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

Children’s Aid & Family Services: Enriching Lives Through The STRIVE Day Program

The STRIVE Program empowers those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve their potential.

Children’s Aid & Family Services provides essential services and programs to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, enriching their lives and helping them reach their full potential. One such individual is Jessica, a member of the STRIVE day program.

Meet Jessica: A Creative Soul Flourishing With STRIVE

Jessica is a vibrant, creative, and intelligent individual. With an infectious sense of humor and a heart full of compassion, she brings joy to everyone around her. Her love for stuffed animals is evident, as she carries her adorable friends everywhere and even designs their outfits.

However, Jessica’s creativity isn’t confined to her stuffed animals alone. She’s also an avid participant in the activities organized by the STRIVE team. The team works tirelessly to provide opportunities that help Jessica and others like her to stay busy, learn new skills, and engage with the world around them.

Jessica’s Journey of Growth and Empowerment

Through the STRIVE program, Jessica has been able to expand her social circle and find her purpose. She volunteers at Valley Hospital with her Support Coach, delivering mail and sharing smiles. And every afternoon, it’s Jessica who dismisses the members of STRIVE. These activities have not only helped Jessica become more social but have also given her a sense of responsibility and purpose.

The Greater Newark Holiday Fund: Supporting the STRIVE Program

Children’s Aid and Family Services (CAFS) is dedicated to supporting vulnerable children, adults, and families. Each year, they impact thousands of individuals and families seeking assistance through a variety of programs, including finding adoptive families for children, teaching life skills to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, providing therapeutic foster families for neglected children, and supplying essential items to families facing financial hardships. In addition, they educate teens about substance abuse dangers and provide support services for teen mothers and their babies, building brighter futures for children and families in their community.

Stories like Jessica’s are a testament to the incredible work done by CAFS. But they need our support to continue making a difference. 

By giving to the Holiday Fund, which supports 11 first-in-class organizations in New Jersey, you’re investing in the future of individuals like Jessica and helping them lead fulfilling lives.

Your generous contribution will go a long way in changing lives and building stronger communities. Together, we can make a significant impact. Donate today at holidayfund.org/give.

Making A Difference: Children’s Aid & Family Services’ Baby Basics Program

Celebrating the Baby Basics Program that distributed 350,000 diapers in Bergen, Essex, and Passaic counties.

The Impact of the Baby Basics Program

In Bergen, Essex, and Passaic Counties, an incredible 350,000 diapers found their way into the hands of low-income families. This impressive feat was made possible by the admirable efforts of Children’s Aid and Family Services’ (CAFS) Baby Basics program.

Baby Basics is more than just a diaper supply program. It provides free nutritional formula and diapers for babies, from newborns to two-year-olds. But it goes beyond physical needs, offering an essential safety net of emotional support and referrals. It serves low-income families living or working in Bergen County, helping them navigate their most challenging times.

Changing Lives in New Jersey with Children’s Aid and Family Services

Children’s Aid and Family Services is changing lives in New Jersey. Their work is not only about providing material assistance but also about creating lasting change in the communities they serve. By supporting this organization, you’re contributing to a brighter future for underprivileged families in these areas.

The Greater Newark Holiday Fund: A Pillar of Support

The Holiday Fund has been a proud supporter of Children’s Aid and Family Services, among ten other critical agencies in New Jersey. During the season of highest need, the Holiday Fund stands as a helping hand for those in desperate circumstances, providing the necessary financial backing for these agencies to carry out their vital work.

The Holiday Fund’s mission goes hand in hand with that of CAFS – we both strive to alleviate the burdens of the less fortunate and make a real difference in their lives.

Join Us in Making a Difference

We extend our deepest gratitude to CAFS for their tireless work in our communities. However, the need for support remains high. Will you join us in making a difference?

You can contribute to the continued success of CAFS and other critical agencies in New Jersey by donating to the Holiday Fund

Your generous contribution will go a long way in changing lives and building stronger communities. Together, we can make a significant impact. Donate today at holidayfund.org/give.

A Visit To The Baby Basics Program: A Lifeline For Parents In Need Of Essential Baby Supplies

The Baby Basics program by Children’s Aid & Family Services offers essential baby supplies and support to needy families, funded by generous donors.

The Baby Basics program of Children’s Aid & Family Services (CAFS) is more than just a program—it’s a lifeline. It provides not just diapers, formula, and clothing, but also a sense of security and dignity to families in need. Imagine the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your baby’s basic needs are taken care of, that they will be warm, fed, and dry.

