Dear Friends and Supporters,
On this Maprilgust(tm) 97th (feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it?), as we sit in the dark caused by Isaiah power outages, I would like to proudly share our first annual report highlighting the significant growth New Jersey has experienced in promoting hope, healing, and justice for New Jerseys most vulnerable children – while looking at the current momentous (and bizarre) year so far and going forward.
Along with New Jersey’s County Prosecutor’s Offices, the CACs and multidisciplinary teams, the Department of Children and Families, and our many partner organizations, we are proud to report that we are well on our way to achieving “21 by (20)21” – our initiative to have a CAC in each of the 21 counties by 2021. We have also broadened the range of services that we provide to our member CACs to include training, technical assistance, resource development, community outreach, advocacy and leadership.
As proud as we are of the progress we have made, NJCA and the Child Advocacy Centers have been facing some unprecedented circumstances in 2020. While COVID-19 has certainly challenged the way we serve and protect children, NJCA is supporting CACs and their multidisciplinary partners as they continue to be first responders in child abuse cases providing investigative, medical and mental health services both in-person and through remote means. 2020 has also once again brought to light the racial injustice and inequity that permeates all systems. NJCA is providing technical assistance, training, and resources to CACs as they examine their work through the lens of racial justice and equity, as well as helping to assure that policies, protocols and practices developed consider the roles that racism and racial trauma play in the lives of the children and families served.
As you read the following pages, I hope that you get a sense of the significant accomplishments we and our partners have made to ensure that every child abuse victim in New Jersey has access to a CAC and their high standard of care. Please join us in our efforts to keep children safe in the face of the tremendous challenges that our current circumstances have brought.
Nydia Y. Monagas, Psy.D.