In 1983, the Executive Director of The Arc of New Jersey (formerly the Association for Retarded Citizens of New Jersey) demonstrated to Governor Thomas Kean that some types of mental retardation could be prevented. However, the degree to which the state was engaging in prevention activities was not known.
In response, Governor Kean established the Governor's Council on Prevention of Mental Retardation by Executive Order. In 1985, the Governor's Council on Prevention of Mental Retardation completed its investigation and published its findings in the report, Programs for Preventing the Causes of Mental Retardation.
Community prevention efforts begin...Following the publication of the report, The Arc of New Jersey was awarded a special purpose grant by the Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities to begin mobilizing community prevention efforts.
In the Spring of 1986, three regional conferences were held to present the report findings to the public and to organize networks to assist in the implementation of some of the recommendations included in the report. A network of individuals and agencies interested in prevention of mental retardation and other developmental disabilities resulted from the conferences and formed what is now the New Jersey Coalition for Prevention of Developmental Disabilities.
OPMRDD established by legislation...Finally, in 1987, the Office for Prevention of Developmental Disabilities (OPMRDD) was established by legislation (P.L. 1987, c. 5, as amended by P.L. 2000, c. 82).
Its mission is to reduce the frequency of occurrence of severe chronic mental or physical disabilities that originate during pregnancy or early childhood.