NJs Push to Prevent Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

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NJ Human Services is funding a $1.6 million initiative to improve infant health outcomes in the state and reduce the incidence of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in NJ.

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDDs) are disorders that are usually present at birth and affect the trajectory of an individual’s physical, intellectual, and emotional development.

About one and six children in the U.S> have one or more developmental disabilities or other developmental delays present at birth.

“We know some developmental disabilities can be prevented through maternal, paternal and childcare practices. This funding will support the Department’s ongoing work to help prevent developmental disabilities through public awareness, education, and other effective prevention efforts, and provide better health outcomes for families and future generations of New Jerseyans,” said Commissioner Adelman.

The grants, totaling $1.6 million, were awarded by the Office for the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities (OPDD) with the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).

Grant recipients were encouraged to submit proposals that address the prevention of developmental disabilities that are novel or unique to the current developmental disability prevention work in the state.

“Preventing developmental disabilities begins long before a woman gets pregnant and continues long after her child is born. Educating new or young parents on the harmful impact of lead paint, for example, is one simple yet effective way to help prevent these types of disabilities,” said Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Seifried, who leads the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

Funding was provided to the following organizations for the following projects:

Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern NJ
will work with school districts in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren counties to implement a nationally recognized K-12 Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Education and Prevention Curriculum to educate young students about FASD. The project will also provide IDD prevention education to college students and provide screening and early intervention education to school nurses.

New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
will educate primary care clinicians and community stakeholders about the importance of prevention, early identification, and referral of children with elevated blood lead levels. It will also educate pediatric providers about the Department of Community Affairs’ remediation program so that they can refer families to receive free home inspections to identify potential sources of lead.

SPAN Parent Advocacy Network will focus on maternal, paternal, and children’s health and mental health by providing leadership training and education, and community engagement for women and men of childbearing age to prevent IDDs, specifically Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The project will address the social determinants of health including poverty, language barriers, Adverse Childhood Experiences, societal and environmental stressors, access to service systems, immigration status, language barriers, and other factors that influence issues such as smoking, substance use, and nutrition.

These three organizations will receive funding for three years, through June 30, 2025, at a maximum reward of $185,000 per year for each organization to implement their proposals.

The OPDD may consider supporting future funding for project models that show their efficacy and are believed to have the potential for further replication throughout New Jersey.



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