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Families Press Lawmakers For Answers About 'Return Home New Jersey' Program

TRENTON, NJ(CBSNewYork) -- Parents of disabled adults say they are getting the run-around from state agencies in their fight to keep their relatives safe.

On Friday, CBS2's Jessica Schneider staked out a closed-door meeting with lawmakers and the families who want answers now.

The head of New Jersey's Department of Human Services, Commissioner Jennifer Velez, refused to talk about her meeting with legislators and the family members of disabled adults who have been told they'll soon have to move out of their current facilities and into group homes.

Family members did not seem to get much out of the meeting.

"I'm just getting the DDD and DHS line, that this is a great policy for these people," Carolyn Reichenbach said.

Reichenbach's 49-year-old brother Richard suffers from epilepsy and severe mental retardation.

He has been receiving care at the Woods facility in Pennsylvania for three decades, but a program called 'Return Home New Jersey' will soon remove him from the place that he calls home. He will be placed in a group home that his family said will be much less safe.

"I would like NJ to do the right thing. I'd like people who have been out-of-state quite a long time ago to let them stay. New Jersey put them there because New Jersey deemed that that was the best placement for them. New Jersey should be called to keep those people there," she said.

Carl Schulze has been pleading with lawmakers to let his son Peter stay in New Hampshire where he currently receives care, for months.

"Extremely frustrated that we don't seem to get through to these people the direness of this situation," he said.

Schulze said that legislators claim they want to help, but that Governor Christie's veto of a bill that might have let Peter stay where he is, is making the process less certain.

"They're not going to vote to override, I'm quite sure of that. But there's the possibility there will be another bill. So, that gives us some hope," he said.

There was no word on Friday, as to when the disabled adults would be moved out of their facilities.

Lawmakers told CBS2 that they are working with families to draft language for a bill that could keep some of the disable adults where they are.

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