Camden County Resource Directory Debuts

The Camden County Resource Directory was launched June 1, 2016 with over 50 people in attendance at CPAC.  Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez was among the dignitaries in attendance.  Freeholder Rodriguez shared remarks about the two year investment of time and energy involved by all who made the online directory a possibility.

The Camden County Covenant  for Children, Youth and Families was established by Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Capelli in response to a KIDS COUNT Report issued by the Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ), citing areas of challenge to the well being of children and families in Camden County. Freeholder Director Capelli asked Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez to lead a mobilization of community partners to improve outcomes for the children, youth and families of Camden County. Consequently Camden Mayor Dana Redd joined the effort as co-chair with Freeholder Rodriguez, and the Community Planning and Advocacy Council (CPAC) was designated as the convening partner to plan and manage Covenant activities.

Thank you to all who attended the launch of this exciting venture.  Thank you to our partners for their support in planning and developing the Compass.

The State of New Jersey:

Office of Attorney General

Department of Law and Public Safety

Department of Education

 

Collaborative Partners for Camden County Youth Network including:

Camden County

City of Camden

Community Planning & Advocacy Council

Center for Family Services – Family Crisis Intervention Unit – Family Links

Genesis Counseling Centers

Teem Gateway YE2S Center – Camden City

Hopework’s N’ Camden

See the links below for coverage from Channel 6 Action News and Courier Post.

http://6abc.com/society/one-stop-shop-website-for-social-services/1367117/

Compass Directory Launch Article Courier Post

PENNSAUKEN – A new online portal was launched Wednesday to streamline the connection between social service providers and families throughout Camden County.

The Camden County Covenant for Children and the Community Planning Advocacy Council (CPAC) announced the initiative.

Compass, found at camdencountyresourcecompass.org, provides greater access to underutilized services available from the Camden County Covenant for Children partner agencies. The website currently offers more than 365 programs that help children transition into adulthood, ranging from employment training to youth services.

Virtual desert: Food access maps highlight big problem

Hopeworks, a nonprofit training program that gives Camden students access to website design and development training and exposure to GIS technology, created and designed the website in conjunction with the state Attorney General’s Office.

Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services, was on hand for the launch. She spoke about creating an easier way for county residents to find a wide spectrum of critical services.

 Compass, a one-stop website that connects Camden County residents with social service providers. Users can browse more than 365 agencies and services currently offered through the website. (Photo: Matt Flowers)

“The challenge has been that although we have many beneficial services throughout our county, it has been difficult for families to figure out how to find and access the right service or resource to meet their particular needs in a timely manner,” she said.

“Compass will act as a navigator to a real-time online directory that parents, youth, community members, providers and even our judges can use to find the services and resources they need.”

Formed in 2009, the Covenant is a collaborative effort to provide children with the tools they need to succeed, offering resources and information and opportunities.

Rodriguez noted the project took two years to complete. Prior to the digital solution, she said she took calls from parents who had no idea how to find the resources they needed and would spend hours sifting through pamphlets and paperwork.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that all children have a safe and nurturing environment in which to develop into adulthood,” Rodriguez said. “This new tool will assist our community with providing our children with the proper guidance and environment to prosper.”

Hopeworks intern and Camden County Community College student Justin Connor helped design the website. The 19-year-old spoke about the issues his family faced searching for resources for his sister, who has autism, and brother, who has ADHD.

“Information is so hard to get sometimes when it’s on paper,” he said. “In print, you have to look through every nook and cranny to find what you need, which takes time. Now, with Compass, you can find what you need in a minute.”

Hopeworks plans on tracking metrics, such as page views and the number of people reaching out to program contacts to monitor the website’s success.

Matt Flowers: (856) 486-2913; mflowers@gannettnj.com

 

SNJCoC Policy re SRAP Letters of Support

Please see the attached letter regarding the policy adopted by the SNJCoC regarding issuance of Letters of Support for the DCA SRAP vouchers.  All requests must include the required information and be submitted to CPAC by May 13, 2016.

ltr re’ srap rfp req for sptltr

NJ Department of Children and Families – more than just child welfare

Dear Colleague,

Many people associate the New Jersey Department of Children and Families strictly with child welfare.

And it’s true that our Division of Child Protection and Permanency is the state’s child welfare agency.

But we provide other valuable programs and services, too.  We help displaced homemakers develop skills to find work in today’s job market.  Our Children’s System of Care helps children and youth with intellectual/developmental disabilities and substance use disorder.  Project Teach educates young mothers pursuing a high school diploma.  Our Family Success Centers are valuable resources for families in their own neighborhoods.

To educate people about our programs, we produced (click on link) a new video profiling some of the services we offer.  Many people shared personal stories for the video.  Some describe how our services helped them overcome a difficult period in their life.

After viewing the video, please share it with others via email and social media so that they, too, may learn about and take advantage of our programs.  If you know someone who may benefit from any of our services, please call our information line at 1-855-INFO-DCF (1-855-463-6323).

