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2023 NJ YTC

Navigating the Transition Process

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Back and even bigger than year's past, the 2023 NJ YTC features over 25 workshops on transitioning into NJ's adult world of disability services.
Opening Keynote Address

Presenter:  Paul Aronsohn; New Jersey’s statewide Ombudsman for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and Their Families

Presenter:  Bill Freeman; State Coordinator of Secondary Transition, Office of Special Education, The New Jersey Department of Education

Title:  Transition from School to Adult Life: Regulations and Best Practices

Description:  This training provides attendees with a detailed description of Federal and State requirements and best practices related to the transition from school to adult life for students with disabilities. Emphasis is placed on how to prepare for the inclusion of appropriate transition planning in IEPs, and how to implement appropriate transition services including linkages and other interactions with other agencies. We will also review recent updates to the State model IEP form that relate to transition planning and the new State Transition Toolkit on the web. This session welcomes your questions and comments.

Presenter:  Christina Gonzalez; Supervisor of Transition to Adult Services & Employment- Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities

Title:  Navigating the DDD Service System

Description:  This presentation will provide an overview of the DDD service system and the steps necessary to complete the eligibility requirements and intake process. Services available through the Community Care Program and Supports Program and information related to DDD's care management system (Support Coordination) will also be discussed. 

Presenters:  Mike Marotta, Director; Naomi Leibowitz, AT Project Lead; Payton Williams, Assistive Technology Social Supports Specialist

Title:  Assistive Technology in the IEP Process Student Involvement

Description:  It is much more crucial that AT be considered and isn't just checked off on the IEP now that the student is 14 years old. Join us for this fast-paced, interactive session as The Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center (NJ's federally funded AT Act Project) aims to address your questions about how to properly consider AT for students and not just check it off a list so that students have success as they transition into college, employment, and outside life with the supports they require.

Presenters:  April DiPietro; Community Resource Director, Camden Partnership for Children and Audrey Mariani; Executive Director, Camden County FSO

Title:  NJ Dept. of Children and Families: The Children’s System of Care Eligibility and Functional Services Offered

Description: Learn how to apply for I/DD eligibility under Children’s System of Care (CSOC) and what to expect from PerformCare and your local Care Management Organization (CMO). This informative workshop will answer key transition questions such as: What is DD eligibility? How can my child be found eligible? What is the difference between DD and DDD? What happens when my child ages out of PerformCare DD services?

Presenter:  Joy Atin-Shark; Supervisor Statewide Transition, College and Deaf/Blind Services; Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Title: 7 Secrets of CBVI


This presentation will cover-

  • An overview of CBVI,

  • The services we provide to individuals who are blind, visually impaired, and Deaf-blind,

  • Pre-ETS services to students ages 14-21,

  • And an overview of our VR services.

Presenter:  Marcial Hernandez Jr.; Public Affairs Specialist, Social Security Administration

Title:  Overview of Social Security (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Online Services

Description:  The presentation will cover Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare, Medicaid, Auxiliary and Survivors benefits for the family. There will be an overview of the programs, along with their differences and how each program correlates to one another.

Keynote Address

Presenters:  Melinda Carnassale; Children’s System of Care (CSOC) Deputy Director in the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Jonathan Seifried; Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD)

Presenters:  Courtney Davey, Office of Housing and Resource Development and Christina Gonzalez, Office of Transition to Adult Life and Employment

Title:  Coordinating Housing and Services for Division of Developmental Disabilities Recipients at a Glance

Description:  Participants in the session will learn about how the coordination of housing and services occur and considerations that should be made. Information provided will include an overview of services, person centered planning, housing opportunities, and eligibility requirements for the housing subsidy program.

Presenter:  Cristine Chickadel; NJ ABLE Program Representative

Title:  Save Money while you Preserve SSI and Medicaid

Description:  The NJ Achieving a Better Life Experience (NJ ABLE) allows qualified individuals with disabilities to save for disability-related expenses in tax-advantaged savings accounts without losing eligibility for many means tested benefits. Informational seminar on ABLE accounts and the valuable benefits it has for those who are eligible.

