Category Archives for "Children’s Aid & Family Services"

Children’s Aid and Family Services

Children’s Aid and Family Services (CAFS) strengthens families and empowers individuals — children and adults alike — to reach their fullest potential. 

Through four areas of service, CAFS is strengthening families and building independence:

  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Adoption and Foster Care
  • Children and Family Services
  • The Center For Drug and Alcohol Resources

How One Person’s Life Has Changed

It was through CAFS’s Center For Drug and Alcohol Resources that Erick got clean.

He developed an addiction to painkillers and, when he hit rock bottom and ended up in the emergency room, he met a CAFS worker named Maria.

When he completed his detox treatment and left his residential treatment home, his first call was to Maria. She quickly connected him with an AA sponsor.

A year later, Erick is enthusiastic about his recovery and working hard to maintain his sobriety. Maria describes Erick as “on fire” with passion to stay clean.

Read more about Erick’s story on the CAFS website.

For more than 120 years, Children’s Aid and Family Services (founded as Children’s Aid and Protective Society of the Oranges) has been changing lives. 

From Concerned Mothers to Concerned Citizens

At its emergence in 1899, Children’s Aid was staffed entirely by volunteers, mostly concerned mothers who would ride in horse and carriage to rescue abandoned and orphaned children

What began as a group of caring citizens with a commitment to vulnerable children has grown into an organization that has placed more than 11,000 little ones with loving, nurturing adoptive families. 

Make ONE DONATION to the Holiday Fund and support 10 life-changing organizations in New Jersey.

CAFS is guided by Margaret Mead’s words: 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 

CAFS’s Mission

Children’s Aid and Family Services strengthens families and empowers individuals – children and adults alike – to reach their fullest potential. Motivated by compassion and in partnership with the community, they make positive lasting differences in the lives of those served. They provide high-quality, innovative services to children, adults, and their families that advance social, educational and emotional development and wellbeing.

Fulfilling The Mission

CAFS focuses on identifying the problem and creatively developing solutions. Here are just a few examples. 


Over 3,200 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are on a waitlist for support services, including housing, day programs, after-school care and in-home support. Some of these individuals are currently living without any social interaction or outside experiences and some even live as shut-ins. Without social and skill-building programs they make little or no progress.


Children’s Aid and Family Services has opened its eighth community home for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, lifting the burden from parents and families unable to care for their loved ones. THe STRIVE day program fosters independence, personal growth and essential life skills so adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities can reach their potential and experience fuller lives. The after-school and weekend respite provide enriching activities for members and mentoring and support services for their families.


In 2017, more than 69,000 children across the country were waiting to be adopted from foster care. The average age of a foster child waiting to be placed with a new family is 8, and it takes two to five years for the majority of these children and adolescents to be adopted. Sadly, 20% wait even longer or “age out” of the system with little or no support.


Adoption is a life-changing experience for parents and children, and CAFS offers a variety of services to support families through this challenging and rewarding process.


The statistics on the impact of alcohol and drug misuse are alarming. Teens who start consuming alcohol before age 15 are seven times more likely to experience drinking-related problems than people who begin drinking after turning 21. Opioid overdoses are on the rise and on average, eight people a day will die from an overdose in New Jersey. The disease of addiction takes a toll on both the individual and their family, who often struggle to help their loved one.


The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources is a recognized leader in prevention and recovery. The Center provides extensive resources, information, expertise and support around prevention of alcohol and drug misuse while providing recovery support in our community. CAFS has programs, services and workshops for people of all ages to strengthen families and promote healthy lifestyles.

Because of solutions like these, CAFS can report successful outcomes.


  • 100% of teenagers in CAFS’s care have graduated high school since 2009.
  • Drug and alcohol prevention education provided to over 12,000 adults and teens yearly.
  • 11,000 children have been placed in loving, adoptive homes.
  • Over one-and-a-half million diapers have been provided to families in need.

Volunteer Opportunities

Want to play a part in the work of CAFS? Check out the volunteer page on the website

Learn more about the impact they’re making in New Jersey on the Children’s Aid and Family Services website.

Meet Isaac and Hillory

A woman and a young boy hugging and posing for the camera

Isaac and Hillory have a very special bond.

When Isaac was 3, he started living in group foster homes. He had gone through abuse and neglect, and was acting out because of it.

At 10, he moved in with Hillory who became his therapeutic foster parent— she was trained to help kids with exceptional trauma.

Hillory bonded with Isaac and taught him how to be a part of the family so that at the end of it all, Isaac could feel that he truly belonged.

“We cooked and ate dinner together, watched movies, went grocery shopping and to Great Adventure,” she says. “I also taught him to make crafts, and I would bring him with me when I volunteered at the local senior citizen center. The older adults loved talking to Isaac.”

Hillory also bought him his first suit and tie for a formal event. “It was important to teach him how to have pride in himself and present himself well,” she says.

Isaac has since gained confidence and learned to trust others, especially Hillory.

Their relationship has changed both of their lives for the better.

Story credits: Children’s Aid and Family Services

Helping Young Mothers Thrive

Jaclyn had been working full-time, but still struggling to make ends meet. And despite her best efforts, she was evicted from her apartment.

Jaclyn CAFS 2019
Jaclyn received help from Children’s Aid and Family Services.

With a 3-year-old daughter to care for and nowhere to turn, she found a lifeline at Zoe’s Place, a program run by Children’s Aid and Family Services. A supportive home for pregnant teenagers and teen mothers and their children, Zoe’s Place provides assistance and guidance so individuals can access educational opportunities, job training, life and parenting skills, health care and employment as well as child care and individual mentoring.

Zoe’s Place provides free child care, and the young women who live in the home must either attend school or work full-time. In pursuit of a career path, 21-year-old Jaclyn went back to school to study skincare and makeup application. She enrolled her daughter, a bright, sociable child, in preschool, where she is thriving.

Jaclyn graduated from cosmetology school and is now a licensed esthetician. She recently began working full-time at a spa. She also is a certified makeup artist and promotes her services on social media with the goal of eventually owning her own salon.Jaclyn is grateful to have found Zoe’s Place and for the opportunities it has provided.

“I want my child to know she is safe and to have a good life. I want her to appreciate the gift we have been given and understand that not everyone has help like this,” she said.

It is because of the generous donations to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund that Children’s Aid and Family Services is able to provide housing and intensive support services for teenage mothers and their babies.

Visit the Greater Newark Holiday Fund on Twitter or Facebook at

This story originally appeared on