ABCD has been a leading advocate regarding the future of individuals who due to their disability, have high absenteeism rates in their day programs. During FY’22 Budget process, not only did the Legislature provide additional funding for day habilitation but DHS Acting Commissioner Adelman stated the department’s desire to resolve the issue.
Our Day Program Committee understood that if any group could provide the division with the information needed to develop good working policy, it was ABCD since many of our members have the experience working with the most critically challenged individuals. As a result, committee members during the worst time of year and one of the most stressful years ever, each dove into 3 years of their day program’s back data to arrive at a working definition of chronic absenteeism. Some of us assumed that there was a specific diagnosis attached – nope, turns out there were no fewer than 100 different diagnoses; others of us assumed it might be tied to one or two tiers/acuities – nope, turns out chronic absenteeism was found in all tiers with and without acuity. After the committee agreed to a definition based on their analysis, they developed three solutions for consideration.
Special thanks to ABCD’s Day Program Committee who had no time but found the time to compile the data and write the report, Solving the Financial Burden of Chronic Absenteeism in New Jersey’s Day Programs: Three Solutions.