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New Jersey Partners in Policymaking

Now Accepting Applications for 2017! Deadline Extended to July 19, 2017NJ Partners in Policymaking graphic


New Jersey Partners in Policymaking is an 8-month leadership development and advocacy education program for adults with developmental disabilities (over 18) and family members available through The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities with funding from the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities. The goal of this program is to prepare the next generation of disability advocates to work toward meaningful change in our state.


Participants selected for the program will learn about best practices and important areas for advocacy from nationally-known experts. Upon completion of the program, participants will have developed the knowledge and skills needed to:

  • advocate for opportunities and supports that promote self-determination, independence and inclusion in all aspects of community life

  • be members of advisory boards and committees

  • work alongside policymakers and state agencies


Requirements of Participation

  • Participation in 8 interactive educational leadership development sessions held one weekend a month in New Brunswick (Friday 2pm – Saturday 3pm)
  • Completion of homework assignments between sessions, including the development of an Advocacy Action Plan    


Monthly Educational Leadership Development Sessions & Topics

September 8 & 9

  • History of Disability Policy & Advocacy

  • Self-Advocacy & Family Advocacy

January 12 & 13

  • Transition

  • Employment


October 13 & 14

  • The Legislative Process & What Happens in Washington

  • State Policy & Systems Change Advocacy


February 9 & 10

  • State Agencies & Service Systems

  • Health Policy, Health, & Wellness

November 17 & 18

  • A Vision for Advocacy Across the Lifespan

  • Self-Determination, Social Capital, & Community Inclusion

March 9 & 10

  • Building Alliances, Committee Participation, & Grassroots Organizing

  • Sharing Your Story & Communicating Effectively for Advocacy

December 15 & 16

  • Inclusive Education

  • Supported Decision Making

April 20 & 21

  • Putting Leadership into Action

  • Graduation


Accommodations & Covered Expenses

There is no cost to participate in New Jersey Partners in Policymaking. Expenses for participation are paid for by The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities through funding from the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities. Covered expenses include:  

  • overnight lodging and meals

  • accomodations such as sign language interpreters, large print materials, or Braille

  • reimbursement for travel

  • reimbursement for child care/respite (if not funded through other means)


Application Process

New Jersey Partners in Policymaking is an opportunity for adults with developmental disabilities and family members of people with disabilities to build leadership and advocacy skills. The Boggs Center is committed to building a diverse group of participants that is reflective of the needs, geography, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds of New Jersey. We invite those interested to complete an application by July 19, 2017 to be considered for the New Jersey Partners in Policymaking program. Completed applications can be sent to Susan Ellien by email or by mailing to the address below:


Susan Ellien

The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities

335 George Street, Suite 3500

New Brunswick, NJ 08901


If you need assistance to complete the application, would like to request a hard copy application or would like to complete the application by phone, contact Jaime McGeady at 732-235-9613.


New Jersey Partners in Policymaking Application Packet (PDF)



Additional Information

If you would like additional information about the program, contact Susan Ellien by email at or phone 732-235-9320.



Project Director: Deborah Spitalink, PhD

Project Staff: Susan EllienJaime McGeady


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