Letter to the Editor: Tracy Beigie

Township resident urges equal care, immediate decision making from legislators for benefit of persons with special needs.

To the editor, 

It is time to stop the discrimination of our differently abled citizens.

The day programs for handicapped adults have been closed for a year. That means our son has been home, losing skills like how to self care, how to be social with others, and many other skills. Our son doesn’t understand the closing. He just knows that he is stuck at home and away from his friends. These programs are everything to this community. 

The Department of Developmental Disabilities goes by the CALI (COVID-19 Activity Level Index) report to govern when the programs may re-open. This is the only agency that uses this report for opening and closing. DDD says it’s for safety from COVID. We parents make life time decisions everyday for our loved ones because of their medical needs. Parents of school children have choices as to how their kids attend school.  They are given the option of attending in person, at least for some of the time. The Disabled Adults should have the same options. 

I have contacted James Beach’s and Pamela Lampitt’s offices for their help and have gotten crickets. I thought these people were supposed to represent us; they can’t even acknowledge our important concerns. If these representatives are not paying attention  maybe it is time to look for new candidates to represent us? 

The people who run these programs are hard working and dedicated to helping these adults have their very best lives. The program our son attends is wonderful and the workers there are well aware of our loved ones needs and how best to protect them from COVID or anything else. They take great pains to do just that! They certainly don’t get enough credit or pay for all they do.

The state has a responsibility to treat all New Jerseyans with respect and equality no matter what. It is time to stop ignoring this community and open these programs. Give these choices back to parents and guardians of our adults, because we know our loved ones better than anyone! 

Tracy Beigie 

Cherry Hill, N.J.