NJ Parents Petitioning To Keep Disabled Children In Out-Of-State Facilities

LANGHORNE, Penn. (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds of parents are taking on Gov. Chris Christie in a fight over their special needs children.

As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, Bob Adams and his wife Marcia visit their son Drew every week at the Woods facility in Langhorne, Penn.

Drew, 31, contracted bacterial meningitis when he was 3 years old and hasn’t been able to speak or see his entire life. He’s been living at Woods for the last 14 years.

Now, the Adams family is urging lawmakers in Trenton to let him stay there, after Gov. Christie vetoed a bill that could have allowed him and 400 others to do just that.

“I begged Gov. Christie to come here, to look at this facility,” said Bob Adams. “I know he would change his mind.”

Drew is being forced to move due to a program called Return Home New Jersey, where out-of-state patients are being transferred to group homes within New Jersey.

The New Jersey Department of Human Services administers the program, and though it declined CBS 2’s request for an interview, officials issued a statement.

“Cost is not the priority issue…The state will save at least 50% on each out-of-state placement upon return to NJ, savings that will be invested in community-based services and supports for additional individuals,” the statement said.

Sue and Paul Anderson’s daughter Kara requires 24-7 monitoring. Kara suffers from severe epilepsy and usually wears a helmet to protect her from seizures.

“It’s her life, yeah and I don’t know whether you can put a dollar value on keeping her safe and giving her appropriate care,” said Sue Anderson.

The Andersons, like Drew’s parents, fear a move to a group home would put their child in danger.

“We’ve already been told she’ll lose her 1-to-1 support. We don’t have any guarantee that the house she’ll go to will have the nursing staff that she’s required,” Sue Anderson said.

Now dozens of parents are passing around a petition, urging lawmakers to override Christie’s veto, and keep these people where they’re safe, Schneider reported.

“It doesn’t make sense to me. These are people,” said Bob Adams.

“These are people who have lived here for 10, 20, 30, 40 years. This is their home and they should not be made to leave,” said Marcia Adams.

New Jersey has been sending these patients to other states for years because there wasn’t adequate facilities in New Jersey. Currently, the state is relocating about 25 patients per year to comply with the program.

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