13 notice and the 1/24/14 update at  Per DDD, “This does not mean that these services are being discontinued.”  It just means that families will no longer be reimbursed directly.

Expanded Medicaid Eligibility Comes to NJ!

Beginning January 2014, NJ FamilyCare - New Jersey's publicly funded health insurance program - includes the NJ Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid and Medicaid expansion populations. That means qualified NJ residents of any age may be eligible for free or low cost health insurance that covers doctor visits, prescriptions, vision, dental care, mental health and substance use services and even hospitalization.

If you are a NJ resident and you need more information on this program, please go to the NJ Family Care website,,  and see how

Still time to purchase health insurance!

There is still time to purchase affordable health coverage that provides essential health benefits on the NJ Health insurance exchange/marketplace! You can do it on line at  You can also get information or enroll using other options, such as the phone, on line chat, or in-person navigators.  Find out more at 

Webinar on US DoE School Discipline Guidance

The U.S. Department of Education (ED), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), released on January 8th a school discipline guidance package that will assist states, districts and schools in developing solutions to enhance school climate, and improve school discipline policies and practices. While incidents of school violence have decreased overall, too many schools are still struggling to create positive, safe environments.

Nominations for NJ-CDD Community Building Awards

NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities is Now Accepting Nominations for its Community Building Awards.  Do you know an educator, community leader, disabilities advocate, or any other member of your community who has shown commitment to making our schools and our society  more inclusive and considerate of individuals with developmental disabilities?  If so, NJCDD wants to hear from you!   From now until February 14, 2014, nominate individuals or organizations who have gone above and beyond to promote inclusive values in New Jersey.  
Visit the Community Building Awards page to learn more

Five Tips to Keep Kids Learning During the Holidays

Holiday and winter breaks are just weeks away, and while students and teachers will get a well-deserved break from the classroom, it doesn’t mean children need to stop learning. Here are a few tips from the Department of Education to keep children’s minds sharp and challenged during their break, and it might just prevent cabin fever.  Read More >>>

Affordable Care Act Marketplace Enrollment Tips!

Did you know that there are many ways for you to enroll in the Affordable Care Act Marketplace to get lower-cost health insurance that meets the requirements of Essential Health Benefits?  This fact sheet provides you with tips on how you can enroll.  Remember that you must enroll by December 23, 2013 in order to be covered by January 1, 2014!  To find out more, go to

Inclusion Mini-Conference for Families


Mini-Conference For Families


Inclusion Works: Improving Literacy Achievement!

Download Flyer 

Blog by New Director for USDE Office of English Language Acquisition

Check out this blog from the newly appointed assistant deputy secretary and director of the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) at the U.S. Department of Education, Libia Gil. OELA supports high-quality instruction for linguistically and culturally diverse students as well as professional development programs for teachers of English learners. OELA programs are supporting progress in classrooms across the country, but "I know we have so much more work to do."
"America’s long-term prosperity is linked to whether English learners attain the knowledge and skills they need to earn a