In just a few short months, it will have been a year since my son Aidan was initially attacked within his New Jersey group home. Following that traumatic experience in October 2022, he has been physically assaulted several more times leading up to the present day. A few months ago, I began collaborating with New Jersey State legislators to draft a bill to prevent my son and group home residents throughout the state from enduring unsettling encounters like this. I call Bill S3862/A5569 Aidan’s Law.

“This bill was inspired by Aidan Burke, a young man with developmental disabilities who resides in a group home in New Jersey. Aidan was assaulted by another resident with a history of challenging behaviors. It is the sponsor’s intent to protect Aidan and all group home residents so they can be safe in their own homes.”

Read the Full Bill

A Summary of Aidan’s Law


  • The bill requires guidelines to be developed for placing individuals with developmental disabilities in two types of group homes: Level 1 and Level 2.
    • Level 1 group homes are for individuals with occasional challenging behaviors that can’t be managed at home or in a less-intensive setting.
    • Level 2 group homes are for individuals with persistent challenging behaviors that pose a risk of harm to themselves or others and require higher levels of care.
  • The guidelines will consider the person’s needs, the frequency of their challenging behaviors, and the potential risk to other residents.
  • The Assistant Commissioner will try to align these guidelines with existing guidelines for group home placements and transfers.
  • The bill establishes criteria for placement, including:
    • Age: Individuals must be 21 years of age or older.
    • Residency: Individuals must be New Jersey residents.
    • Eligibility: Individuals must be eligible for division services.
    • Independence: Individuals must have difficulty functioning independently in significant life areas.
  • Transitioning between group homes will depend on:
    • Level 2 to Level 1 transition:
      • Meeting individual goals and objectives.
      • Meeting criteria for placement in a less-intensive setting.
      • Demonstrating plateaued skills without posing harm to self or others.
      • Having support systems in place for a less-restrictive setting.
    • Level 1 to Level 2 transition:
      • Meeting criteria outlined for Level 2 placement.
      • Exhibiting challenging behaviors consistent with their disability diagnosis.
    • No transition if continued Level 2 services or support is necessary for reintegration into a less-restrictive placement.
  • Level 2 group homes will provide services to support residents in moving to less-restrictive settings.
Aidan and Johanna embracing

I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Senator Joseph Pennacchio, Assemblywoman Kim Eulner, and Assemblywoman Marilyn Piperno for sponsoring this important bill. I am genuinely hopeful that this bill will pass within the near future.