Says from Clinical, Fiscal and Moral Standpoint, Community Options a ‘No-Brainer’

(VOORHEES) — Assemblyman Lou Greenwald on Wednesday said the emergency closure of the state-run Greenbrook Developmental Center due to flooding and storm damage once again highlighted the pressing need for community-based alternatives for developmentally disabled individuals and their families.

“Thankfully, Greenbrook was evacuated efficiently and safely,” said Greenwald (D-Camden). “But this closure is just the latest demonstration of why our state needs more community options for people with developmental disabilities. Spending state dollars to repair costly, outdated facilities when we know we can save money and produce better care outcomes in the community is the wrong move.”

Greenwald added, “Let’s review the facts: we know that community care provides better results for less money. Yet the Department of Human Services wants to spend precious state resources to repair an outdated facility instead of investing in more effective and more progressive options? It doesn’t make sense.

“Instead of investing in costly state-run institutions, we should invest in cost-effective community alternatives so that individuals with developmental disabilities can live happy, fulfilling lives as members of the community. From a clinical, fiscal and moral standpoint, promoting community options is a no-brainer.”

New Jersey currently ranks 49th out of 50 states in the institutionalization of people with developmental disabilities. Greenwald has sponsored bipartisan legislation (A-1673) to reverse this trend, by providing funding for community programs to transition individuals out of institutions.

“We have heard from families loud and clear: they want their loved ones to have the chance to live and thrive in the community,” said Greenwald. “We should use this opportunity for progress by investing in better care for more people that costs less, not by spending state dollars to repair aging facilities and maintain the status quo. Focusing on community-oriented care will save the state millions of dollars and it promote better care and better lives for developmentally disabled individuals and their families.”

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