Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester), chair of the Assembly Women & Children Committee made the following remarks at the opening of Thursday’s hearing regarding the impact of COVID-19 on programs for New Jersey children with developmental disabilities:
“Throughout our state, there have been countless disruptions to important programs and activities that benefit residents. School programs for children with developmental disabilities are no exception, since they have been unable to take place in-person while schools were operating remotely.
“These programs – which run before, during and after regular school hours – provide services that help special education students reach important educational and developmental milestones. Without them, many have been falling behind and losing key skills.
“The purpose of today’s hearing is to determine which programs by the Department of Children and Families are currently available for children with developmental disabilities, in anticipation of school reopenings. We will also evaluate what issues families are facing when it comes to accessing programs and qualifying for care, as we consider ways to expand eligibility guidelines for these families during the ongoing pandemic.
“I want to thank all those testifying today for providing your perspective and insight into these issues. This committee will carefully consider your testimony as we work towards solutions for children with developmental disabilities and the families who care for them.”