The purpose of the Advisory Board is to provide advice and guidance to ATAC and assure that it is in compliance with the provisions of the Assistive Technology Act (AT Act) of 1998, as amended. The requirement to establish an advisory council “to provide consumer-responsive, consumer-driven advice to the State for, planning of, implementation of, and evaluation of the activities carried out through the grant, including setting the measurable goals” is in the AT Act.
Specifically, the ATAC Advisory Board will provide advice and guidance on the following:
- Submission of New Jersey’s State Plan for Assistive Technology (AT) to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living (ACL);
- Monitoring the ATAC program according to the State Plan for AT;
- Developing and maintaining collaborations with other agencies, organizations, and bodies providing AT services and devices throughout the State; and
- Monitoring of program data and outcomes.
ATAC Advisory Board members are appointed as the Assistive Technology Act (AT Act) of 1998 as amended prescribes a set of representatives from agencies and organizations. These are representatives from:
I. New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services;
II. A representative of a Center for Independent Living;
III. A representative of the State Workforce Investment Board;
IV. A representative of the State Educational Agency;
V. A representative of other State agencies, public agencies, or private organizations, as determined by the State;
VI. A representative of the Office of Blind and Visually Impaired;
VII. A majority (51%) must be individuals with disabilities that use assistive technology or the family members or guardians of the individuals;
Individuals appointed to represent II-VI above cannot count towards the majority requirement.
The advisory council shall be geographically representative of the State and reflect the diversity of the State with respect to race, ethnicity, types of disabilities across the age span, and users of types of services that an individual with a disability may receive.
Exemption – States that have statutes, rules, or official policies in place relating to advisory bodies, and governing bodies of incorporated agencies who carry out State assistive technology programs are not required to make changes.
In addition, the Advisory Council may appoint additional representatives from other state agencies, public agencies, or private organizations, as long as the consumer majority is maintained. As the State AT Council recruits consumer members and makes additional appointments, care should be taken to maintain a council that reflects the diversity of the State “with respect to race, ethnicity, types of disabilities across the age span” as well as the types of AT devices and services used by its citizens with disabilities.