Salem County Board of Chosen Freeholders
94 Market Street. Salem, N.J. 08079

CONTACT: Deborah Turner-Fox, Clerk of the Board/Administrator      

September 2, 2004

County Freeholder’s Deliver on their Promises

Salem County Freeholder Director, "Chuck" Sullivan has announced that the Office on the Disabled will once again be a county entity. Earlier this year the Freeholder Director committed to accomplish three main goals in 2004. First was to adopt a budget that called for continued support for Farmland Preservation with no county tax rate increase. Second was to provide an increase of $50,000 for our county educational facilities. And third was a revitalization of efforts to support our disabled population.

With the first two goals achieved with the adoption of the county’s 2004 budget, the focus since mid-year has been on delivering on the last promise.

At the September 1 Freeholder meeting, the board voted in favor of transferring responsibility for the Office on the Disabled back to the County. Office on the Disabled had previously been a part of the Interagency Human Services Counsel since 1995.

"The reason that we are doing this is simple," stated Sullivan. "We have a growing disabled population with grown service needs here in Salem County as has been evidenced by the latest U.S. Census. We now have the opportunity to provide full time staff to this very important function." Additionally there are Bills pending in both the Assembly and Senate, which would require Counties to create and staff an Office of the Disabled along with providing funding for the same. "We are trying to get ahead of the curve here and be ready to accept any funding that the State will provide for this effort."

The Office on the Disabled will serve under the direction of Isaac A. Young, Director of Mental Health, and Youth Services, which includes the Alternative Youth Shelter and Juvenile Detention programs. "The Office for the Disabled will benefit from Isaac’s vast knowledge, strong allegiances with organizations providing specialized services to our community and strong leadership", stated Lee Ware, Deputy Freeholder Director and member of both the county’s Judiciary and Health and Human Services Committees. Accompanying this responsibility will come a promotion for Dr. Young, who has been serving in this capacity since January 2003. "Isaac has demonstrated the kind of leadership that it takes to be successful here in Salem County," stated Sullivan. "He has taken on much greater responsibility than initially required of him and has strived to continuously improve our programs for the various sectors of our communities."

The program will include the Personal Assistance Services Program, Information and Referral Program, and Accessibility and Mobility Ramp program. After October 1, Debbie Behnke will join the County full time to serve the role of advocate for disabled residents in the county. Disabled residents with needs can contact the office at (856) 935-7510 x 8316.

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