It is absolutely critical for siblings to advocate for the continuation of services for individuals with disabilities and their families throughout New Jersey. As siblings, we have a significant impact and role in our siblings’ lives. Due to that, we must recognize that we can and should speak out regarding funding decisions which affect their quality of life by sharing our stories with our assembly members and senators. We must tell them, in simple, real, and human terms, how the loss of government funding that supports services for people with disabilities – including the salaries of the Direct Support Professionals who bring these services to life – will negatively impact our brothers and sisters.
SIBS NJ also hopes to host informational meetings regarding how sibs and family members can better advocate for their sibling with a disability or mental health problem. We hope to have social workers, transition planners, attorneys and medical professionals come to speaking events to provide useful and important information to siblings and families as a whole.
Formal advocacy efforts in New Jersey are organized through agencies and grassroots organizations throughout the state including parent organizations and self-advocacy groups (see some below). These efforts are always strengthened by sibling participation; together, our voices will be heard much louder so please get involved!
Nationally, the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) is leading an advocacy campaign to increase the wages of dedicated Direct Service Professionals and to strengthen the service system for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Please join them!
To let us know about your advocacy efforts or events/groups that would be useful to SIBS NJ, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org