Warm regards,

Allison Blake, PhD, LSW, Commissioner

NJ Department of Children and Families

2015 Covenant Event – Celebrating A Lifetime

Join CPAC as we honor Catherine DeCheser as we Celebrate a Lifetime of service.  Catherine will be celebrated at our 2015 Covenant Event which will be held on Monday October 19, 2015 at The Mansion on Main Street, 3000 Main Street, Voorhees, NJ.  A reception will take place from 5 – 6 pm with the celebration commencing at 6 pm.

Please find attached the Invitation 2015 Covenant Event Invitation

There are also opportunities for sponsorship 2015 Covenant Event Sponsorship Card

2015 Covenant Event Ad Card

Please register by October 2nd by calling Karen Scott at 856-663-3998 or e-mailing receptionist@cpachvi.org

We look forward to Celebrating Catherine’s Lifetime with you!

Raising of America Viewing

RaisingofAmerica

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The Raising of America event took place on June 29, 2015 at 12:00 noon. It was an event that brought together two dozen advocates that consists of: Parents, Educators, Community Based Organizations (CBO’s)  for one cause” CHILDREN.”  It took place at the CK Café, 1506 Federal Street Camden NJ 08105 in partnership with the Camden County Council for Young Children (CCCYC) and The Camden County Department of Children’s Services.

The purpose of this event was to promote early childhood success through recognition that a child’s development begins from the moment of conception, and that learning continues throughout the child’s life.   Camden  County Freeholder Liaison Carmen Rodriguez, who is also an educator and co-chair of the Camden County Covenant for Children Youth and Families set the tone, emphasizing how important it is to invest early in our children from conception through the formative years.

Sister Donna engaged our participants in a dialogue of their impression of “Raising of America,” and with enthusiasm and commitment the group signed ‘The Pledge’ to support efforts to build positive, lasting change that will allow all of our children the opportunity to succeed in life.”

There were speakers from Advocates for Children of New Jersey, (ACNJ) Reginald Dorsey; Camden County Department for Children, Sister Donna Minster; and The Community Planning and Advocacy Council (CPAC), Diana Cooper, President/CEO.

Mr. Dorsey spoke about the NJ Kids Count data and shared some astonishing statistics of minority children living in poverty.  He shared data highlighting areas of improvement, however emphasized that there was much work still to be done.

The CCCYC will continue to meet to address questions such as:  What can we do to change the statistics? How can we use the data to bring about change?

Sister Donna reviewed accessibility, affordability and quality of child care in Camden County and that proposed changes will enhance the process to make it more “family friendly.”  She shared how all parents are concerned about quality child care regardless of race, income or circumstances.  All parents want to make sure that their children are cared for by qualified and competent providers.  By supporting the proposed increase of the reimbursement rate for providers and the finger printing bill of the Family child care providers, we are helping to insure that our children are in quality programs that support their age appropriate development.

Diana Cooper, President/CEO of CPAC gave a brief overview of the Covenant for Children, Youth and Families focus areas: Early Childhood Success, Positive Youth Development, and Strong Transition to Adulthood and Strong Families Strong Communities. She shared the brainstorm from the Early Childhood Success Leadership and the CCCYC to promote the Parents Anonymous, NJ 1-800-THE-KIDS number as a resource for families with children that may witness trauma during the formative years. Representatives from the Camden County Metro were invited and in attendance and were asked to “Consider the Child” that may have an adverse childhood experience (ACE Study) when responding to calls of a traumatic nature. All attendees were presented with a Button that simply read “Consider the Child” 1-800-THE-KIDS. Among the Attendees were: Family Success Institute; JANUS Solutions; Hispanic Family Center; Saving Grace; Head Start; CPAC Board Member; Parents Anonymous NJ; Zion House; Caress Embracement Foundation; and the Director of the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services.

Funders: Nicholson Foundation and State of New Jersey Department of Children & Families

2015 Camden County Family Fun Fair A Resounding Success

FFD

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On April 9, 2015, the Camden County Family Fun Fair was held at Campbell’s Field Concourse in Camden, NJ.  Despite the chilly weather during this Strengthening Families Month event the concourse was filled with joyous conversations, lots of laughter, and even some dancing. Families and individuals had the opportunity to make connections with over fifty-four (54) programs!

Everyone received a free ticket to a future Riversharks game; free lunch and other great giveaways. Over twenty (20) family goodies and food baskets were given away. Finley, the Riversharks mascot and Franklin, the 76ers mascot brought smiles to everyone’s face as they mingled throughout the crowd.   There were face painters, a balloon artist, a DJ, and even a treasure hunt.  Bean bag tosses, prize wheels, crafts and many more activities at exhibitor tables and mobile units!

