Time for a Full, Impartial Investigation of a Private Company Contracted by the State to Provide Services to Disabled Children
Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 8:11am
This writer recently reported that a group of parents of children with autism and other developmental disabilities have complained that their children are suddenly without services since a private company took over from State agencies. Additional parents have since voiced their concerns and complaints about the quality of services provided to their children with developmental disabilities by PerformCare, a private company that holds a
State contract to replicate the services that were previously provided by the Division on Developmental Disabilities.
The parents continue to complain that, since PerformCare has replaced the State in providing behavioral and other services, their children have been without case management. In addition, the parents report that their telephone calls made to PerformCare have gone unanswered.
This writer attempted to contact PerformCare by telephone and email in order to give the company an opportunity to respond and explain the breakdown of communication with the parents. During the telephone call to PerformCare, I had a lengthy conversation with a member of the staff who could not respond to specific questions, but who promised to have their director of operations return my call. After one week, the call has not been
returned. At the time, I also sent an email message to “Ms. Johnson,” who is listed as the supervisor for all clinical and behavioral programs, but also received no response.
Cecelia Feeley, a parent of a developmentally disabled child and a leader in the parents protest, has indicated that that PerformCare’s lack of a response is part of a pattern that they have faced. Since the state has assigned the responsibility for providing behavioral services to the private company, the children and parents have seemingly been “abandoned” by the state.
According to the company’s advertisement:
“PerformCare is an advocate and active participant in the New Jersey Children's System of Care. As the Contracted System Administrator (CSA) for the State of New Jersey's Division of Children's System of Care (CSOC)–formerly the Division of Child Behavioral Health Services–since 2009, PerformCare New Jersey utilizes significant expertise and integrated technologies to register, authorize, and coordinate behavioral health care for children, youth, and young adults who are experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges.”
Unfortunately, the above scenario is markedly different from the lack of services that the parents and children have experienced. It appears that a full, impartial investigation is warranted. What is the relationship between PerformCare and state officials? Why was Perform Care selected to receive an exclusive state contract to provide services? Why does there appear to be a lack of oversight? Has PerformCare ever contributed to
the political campaigns of this administration? If the present controversy is a result of a misunderstanding, why has PerformCare not stepped forward to explain the breakdown in communication?
If the failure to deliver appropriate services to children with disabilities is a result of gross negligence, then the company and the state are guilty of violating the rights of the children and their families. It is time for the company and the State to step forward and answer these legitimate questions.
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