In the late 1970’s, a movement began based on the dream that people with developmental disabilities could live successfully in the community. Because of this dream, many provider agencies were created to meet the new needs, and in 1980, the New Jersey Association of Community Residential Providers (NJACRP) was founded. Recognizing they faced similar issues and challenges, the Executive Directors of some of the pioneering community based agencies providing residential programs for people with developmental disabilities formed the NJACRP with the initial purpose to:
- Facilitate the further establishment of community residences; Provide a system of communication for administrators of various agencies to share information;
- Encourage the development of acceptable practices and procedures for staff and administrators;
- Identify and support ideas and issues which have an impact on the development of community residences.
During these formative years, NJACRP had no paid staff and relied exclusively on volunteer efforts from member agencies. And interest and membership in NJACRP continued to grow.
The early 1990’s proved to be a time of transformation. In 1991, the 55 member NJACRP hired its first paid staff member. In 1992, as agencies began to broaden the scope of services they offered, NJACRP formally changed its name to the New Jersey Association of Community Providers (NJACP). The name change reflected a broadening of membership from agencies serving residential services exclusively to agencies offering a variety of services. Since then, NJACP continued to grow in both membership and influence. Today NJACP has more than 65 members. The membership reflects the majority of agencies providing a host of services for people with developmental disabilities throughout New Jersey.
While the underpinnings of today’s mission of the Association remains similar to the original founding purposes, NJACP has and continues to strengthen the ability of its membership to provide quality services for people with developmental disabilities by becoming a recognized industry leader. NJACP has increased the visibility of issues pertinent to its membership both with state government and the legislature. NJACP continues to advocate for issues of importance for individuals with developmental disabilities and brain injuries and those agencies who serve them.