Social worker assists facility in procuring emergency housing for disabled patient

Social worker assists state in procuring emergency housing for disabled patient

Somerset County, N.J., Corizon Health Social Worker Jennifer Seminara recently demonstrated an outstanding commitment to a patient – and to Corizon Health’s SMART values – Safety, Motivation, Accountability, Respect, and Teamwork – by finding an alternative to pre-trial incarceration for a developmentally disabled patient.  The patient has a genetic disorder called Noonan Syndrome that prevents normal development in various parts of the body.

Placing the patient in general population within the correctional facility was not a safe option due to her physical and psychological impairments. Effects of Noonan Syndrome include unusual facial characteristics, short stature, heart defects or other physical and developmental problems. For her own safety, she was being housed in the medical unit.

Facility and medical administration asked for Jennifer’s assistance in finding an appropriate solution for this patient to receive emergency housing through the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) while awaiting trial for the charges against her. Social Worker Seminara collaborated to develop a workable plan for the patient with the Somerset County Office of the Public Defender and the Criminal Justice Advocacy Program of The Arc of New Jersey, a national community-based organization that advocates for and serves the needs of people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The process took about a month, but after a series of meetings and evaluations, the patient was placed in an emergency group home and allowed court-supervised visits with her family. Jennifer also assisted in finding a licensed psychiatrist to complete a competency evaluation, in coordination with the public defender’s office, upon the successful completion of the patient’s transfer to emergency housing. Ms. Seminara then continued to follow-up on the case to ensure the DDD followed the process of assisting the patient with placement into a permanent group home at the conclusion of her criminal case.

The persistence and dedication of this Corizon Health social worker undoubtedly contributed to the safety of this patient while in custody, as well as helping to ensure she continued to receive care upon release.