Through the Baby Basics program, CAFS ensures that every child gets a fair start in life. It’s not just about providing material goods, but also about nurturing hope, promoting equality, and empowering families. Because every child deserves the best possible start in life, and every family deserves to experience the joy of seeing their child thrive.

The Impact of Your Generosity

This vital initiative is a core program supported by the Greater Newark Holiday Fund, and it relies entirely on donations from generous individuals like you. Your kindness and generosity can make a huge impact on this initiative, offering much-needed assistance to struggling families.

Some of the Holiday Fund board members recently had a chance to visit Baby Basics, witnessing first-hand the incredible work being done behind the scenes!

Celebrating 25 Years of Baby Basics

With the help of donors, Baby Basics has been keeping babies happy, healthy, and dry for over 25 years! This program provides free nutritional formula and diapers for babies, newborn through two years of age. But it’s more than just supplying essentials – Baby Basics also provides a safety net of emotional support and referrals for low-income families living and/or working in Bergen County.

How You Can Help: Host a Supply Drive

If you’re looking for ways to support Baby Basics, consider hosting a supply drive. It’s an easy and fun way to make a significant difference. Local diaper drives enable us to collect thousands of diapers each year. This helps ensure that no parent has to choose between diapers and food, medicine, or paying rent. With your help, we can continue changing lives—from the bottom up! Learn more about CAFS on the Holiday Fund website

Your Call to Action: Donate Today

You can join the Holiday Fund board members and many others in supporting this amazing program, along with many others that are empowered by the Holiday Fund, by donating today. Your contribution means so much to our community and every donation helps us bring essential services to those who need them most. 

Visit holidayfund.org/give to make a contribution and change a life today.

The Art of Giving: The Life-Changing Stories Behind The Holiday Fund’s Support

Donations to the Holiday Fund enhance lives through transformative programs like STRIVE, serving adults with disabilities and contributing to incredible, life-changing stories.

These words by Maria Ashkenazi, Supports Director at Children’s Aid and Family Services, encapsulate the tremendous impact of the STRIVE Day Program on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and beautifully illustrates why your support to the Holiday Fund matters.

“It was such an enormous sense of achievement for the STRIVE members. They were so proud that the pieces they produced themselves were appreciated and purchased. It was a huge success.” 

The Holiday Fund is a fundraising organization dedicated to supporting eleven charities across New Jersey, one of which is Children’s Aid and Family Services (CAFS). When you donate to the Holiday Fund, you’re not just contributing towards a cause; you’re helping to create transformative experiences that empower individuals, enrich our communities here in New Jersey, play a part in writing life-changing stories.

The Power of Art and Achievement

This spring, the STRIVE Day Program hosted an art show featuring artworks created by its participants. It was a grand event, opened by Paul Aronsohn, the NJ State Ombudsman for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The offices of CAFS were adorned with the beautiful creations of STRIVE members, inspiring admiration and sparking friendly bidding wars among attendees.

The art show wasn’t just about showcasing talent. It was about instilling a sense of accomplishment and pride in the participants, making them realize their potential, and encouraging them to express themselves creatively. The joy and satisfaction evident in the STRIVE members were a testament to the program’s success and the positive change it brings about in their lives.

Celebrating CAFS: Impact by the Numbers: Children’s Aid & Family Services in 2023

Preparing for the Future

But the STRIVE Day Program doesn’t stop at providing creative outlets; it also equips its members with essential life skills. A few weeks before the art show, STRIVE support coach Akilah Williamson organized a job interview activity. With proper guidance on communication skills, body language, eye contact, and appearance, the participants came prepared, dressed appropriately, and carried their resumes for a mock interview.

At the end of the day, each participant received a certificate of achievement, a token acknowledging their successful completion of the process. For them, it was more than just a piece of paper; it was a symbol of an important accomplishment, a boost to their self-esteem, and a stepping stone towards future part-time jobs or volunteer opportunities.

Your Contribution Matters

When you donate to the Holiday Fund, you are supporting these amazing transformation experiences and much-needed organizations like Children’s Aid and Family Services. Your contribution helps create a ripple effect of positivity and empowerment that reaches far beyond the immediate beneficiaries. It helps build stronger, more inclusive communities where everyone has the chance to shine and contribute in their unique way.

Let’s continue to spread joy and hope by making a difference in the lives of those who need it most. Donate to the Holiday Fund today and be a part of this incredible journey of transformation.

The Holiday Fund Proudly Supports CAFS’ WISE Families Program: Expanding Support for Adolescents in Need

An Important Training Journey

In a significant development, the Children’s Aid & Family Services‘ (CAFS) WISE Families program is embarking on a crucial training journey in Oklahoma. This training aims to enable the implementation of ‘Problematic Sexual Behaviors Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents’, which will expand the program’s support services to individuals aged up to 18.

