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In 1979, a group of parents convened with a common concern — the absence of adequate day programs for their children after high school. They established the need for an organization to provide community based programs for individuals over the age of 21 with developmental disabilities. Thus, in November of 1979, 21 Plus, Inc. was founded.
The original program was located in space donated by a local newspaper, The Observer, and attended by nine individuals. News spread fast and the program outgrew its space when the census was 25 people attending. At this point, the program moved to Winding River Park and was fortunate enough to receive funding from the United Way of Ocean County.
In 1982, 21 Plus, Inc. entered into an agreement with the State of NJ, the Division of Developmental Disabilities, to design and open its first group home in Toms River for six people. By 1988, two more group homes were added to the 21 Plus, Inc. services.
From 1988 to 2004, the agency experienced a major growth spurt and added one more adult training center, a Supported Employment program, several apartments and group homes. 21 Plus, Inc. currently provides opportunities for 140 adults in various programs in Ocean County. The individuals receiving services range in age from 25 to 83 and have a wide variety of abilities.
In 2009, 21 Plus, Inc. expanded its mission to include in-home or out-of-home respite services for people of all ages with disabilities. This service is available 24 hours/7 days per week.
Some services may be offered free of charge depending on meeting the eligibility criteria for the Division of Developmental Disabilities.