Dept of Human Services Tackles Child Care, Medicaid, Opioids
Steve Adubato and Carole Johnson, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services, discuss the top priorities for her department including affordable, quality childcare, building a strong Medicaid system, and combatting the opioid abuse crisis. Johnson also shares how she helped construct the Affordable Care Act while working under President Obama.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato. Coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in Newark, New Jersey. It is our honor to welcome, Carole Johnson, Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Human Services. Good to see you Commissioner. Great to see you. Thanks for having me. You are... and we're... it's our pleasure. You are a member of the Governor Murphy Cabinet. Describe the Department of Human Services. What do you deal with? So I like to think of the Department of Human Services as the agency that helps New Jersey families thrive. So we're about ensuring that people have access to affordable health insurance coverage through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program providing the services and supports, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities need to live to their fullest potential helping older residents in New Jersey live in their communities as long as they would like to, and we also are the social safety net for people who need a hand up. So we do the food assistance programs and emergency assistance programs, cash assistance programs, to help people when they need that handout, we also support people with... who are deaf and hard of hearing and those who are visually impaired and blind with services across their lifespan, as well as other disability services to people. A massive portfolio? It's a large portfolio... Autism spectrum on there as well? Autism spectrum we serve through our Medicaid program. Ae are actually, as part of the governor's budget, proposing expanding the benefits for children with autism as part of the governor's budget. The other piece that I find fascinating is the opioid epidemic. How does that initiative fall into Human Services? Because of the Medicaid program, we have the opportunity to expand services through a waiver we have with the federal government, and so we are now working aggressively to implement that waiver so that we can expand it, so we can create a more complete Medicaid package of services for people who have opioid use disorder, including things like peer support services and case management services and the detox, and for those people who need it, inpatient services that will help people combat this epidemic. Commissioner, what is HomeFront New Jersey? HomeFront NJ? HomeFront NJ is the facility where the governor hosted our swearing in ceremony. Yeah but what's the connection? Well that is a place that does a full complement of services for people who are... who need a hand up, and so it provides shelter services, it provides child care services, and it provides that full complement..."