Presenter:  Jason Miller; Director of Social Services, Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of NJ

Title:  Person-Centered Life Planning: Who Will Care for My Loved One When I’m Gone?

Description: This session will address future planning issues such as independent living supports; estate planning, legal and financial protections. Topics include how to implement a future life plan for people with disabilities, guardianship, Special Needs Trusts, home visit monitoring and advocacy. Handouts will be provided to families to highlight the topics of the session.

Presenter:  Christina Schnyer, Esquire


Title:  Housing – Tenant’s Rights in New Jersey

Description:  This presentation will provide information regarding a tenant’s rights in New Jersey. It will include a discussion about leases, rent increases, tenant responsibilities, landlord responsibilities, and the eviction process. It will also include a discussion about the types of affordable housing that is available in New Jersey.

Keynote Address


Presenter:  Mercedes Witowksy; Executive Director, NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities

Presenters:  Patricia Brennan, MSW- Director of Office of Education on Self Directed Services, Waiting List, and Special Projects and Jessica Licona, MSW- Assistant Director of Office of Education on Self Directed Services, Waiting List, and Special Projects.

Title:  Overview of Self-Directed Services

Description:  Understanding the option of Self-Direction as you enter the Adult Service System.

Presenters:  Christina Rappisi; Director of Support Coordination, Values Into Action NJ

Title:  Group Homes and Day Programs- Are These the Only Options?

Description:  Join Values Into Action NJ to discover options that include a life outside of group homes and day programs. During this session, you will learn about the basics of support coordination. If you are interested in designing a life of your own choosing after high school or supporting students who aspire to, this is the presentation for you! 

Presenters:  Anthony Vazquez, Self-Advocate Advisor and Amy N. Jedele, Project Director 

Title:  Self-Direction and You: Finding Support Staff for Life After High School

Description:  Join The Collaborative NJ for an overview on how people, families and disability professionals come together in support of self-directed services in New Jersey. This informative webinar will also show you how to use the Interactive Map to find support staff in your area. 

Presenter:  Frank Latham, Self-Advocacy Coordinator, Principal Presenter; NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities

Title:  Shared Supportive Decision Making: My Voice Count

Description:  This presentation will look at some of the options for supportive decision making and how self-advocates voices should be valued and heard.

Presenter:  Jerisa Maseko; Director of Planning for Adult Life, The Arc of New Jersey

Title:  Accessing Services And Natural Supports


Description:  Everyone has a right to be involved in their community. There are many supports for people with disabilities to help them do just that. This workshop will discuss supports for accessing the community and will provide hands—on tools for helping students to obtain natural supports in the community. It will also include a discussion on how to navigate some of the challenges associated with accessing services.

Presenters:  Dawn Monaco, Youth and Young Adults Program Director, SPAN and Jeannine H. Brinkley, Family and Professional Development Program Director, SPAN

Title:  New Jersey Inclusive Higher Education Options

Description:  Join us to learn about inclusive programs specifically for students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in New Jersey.  We will also share more general information about ways that students with disabilities can prepare for education after high school and resources for learning more. 

Presenters:  Pamela Brooks, PPL Sr, Account Manager and Herb Collman, PPL Account Manager 

Title:  Be Empowered…Walking into Self Direction with PPL

Description:  Join this workshop to explore the benefits of self-direction under the Vendor Fiscal/Employer Agent model as administered by Public Partnerships. Find out what the steps are to enroll with Public Partnerships and be on your way to control who is providing you service, at what rate, and when!   

Presenter:  Jocelyn Summers, Operations Manager Financial Management Services

Title:  Understanding Agency with Choice 

Description:  During this session we will be taking a closer look at the Financial Management Services Agency with Choice program. Choosing a Fiscal Intermediary Model that suits the consumer and their families is extremely important and all options should be presented. By the end of this presentation, you will have a better understanding of the Agency with Choice program and the services we provide to the consumer, their families, and Self- Directed Employees. 

