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TRENTON – New Jersey’s efforts to ensure seniors and adults with disabilities in need of long-term services and supports have information and easy access to community-based alternatives reached a milestone today when an enhanced service delivery system known as the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) became operational in all 21 counties.
 
 
The ADRC is a joint initiative between the New Jersey Departments of Health and Senior Services and Human Services, with the 21 Area Agencies on Aging serving as the county lead agencies in partnership with other state and local governmental and nonprofit agencies in the aging and disability services networks.
The ADRCs provide consumers with improved access to community programs such as meals-on-wheels, personal care, housekeeping, specialized transportation, assisted living and nursing home care. It also connects seniors and adults with disabilities with work and volunteer opportunities, insurance programs, financial supportive services, health promotion and disease prevention programs, housing, crisis intervention, and other home and community programs.
“The ADRC is a key component of the State’s plan to transform our overall long-term care system to one that encourages community-based services and consumer direction,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd.  “ADRC gives consumers greater choice and more control over how, when and where needed services are provided.”
        Traditionally, services for senior citizens have been administered separately from those for persons with disabilities, even though these groups share many of the same needs and face many of the same barriers to care.
Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez said “Today’s achievement creates a single point of access in every county for aging residents and individuals with disabilities to get information or referrals, submit applications and receive certain services. This type of one-stop resource and convenience is invaluable, especially for people with mobility and transportation challenges.”
New Jersey was one of 12 states in 2003 to receive a grant ($798,041) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to design and test the ADRC initiative in two counties, Atlantic and Warren.  A second round of federal grant funding in 2008 ($400,000) allowed the State to refine its model and work with other counties to rollout the initiative statewide.
Services available at local ADRCs include outreach and educational activities to ensure individuals know about the array of long term services and supports available to delay or eliminate the need for institutional care.  Using computerized tools specifically designed for the ADRC, county staff screens individuals regardless of income to determine their level of need and potential financial eligibility for government-funded services.  Staff also conducts an enhanced intake survey that allows for counseling at all stages in the process and quickly identifies individuals in need of immediate interventions to maintain their independence.
As part of this effort, the State enhanced its ADRC website – www.adrcnj.org – by adding thousands of national, state and local resources, several new search options, and other consumer-friendly tools including Google translation and mapping features.  The site is Section 508 compliant for improved access to individuals with vision impairments.
 
 
 
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