SPAN The Bridge Newsletter pictorial graphic.  Your weekly access to SPAN news, resources and events.

May 8, 2024 | Issue 129 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

Important News

Children's mental Health Acceptance Week 2024 graphic

It's Children's Mental Health Acceptance Week!

We're in the middle of Children's Mental Health Acceptance Week and the 2024 theme is "Lighting the Path to Social Justice for Children and Youth." But what is social justice? What does it mean for individuals, communities, and systems? The foundation of social justice is living the “golden rule,” treating others the way you would like to be treated - at every level.


As individuals, social justice means accepting each person for who they are – celebrating and embracing the diversity of our fellow man. It means accepting every member of our communities – welcoming their participation and contributions in all groups. At the system level, it means accepting that each person has their own unique strengths and goals - shaping supports and resources to be responsive to each person’s dreams. Learn more about social justice in mental health and substance use systems here


In essence social justice means:

  • Equity at every level of society
  • Ensuring that all members of our society are physically and psychologically safe and secure
  • Giving every person the opportunity to live up to their full potential
  • Supporting one another to live meaningful, purposeful lives.

To see a great video about the 2024 Children's Mental Health Acceptance Week campaign, click here.

US Dept. of Health and Human Services logo

New Policies Strengthen Language Access Protections in Health

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil rights (OCR) has posted its finalized regulation updating Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as the Health Care Rights Law. The final rule strengthens antidiscrimination requirements for recipients of federal health funding and in federal health programs, including prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, age, disability, and national origin. These changes will improve the quality and safety of health care for immigrants, women, LGBTQ+ communities, and individuals with disabilities. In particular, the new regulation strengthens requirements that health entities provide meaningful access to their programs for people with limited English proficiency (LEP).

The final rule applies to all entities that conduct or administer health-related programs or activities and receive financial assistance from HHS for any part of those activities.

To read more about the final regulations and the language access and civil rights implications, click here.


OSERS logo

Expect, Engage, and Empower: Successful Transitions for All!

 OSERS Blog Post #5: Individualized Transition Plans

A previous OSERS transition blog covered transition planning — but what is a plan if not well documented and used to measure progress towards desired outcomes or needed changes based on individual needs, interests, and preferences?

In this post, they cover what the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act require for transition aged students and youth in order to assist with their progress from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education and competitive integrated employment.

The blog covers much more ground as well, including individualized transition services and supports, and more. To read the full blog, click here.

Upcoming Events

SPAN offers a variety of learning opportunities for families and the professionals who work with them.

Highlighted Event This Week

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Spring 2024 Special Education Parent Leader Roundtable

Keys to Accessibility: Working Together to Unlock Opportunities for Meaningful Parent Participation

Monday, May 20, 2024, 7:00 PM


Wednesday, May 22, 10:00 AM

Via Zoom

Join fellow parent leaders, district staff, and community members for a brainstorming and networking session.


  • Reflect: Learn about accessibility and how it impacts a SEPAG
  • Review: Discuss what accessibility looks like in your own district
  • Respond: Create an action plan to take back your district and SEPAG

Engaging Parents of Students with Disabilities is a partnership between the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Special Education (NJOSE) and SPAN Parent Advocacy Network.

Spanish Interpretation available.


To register, click here.

See all of SPAN's upcoming events with details and registration links here 

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haga clic aquí para suscribirse
SPAN Youth Hub image

Starting a YouTube Channel Featuring Health Care Transition Kits

Discover the steps to launching a YouTube channel in our newest youth blog post, "Starting a YouTube Channel Featuring Health Care Transition Kits" and a paid opportunity from the LifeCourse Nexus to develop health care transition kits for youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

To access the post, click here.

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