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New Jersey near the bottom when it comes to disability services

A recent report by the group United Cerebral Palsy indicates that New Jersey ranks 37th in the nation when it comes to meeting the needs of those with intellectual and physical disabilities. The report, which is prepared each year by UCP, provided a ranking of all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

The UCP rankings were developed by examining the efforts of each state in providing programs that promoted mobility, independence, safety and attempts to address the needs of those in the community.

The highest ranking state in the report was Arizona. New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Vermont, New Hampshire and California also ranked highly. Interestingly, the states that received the highest rankings in the report had vastly different tax structures and spent very different amounts of money on their efforts to address the needs of those with disabilities.

The findings from the UCP report, which were based on data collected in 2011, indicate that states are generally increasing efforts to help those with disabilities remain in their communities. In fact, 38 states reported that at least 80 percent of their residents with developmental disabilities live in their communities rather than group homes. In 2007, only 14 states were able to report similar numbers.

Although the report shows improvement in many areas, there are also several areas of concern. Specifically, in almost all states, less than 33 percent of those with developmental disabilities are competitively employed. In addition, the waiting lists for residential services remain long and have, in fact, increased since 2007.

Source: Disability Scoop, "States get ranked on disability services," Michelle Diament, May 2, 2013

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