Nashua, N.H., Feb. 2 – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is calling for people with disabilities to be able to live with their families in their own homes and not in institutions.
“We have moved in New Jersey toward favoring homecare over institutional care,” Christie said at a town hall in Nashua on the evening of the first votes being cast for president in Iowa.
“We’ve done it for two reasons. One, because we think we can do it in a smart affordable way, and two, because we think people with disabilities do better in their own home than they do in an institution,” said Christie. “Our new budget will up the reimbursement cost for that type of care, and increase the spending that we do on it because we need to make it more competitive.”
In response to the #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire, Christie said, “New Jersey institutionalized more folks with developmental disabilities than any state in America other than Texas. It’s extraordinary to me that almost regardless of the level of care that someone needed, people were being placed in institutions in New Jersey and I just thought it was wrong.”
For those that cannot live on their own or do not have family with whom to live, Christie said money saved from closing institutions could fund group homes.
Following months of protest from families of people with developmental disabilities, the New Jersey governor received bi-partisan support this July to end the Return Home New Jersey program created by former Gov. Jon Corzine.
The Return Home New Jersey program required adults with disabilities living in out-of-state specialized care facilities to be brought back to New Jersey whether they wanted to or not. Many had been living out of state for decades because there weren’t facilities in New Jersey that could handle their particular needs. Under the deal, more than 300 people with developmental disabilities will no longer be forced to leave out-of-state residential programs.