October 2020 Newsletter
Dear Supporters and Advocates, The best kinds of newsletter are ones with good news to report, and I’m pleased to say that this is that kind of newsletter! Last month we asked you to support us by advocating for funding for NJCA and CACs in the FY21 budget. Thanks to the many supporters who wrote letters, signed our petition, made phone calls to legislators, emailed, tweeted, and shared with your networks, the legislature restored $1.5 million in CAC grants to the budget, which the governor then signed. As demand for services continues to increase in the time of Covid-19 and social distancing, CACs will use this essential funding to provide mental health services, family advocacy services, and staff/CAC support positions, as well as for technology to support investigation and treatment (e.g. tablets for tele-mental health and tele-forensic interviews, teleconferencing services, etc). We feel very fortunate to have so many supporters who are passionate about helping child abuse victims. A special thanks goes out to Senate President Sweeney and all of our supporters in the state legislature, Department of Children and Families Commissioner Beyer, and Governor Murphy.
As everyone is continuing to spend more time at home, our outreach efforts have shifted to being predominantly through social media and targeted email. We have been busy since March creating and sharing informational resources about protecting children in this “new world” with educators and other professionals who have shifted interacting virtually with children, as well as with the general public. We hope you will join us in getting the word out about how we can all look out for kids’ safety. If you don’t already follow us on social media, please find us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/njcainc), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/newjerseychildrensalliance/), and Twitter (https://twitter.com/njcainc).
Speaking of spending time at home – wouldn’t it be great to get outside, get some exercise, have some fun with friends and family, all while supporting a great cause? Our virtual Heroes for Children 5K Run, Walk or Ride will be happening October 24th-31st – anywhere you are, either all at one or split into smaller distances over days, in whatever form of movement you prefer. Some registrants are taking group hikes; some families with young children are planning some long stroller walks; two programs are competing among themselves for who can form the largest team; and a couple of dedicated dog owners are committing to give their pups some extra-long walks! Photo contests and prizes will add to the sense of community. All registrants will receive a t-shirt – check it out below!
As always, we thank you for your ongoing support in all the ways in which you raise awareness and advocate for the children of New Jersey!
Nydia Y. Monagas, Psy.D.
Executive Director, New Jersey Children’ Alliance
As many children continue with remote learning to at least some extent, and extracurricular as well as community events remain limited, adults need to utilize different means for helping to protect children from abuse. Our New Jersey Resource Guide To Keeping Children Safe During Social Distancing is now available as an online flipbook in both English and Spanish, as well as a downloadable English PDF. and downloadable Spanish PDF. Please share these with anyone you know who currently interacts with kids, including educators, therapists, and any adults who care about children’s safety.
Like with child abuse, domestic violence risks have gone up as working from home, remote learning, and external outlets have decreased. Additionally, the two are not unrelated: in homes where there is domestic violence, children are physically abused and neglected at a rate that is 15 times the national average. Help is always available.
7th Annual Heroes for Children Virtual 5K Run, Walk or Ride is still open for registration! Run, walk, or bike from anywhere – alone or with your friends, family, neighbors, community group or running club. You can complete your 5K anytime between October 24th-31st! Social media challenges and contests throughout the week will help create a sense of community while helping to raise awareness of child abuse prevention and services.
While this year’s event will certainly be different, your participation is more important than ever. As a result of both the economic crisis and the need for social distancing brought about by Covid-19, NJCA and Child Advocacy Centers across the state are experienced a sharp increase in demand for services to abused and neglected children. Additionally, children staying home more, with less interaction with teachers and school staff, are much less likely to have any abuse recognized and reported, and more likely to be spending ,more time with their abusers. Funds from registration fees and sponsorship of the Heroes for Children Virtual 5K are greatly needed as CACs work to safely and effectively provide services during the pandemic, and we continue to provide education and resources to community members to help prevent, recognize and report child abuse.
Register at http://njca5k.com/.. It is not too late to receive our cool t-shirt! Registrations after September 30th will receive their t-shirt after October 31st.
Halloween will, of course, be different this year – but with a little creativity, it’s still very possible to safely give kids a fun time. We found these great ideas from Oriental Trading Company, and we hope you find some of them useful!
S2951 – To Senate Judiciary Committee
Victims of Child Abuse Act
In March, House and Senate were considering a budget increase to the Victims of Child Abuse Act to $40 million. This would be a $13 million increase over the current funding. It was originally funded at $20M in funding in 1990. In today’s dollars, that original $20M authorization is the equivalent of $40 million, which is this year’s request. NCA asked chapters and members to urge Representative and Senators to sign a “dear colleague” letter supporting the budgetary increase. Last year, no NJ Representatives and both Senators signed. This year, both Senators signed, as well as Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. of NJ’s 9th district.