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New Jersey Partners in Policymaking

NJ 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 age 21) and family members of young children and transition age youth available through collaboration between The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, and Disability Rights New Jersey. 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 Iselin, NJ (Saturday 1:00 pm - Sunday 4:00 pm)
  • Completion of homework assignments between sessions, including the development of an Advocacy Action Plan    


Monthly Educational Leadership Development Sessions & Topics

September 7 & 8, 2019

  • Parent Advocacy
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Social Media as an Advocacy Tool

January 11 & 12, 2020

  • Medicaid
  • Health & Wellness
  • Public Speaking & Effective Communication

October 5 & 6, 2019

  • The LifeCourse Framework & Planning
  • History of Disability Policy

February 8 & 9, 2020

  • State Policy & Systems Change Advocacy
  • Supportive Housing
  • Direct Support Professional Workforce Issues

November 2 & 3, 2019

  • Inclusive Education
  • Transition

March 14 & 15, 2020

  • Social Capital & Community Connections
  • Federal Policy Hot Topics & Tips from the Hill

December 7 & 8, 2019

  • Employment
  • Supported Decision Making
  • Financial Well-Being

April 25 & 26, 2020

  • Putting Leadership into Action
  • Graduation


Application Process


The Boggs Center is now accepting applications from adults with developmental disabilities (over 21) and family members of young children and transition aged youth for the 2019-2020 program. 


Download the application (PDF)

Application deadline extended to June 14, 2019. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by July 15, 2019.  


Additional Information

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



Program Takeaways video featuring the New Jersey Partners in Policymaking Class of 2017-2018

Program Takeaways video featuring the New Jersey Partners in Policymaking Class of 2018-2019


Project Director: Colleen McLaughlin

Project Staff: Jaime Zahid


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