The Developmental Disabilities Planning Institute (DDPI) of the BCSR conducts on-line assessments for the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). This data collection effort assesses the functional abilities, medical status, and service needs among New Jersey residents who are applying for services from the DDD. The DDPI team programmed the New Jersey Comprehensive Assessment Tool (NJ CAT) survey into Qualtrics and beta tested its functionality on-line. The team now tracks all assessments and conducts follow ups on those not completed on a timely basis; staffs a help line for family and agency respondents; creates datasets and manages the data; and conducts analyses regarding competency assessments, levels of need, and challenging behaviors with attention to living arrangements and regional differences. In total, there are approximately 30,000 adults in New Jersey receiving DDD services. The DDPI has completed over 20,000 NJ CAT assessments and fielded over 5,000 messages through the Help Desk.
DDPI has provided technical support and evaluation studies for the DDD since 1994, when the Institute was established as an independent, university-based organization. Early DDPI work focused on following individuals who had moved into community residences from state developmental centers. These studies were based on an exhaustive review of practices in other states and the conduct of a series of specialized analyses, including reliability and validity testing. Much of the DDPI’s recent work has focused on assisting the DDD with its implementation of the 2007 Olmstead Plan: “Path to Progress” in response to the 1999 Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581(1999), which held that states cannot segregate people with disabilities in institutions against their wishes when community-based services are available. Currently, the DDPI is supporting the DDD as it moves to a Fee-for-Service model of service delivery.