Guardianship is a legal process sometimes used when a person cannot manage him/herself or his/her affairs. It is an involuntary legal arrangement that may considerably diminish an individual’s rights, so it is generally used only when a less restrictive alternative is not feasible.
If you wish to learn more about guardianship in New Jersey, it may be helpful to speak with an attorney.
In addition, the following resources are available:
The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) has compiled a list of things to do now to plan for an emergency. The basic actions consist of making a kit of emergency supplies (including nonperishable food, water, and a first aid kit, among others), developing a plan of action for you and your family (including establishing a predetermined meeting place and choosing an out-of-state contact), and staying informed of possible threats (by keeping track of weather alerts through trusted information sources and contacting your local Office of Emergency Management). A more complete checklist can be found in Chapter 25 of the New Jersey Resource Guide.
For people with disabilities, New Jersey has created a registry, NJ Register Ready, that allows New Jersey residents with disabilities and their families, friends, caregivers and associates to provide information to emergency response agencies for the purpose of helping emergency responders better plan to serve them in a disaster or other emergency. The secure and confidential tool can allow personnel to plan, send public messaging, assist with evacuation, and support sheltering and post-disaster recovery.
If you'd like more information on how to prepare for an emergency, contact your local NJOEM county coordinator or visit the websites for both NJOEM and FEMA.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, if you need mental health-related crisis support, or if you are worried about someone else, please call or text 9-8-8 or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to chat to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
The Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services also offers a variety of hotlines that may meet your specific needs:
- NJ 211 (2-1-1): Statewide information and referral service for programs that help people in need. 2-1-1 also serves as the State Homeless Hotline and Utility Assistance Hotline.
- Crisis Assessment Response and Enhanced Services (CARES) (1-888-393-3007): Provides crisis response and stabilization services for a period up to 120 days to adults (age 21 and older) with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This service is administered through Trinitas Regional Medical Center Behavioral Health.
- COVID CONNECT (1-833-223-0011): Provides phone support, referrals for ongoing treatment, and resources to help individuals struggling with a change in mood, poor concentration, increased substance use, or difficulty sleeping related to the pandemic.
- IME Addictions Access Center (1-844-276-2777): Clinically trained and supervised telephone specialists assist callers seeking treatment for a substance abuse disorder to find the right provider for their needs and help them navigate the substance abuse treatment network.
- MOM2MOM (1-877-914-MOM2):The Mom2Mom 24/7 peer support hotline is staffed by mothers of children with special needs who have been trained as counselors with the support of mental health clinicians. Caregivers of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities can also call 833-NJ-ADULT (833-652-3858) daily from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- NJ ConnectForRecovery (1-855-652-3737; TTY 1-877-294-4356): A free, confidential call line focused on helping family members and friends coping with a loved one’s substance use disorder.
- NJ MentalHealthCares Help Line (1-866-202-4357; TTY 1-877-294-4356): Offers telephone counseling, information and referral and assistance in helping to get the behavioral health services needed by you or a loved one.
- NJ Quitline (1-866-657-8677): A free telephone program dedicated to help New Jerseyans stop using tobacco products.
- NJ Vet2Vet (1-866-838-7654): Provides peer support and resource help to New Jersey National Guard members, active military personnel, veterans, their families, and caregivers.
- Peer Recovery Warmline (1-877-292-5588): A peer-run service providing ongoing telephone support to people in recovery from mental illness.
- ReachNJ (1-844-732-2465): A central call-in line for New Jersey residents who are looking for help with a substance use disorder.
- Rutgers Health Telephone Recovery Support (TRS) (1-833-825-5877): Provides confidential peer-based telephone support, encouragement, and information about substance use disorder, opioid and stimulant addiction, and recovery resources to New Jersey residents age 18 and older.
- 800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537): Gives disordered gamblers and their loved ones confidential assistance.
The following offices and organizations advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
- New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities: As authorized by the federal Developmental Disabilities Act, the NJCDD is charged with identifying the most pressing needs of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the State. Councils are committed to advancing public policy and systems change that help these individuals gain more control over their lives. To contact the NJCDD, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-792-8858.
- Disability Rights New Jersey: Authorized by the federal Developmental Disabilities Act as the State's official Protection & Advocacy Agency, Disability Rights New Jersey provides legal representation and policy advocacy for people with disabilities whose rights are being violated because of their disability. To get help, email email@example.com, complete their online intake form, or call their intake line at 1-800-922-7233 (TTY 1-609-633-7106).
- Adult Protective Services: APS programs in each of the State's counties exist to receive and investigate reports of suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults living in a community setting. To learn more about how to proceed with an APS investigation, visit the Department of Human Services website or contact your local APS office
- New Jersey Division on Civil Rights: The Division on Civil Rights is tasked with the enforcement of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. To contact the division, call 1-833-653-2748 or email NJDCR4U@njcivilrights.gov. To file a complaint to the division to report discrimination in housing, employment, places of public accommodation, or in violation of the NJ Family Leave Act, use the NJBIAS portal. Instructions in English and Spanish are available on the portal's website.
The structure of services for children with disabilities or chronic illnesses differs from the services for adults. Below is an outline of a few of the major services specifically for New Jerseyans under the age of 21. For a more comprehensive and personalized list, call the Department of Disability Services hotline at 1-888-285-3036 to speak to a professionally certified specialist.
- Early Intervention System: Designed to address a problem or delay in a child's development as early as possible and is available from children ages 0 to 3. Children who are enrolled in the system receive child-focused care in natural environments such as the home or a community center, with the goal of achieving the outcomes described in a personalized service plan. If you suspect that a child may need the supports provided by the system, call the toll-free hotline at 888-653-4463.
- PerformCare (NJ Children's System of Care): Provides youths in need of behavioral health, developmental and intellectual disability, or substance-use-treatment services with the services they need to optimally participate in treatment within their homes, schools, and community settings. Services include assessments, referrals, and care management services. For more information, call 1-877-652-7624 (TTY 1-866-896-6975) or visit their website.
- Managed long-term care supports and services: Offers private-duty nursing services in the community for children who required a skilled level of care but who are ineligible for NJ FamilyCare and for adults with disabilities. For more information about available services and application details, visit the DDS website or call a DDS Information and Referral Specialist at 1-888-285-3036.
- Office of Special Education: Implements state and federal laws and regulations governing special education to ensure that students with disabilities in New Jersey receive a free and appropriate public education. For information about how to develop an individualized education program, the rights of parents in special education, and lists of approved providers, visit the office's website.
- Special Child Health Services Case Management Unit: Works with the child's parents, physician, and/or specialists to evaluate the strengths and needs of the affected child and develop and individual service plan for the child and family. For more information about this program and other Family Health Services programs, visit the Department of Health website.
- Educational services for children:
- The transition from childhood to adulthood includes a change in the responsibility of care. Fortunately, there are initiatives that minimize the disruption that could otherwise occur.
- The Division of Developmental Disabilities has created a Graduates Timeline for students exiting school and turning 21 that outlines how to access the services that become available when entering adulthood. For this and other information, visit the DDD website.
- The Department of Education has created a Transition Toolkit to assist school staff, students with disabilities, and their families in their efforts to prepare students with disabilities for entry into successful adult life after high school. For more information on transition services, including how to include transition components into an individual's IEP, visit the Office of Special Education's website.
- The Boggs Center Transition to Adult Life project provides in-person and virtual training, as well as technical assistance, for administrators, educators, and related services providers at transition programs. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Office of the Ombudsman for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and Their Families has also compiled a list of programs and resources on its website.