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Twin Sisters Move to a Community Home from a Developmental Center
TRENTON – Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Jennifer Velez today visited the home of Pamela and Donna Barry, who after years of living in two large state developmental centers, now live together in a group home, located in Farmingdale, Monmouth County.   “Visiting today with the Barry sisters and their family has been a wonderful opportunity to see how they are thriving in the community,” said Commissioner Velez.  “Through the work and the love of their family, Pamela and Donna now have a home of their own, with new experiences that they can share together.”

In 1966, at the age of three, Pamela and Donna both were diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and admitted to Vineland Developmental Center, in Vineland, Cumberland County.  In 1978, the Barry sisters transferred to Woodbridge Developmental Center to be closer to family.

Dorothy Casey, Pamela and Donna’s mother, is pleased with her daughters’ new life together. “At first, I was not in favor of my daughters moving out of a developmental center,” said Dorothy. “Now, I am ecstatic, the team that put this house together did an outstanding job.”

In 2008, Pamela and Donna’s parents began exploring the option of community living, becoming familiar with community homes and considering a variety of provider agencies that operate community residential programs.

In 2011, the parents chose the provider agency Benchmark.  “It just clicked,” said Carl Barry, father of the twins. “We participated with Benchmark in locating a home about half-way between my home and their mother’s home; and we chose a day program, operated by Ladacin Network.”  On November 22, 2013, Pamela and Donna moved into their new home and began attending the day program.

Today, the Barry sisters are 54 years old.   Both use a wheelchair for mobility, which they can propel on their own. In addition to their day program, they attend dances and other community events. “I see our daughters interacting more, it’s like they are coming out of a shell,” said Carl.

“Our daughters are experiencing new things and learning, and we are learning too,” said Dorothy.   “There are always bumps in the road when you make a big change like this, but I can’t say enough good things about community living,”

A video from today’s event will be available for families who want to know more about community living programs for people with developmental disabilities. It will be posted on the DHS facebook page next week at

There are more than 2,300 DHS’ licensed community residential programs for adults with developmental disabilities in New Jersey. A variety of community services and supports are funded by the DHS’ Division of Developmental Disabilities and provided by more than 280 privately operated provider agencies.

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