Presenters:  Tammi Kaminski and Tara Szymanek are educators on the New Jersey Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) and Special Education Volunteer Advocates (SEVA) Projects at SPAN Parent Advocacy Network. They support families in ensuring that their child with a disability and/or special health care needs receives the appropriate supports and services for a productive life.

Title:  Supporting Youth in their IEP: A Path to Success

Description:  This session will review ways to support students who have IEPs by applying key strategies to promote self-advocacy from elementary school through transition to adulthood. There are small things that families and educators can do from the time children are young to build self-advocacy over time, so that when youth/young adults are ready to leave high school, they are ready to advocate for themselves in the community, at work and in postsecondary education. 

Presenter:  Jennifer M. LeComte, DO, FACP, FAAP- Director RISN Center; Founding Program Director, Inspira Internal Medicine Residency Program, Mullica Hill, Associate Professor Internal Medicine & Pediatrics

Title:  Transition to Focus on Longitudinal Care for Adults with Disabilities


1. Discuss Healthcare Transition.

2. List Barriers to Adult Health Care.

3. Discuss the Collaborative Nature of Successful Transition Including Promoting Autonomy.

Presenter:  Wendy Aita, PhD, Licensed Psychologist and Co-director of the Rowan-Virtua Integrated Special Needs Center

Title:  Mental Wellness: Fostering Resilience During Transition


  • Information about prevalence of mental health issues for people with IDD

  • Barriers to care, especially during transition

  • How trauma impacts people with disabilities

  • The importance of mental health wellness

  • How to foster resilience

Presenter:  Laurie Egeth; Supervising Paralegal Advocate, Community Health Law Project 

Title:  Social Security – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSD)


Description:  This presentation will provide information on SSI and SSD, including how to apply, eligibility, denials, and the right to appeal.  It will also include a discussion of overpayments and other possible benefit sanctions.  

Presenter:  Bianca Najera Rossell

Title:  All About The New Jersey Self-Advocacy Project and Upcoming Events

Description:  In this presentation you will learn all about The New Jersey Self-Advocacy Project and the free upcoming events that NJSAP hosts throughout the week. We will also provide a list of resources for people with IDD that will showcase more education and entertainment opportunities in between our session events. 

Presenter:  Diane Riley; Executive Director, Supportive Housing Association NJ (SHANJ) 

Title:  Housing Resources from the Supportive Housing Association of NJ 

Description:  An overview of resources available from the Supportive Housing Association to help with the planning for independent living. 

Presenter:  Dianna Maurone; Administrator, Information and Referral Services & Personal Assistance Services Program with the Department of Human Services, Division of Disability Services

Title:  Remarkable Resources: The NJ Division of Disability Services

Description:  The Division of Disability Services (DDS) provides a single point-of-entry for New Jerseyans seeking information about programs, services and supports available to residents with disabilities. Focused on promoting independence for individuals with disabilities in all areas of life, DDS aims to streamline the pathway to information and services, as well as to advance greater access, equity and inclusion. DDS serves individuals of all ages and disabilities, statewide, and is the lead state agency for individuals with physical disabilities and traumatic brain injuries. This presentation will provide a high level overview of DDS’ mission and services, including an introduction to New Jersey Resources, DDS’ comprehensive resource directory.


  • Theresa Rohlfing, Executive Director of Center for Independent Living of South Jersey

  • Susan Mazzeo, Director of Independent Living for Moceans Center of Independent Living 


Title:  Roadmap to Life after High School


Description:  A comprehensive presentation that explains the services of a CIL (Center for Independent Living) and what one would need to know when transitioning from high school to adult life. We will share options and resources / services that are available to people with disabilities. 

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Our 2023 Planning Committee

Each year, Values Into Action NJ leads the Annual NJ Youth Transition Conference in collaboration with professional system stakeholder organizations who support and serve the transition process.

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