Commissioner's Task Force on Dual Diagnosis
In January, 2008, DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez convened New Jersey’s first ever task force charged with creating a plan for developing services and supports for individuals with co-occurring developmental disabilities and mental health needs. The first meeting was held on January 25, 2008. [Click here for the DDD Today article.] The Task Force members represented all areas of the dual diagnosis community including individuals and family members, advocates, professionals and state officials.
In October, 2008, the Dual Diagnosis Task Force delivered to the Commissioner a report entitled “Collaborating to Provide Supports and Services for Adults and Children with Co-Occurring Developmental Disorders and Mental Health/Behavioral Disorders.”
The report’s recommendations included:
- developing collaborative, county-based planning for individuals who have a dual diagnosis
- training direct-care and professional staff working with people with dual diagnoses
- developing a continuum of crisis-response services to both prevent the need for crisis intervention and allow individuals to gain access to crisis-response services when needed
- increasing family and other caregiver education and support through professional, as well as family and peer organizations, in order to teach individuals with dual diagnoses, families and caregivers effective behavioral management
- developing Outpatient Service Centers with the capacity to provide comprehensive assessment and evaluation, medical and dental care, integrated mental health treatment and behavior management, guidance on providing behavioral support at-home and training for the workforce.
In December, 2008, Commissioner Velez appointed an Executive Oversight Board (EOB) to provide leadership over and support for the next steps in the process of developing services for people with a dual diagnosis. EOB members were:
- Kimberly Ricketts, Commissioner, Department of Children and Families (DCF);
- Nadezhda Robinson, Director, DCF, Division of Child Behavioral Health Services;
- Kevin Martone, Deputy Commissioner, DHS; and
- Kenneth W. Ritchey, Assistant Commissioner, DHS, Division of Developmental Disabilities.
The DD Task Force reconvened in January 2009 and is continuing its work, this time to create a plan for implementing the most important recommendations included in the report.
Family Crisis HandbookDonna Icovino, Family Advocate and Co-Chair of the DHS Dual Diagnosis Task Force and Lucille Esralew, Ph.D., Program Director, SCCAT of Trinitas Regional Medical Center and member of the DHS Dual Diagnosis Task Force have co-authored a resource handbook entitled the Family Crisis Handbook: How to cope when an adult loved one with a developmental disability experiences mental health or behavioral issues. To download a copy of the handbook go to the SCCAT website.
Implementaion Plan Dual Diagnosis Task Force Implementation Plan Approved 6-24-2009
Questions & CommentsThe Task Force will periodically post draft materials on this webpage for review and public comment. Please forward your comments and any questions regarding the Task Force to this e-mail address: DHS_DualDiagnosisTaskForce@dhs.state.nj.us.