The Camden County Family Fun Fair was sponsored by the Network of Family Success Centers in partnership with NJ Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Community Planning & Advocacy Council (CPAC), Campbell’s Field, Camden City School Based Youth Services, Puerto Rican Unity for Progress (PRUP), the Camden County Covenant for Children, Youth and Families and the awesome exhibitor agencies.

Thank you to everyone that took part in the 2015 Camden County Family Fun Fair.

Covenant for Children Youth and Families

Camden County Family Success Center contact information

Camden County Family Fun Fair Exhibitors

Camden County Youth Service Commission Data

Image-1 (3)

The Camden County Youth Service Commission is pleased to share updated data on youth in Camden County. Please see the link below. The commission highly suggests to use the data in the 2015 CCYSC/JJC Request for Proposals submissions. If you have any questions please contact Rosy Arroyo, YSC Administrator rarroyo@cpachvi.org.

Camden County Youth Service Commission Data

CPAC Partners with Rutger’s University Summer Housing Internship Program

Community Planning and Advocacy Council partnered with Rutgers University for the Summer Housing and Internship Program (SHIP).  The Summer Housing and Internship Program (SHIP) is a twelve-week program from May/early June to August that offers an alternative to recipients of the New Jersey Foster Care (NJFC) scholarship who lack the financial, family and social connections to secure safe and stable housing during the summer months. 40 New Jersey Foster Scholars are given the opportunity to receive quality housing and paid internship positions throughout the summer months. SHIP also offers a 3-credit course, counseling, weekly workshops, and recreational activities.

Aasim Johnson from Brookdale County College and Samantha Villagran from Rutgers Camden University were welcomed to the CPAC family in early June. Aasim and Samantha assisted in the Camden County Youth Service Commission, Camden County Youth Volunteer Corps, Point in Time, as well as attending Hill Day with Monarch Housing lobbying in Washington, D.C. for ‘Homes for the Homeless’.  They completed their internship the beginning of August.

We would like to thank Rutgers University for the opportunity to partner in this great program.  Also thank our interns Aasim Johnson and Samantha Villagran for their hard work, dedication, and spirit. It was not only a learning experience for our interns, but for CPAC staff as well.  Congratulations on graduating from the program.

 

Please watch Aasim Johnson reflect on his experience as a Rutgers’ SHIP Scholar: http://youtu.be/g4tfcOZ54sc

 

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“Ban the Box” Legislation Signed into Law

cpac-log-tag“Ban the Box” Legislation Signed Into Law

Earlier this week, Governor Christie signed S-2124/A-1999 (Cunningham/Watson Coleman) into law. Known as the “Ban the Box” legislation, this new law will establish certain employment rights for persons with criminal histories by regulating employers’ use of background checks.

The bill went through several revisions to make it more workable for employers. Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey (CCSNJ) participated in discussions and was part of a coalition of business organizations that opposed the bill and eventually sought changes. We are pleased that the version agreed upon by the bill’s sponsors and signed by Governor Christie is less onerous to employers than previous versions. For example, this new law exempts businesses with fewer than 15 employees and includes protections for employers that choose not to hire a candidate with a criminal history.

Although still not supportive of the measure, the CCSNJ appreciates the willingness of the sponsors to be flexible and open to the concerns of the business community. This law takes effect on March 1, 2015.

CPAC Host’s The Washington Fellows for Young African Leaders Initiative

Community Planning and Advocacy Council (CPAC) hosted, 25 young professionals representing 20 countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, Friday, June 27, 2014 as The Washington Fellows for Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

Rutgers University is participating in the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)—a high priority for President Barack Obama. Rutgers is hosting a six-week Institute on Civic Leadership. The YALI participants range in age from 25-35 with diverse professional and academic backgrounds. The Civic Leadership Institute will explore civic leadership in the United States and enhance participants’ skills in areas such as civic engagement, community building, nonprofit management, political organizing, and volunteerism.

While visiting CPAC, the fellows had the opportunity to learn about Camden County and Camden City providing a focus on leadership development, community development, parent advocacy, and cultural enrichment. Representatives such as, Gino Lewis of Camden County Improvement Authority, Lisa Cerny of Gloucester County Dept. of Human Services, and June Morton, City of Camden, Division of Planning on a panel to discuss the present and future plans of community development in Camden County and Camden City and Regionally on behalf of the Southern New Jersey Homeless Continuum of Care currently serving Camden, Gloucester and Cumberland Counties.

After an engaging and interactive panel discussion, Diana Cooper, Acting President/CEO of CPAC gave the fellows a tour of Camden City prior to Mayor Dana Redd and Camden County Freeholder Scott McCray receiving the tour bus of fellows at the City Council Chambers.

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CPAC would like to thank all representatives of Camden County and Camden City, especially Mayor Dana Redd and Freeholder Scott McCray in hosting our YALI guests. Also thank you Rutgers University in this historical collaboration. To the YALI Fellows, the passion, dedication, and drive that was exuded this day not only inspired us, but reinforced the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” not only locally, but now, internationally.

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