Applauding Dedication and Making a Difference

The Holiday Fund proudly applauds the dedication of the WISE program in their tireless efforts to make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable adolescents. By embracing this training opportunity, the program is demonstrating its commitment to providing essential support and care to those who need it most.

The WISE Program: A Beacon of Hope

Developed by Dr. Barbara Bonner and her esteemed colleagues at Oklahoma University’s Center for Child Abuse and Neglect, the WISE program stands as an evidence-based initiative that offers comprehensive assistance to families with children aged 8 to 15. Through a holistic approach encompassing assessment, education, treatment, and prevention strategies, the program aims to address and mitigate the impact of problematic sexual behaviors on both children and their families.

Expanding Support: A Step Forward

With the implementation of ‘Problematic Sexual Behaviors Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents’, the WISE program will now be able to extend its support services to individuals up to 18 years old. This expansion represents a significant step forward in ensuring that vulnerable adolescents have access to the critical care and resources they need during challenging times.

Sensitivity and Commitment

As we navigate this sensitive topic, we hold the utmost respect for the courage and resilience of those involved in addressing problematic sexual behaviors. We acknowledge and honor CAFS’ unwavering commitment to improving the lives of children and families in need. Together, we can create a brighter future and foster a society where every individual is safe, supported, and empowered.

Joining Forces for Lasting Impact

The Holiday Fund is honored to support CAFS and their mission to uplift and empower vulnerable adolescents. By joining forces with organizations like CAFS and backing initiatives like the WISE program, we can collectively make a lasting impact on the lives of those who need it most.

Together, let us work towards a future where all individuals, regardless of their circumstances, have the opportunity to thrive and flourish. Join the movement today when you donate to the Holiday Fund.

Children’s Aid and Family Services’ Recovery Specialists: The Unsung Heroes in New Jersey’s Fight Against the Opioid Crisis

In the face of adversity, the real heroes emerge. Today, we want to recognize the tireless efforts of the Recovery Specialists at Children’s Aid and Family Services in New Jersey. They have responded an astounding 766 times when individuals overdosed on opioids.

Each response represents efforts to save lives and give second chances, and is a testament to the unwavering dedication of these specialists. Their commitment to providing immediate assistance in the most critical moments is truly commendable.🚑

This isn’t just about responding to emergencies – it’s about stepping into the breach, offering a lifeline, and fighting the opioid crisis one rescue at a time. Each intervention is a story of hope amidst despair, a sign that no one has to fight their battles alone.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the vital role these Recovery Specialists play in our community. Their work reminds us of the power of compassion, resilience, and swift action.

A big salute to Children’s Aid and Family Services’ Recovery Specialists. Your relentless efforts are making a huge difference. Here’s to continuing this life-saving work and creating a safer, healthier community for all.

Did you know that that when you donate to the Holiday Fund, you’re directly supporting invaluable agencies like Children’s Aid and Family Services? Every contribution you make plays a vital role in providing much-needed assistance to those in New Jersey who need it most. Your support for the Holiday Fund is more than just a donation; it’s a beacon of hope for those in need. 🌤️

Success Story: Mia’s Quick Recovery Thanks to Children’s Aid and Family Services

It’s very common for children under the care of Children’s Aid and Family Services (CAFS) to have already experienced 6-10 placements. As a result, there’s little to no medical history recorded, and few ever see the same doctor twice. 

So, when chronically ill Mia needed medical care, we are thankful for the CAFS Medical Services and Advocacy Center, whose staff have trusting relationships with the children and make sure kids still have access to high-quality medical attention. 

When 12-year-old Mia had been experiencing low-grade fevers and other symptoms while living in one of the agency’s foster care group homes, blood tests showed she may have had sickle cell anemia. Thankfully, an attentive endocrinologist ran further tests which revealed that it was actually just a viral infection, avoiding a much more serious diagnosis. With rest and fluids, Mia made a full recovery soon after.

Thanks to the Children’s Aid and Family Services’ Medical Services and Advocacy Center, deserving kids have access to comprehensive healthcare, allowing them to receive timely diagnoses and treatments that can improve their quality of life.

When you donate to the Holiday Fund, you help organizations like CAFS provide support and services to children in New Jersey.

Will you donate today? Visit holidayfund.org and select ‘donate’ (or ‘link in bio 👉 @holidayfundnj’)

Every contribution makes an impact!

Original story taken from nj.com

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. 

PROBLEM

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.

CAFS SOLUTION

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.

PROBLEM

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.

CAFS SOLUTION

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.

PROBLEM

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.

CAFS SOLUTION

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.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • 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