Community Access Unlimited provides services for homeless youth and youth served under the Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCP&P) or the NJ Division of Children’s System of Care (NJ-CSOC).
Individuals enrolled in our youth programs are supported by the Division of Child Protection & Permanency, Children’s System of Care, and Homeless Youth Act under the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
What is DCF?
The New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) supports at-risk children and families through a network of community providers. According to their website, DCF and its partners work to increase kinship placements and family connections, and prevent maltreatment and promote strong families.
What Does Aging Out of DCF Mean?
Aging out of foster care is the process of a youth transitioning from the formal control of the foster care system towards independent living…It is used to describe anytime a foster youth leaves the varying factors of foster care, including home, school and financial systems.
During the pandemic, DCF has placed a moratorium on automatically closing youth at age 21 and offered youth to remain open beyond their 21st birthday, encouraging them to continue to receive assistance and services.
Our Services For Youth in New Jersey
Youth programs at CAU help give youth the tools for a more stable adulthood. We accept referrals from DCP&P, law enforcement, teachers, school social workers and administration, social services, and youth seeking assistance for themselves or someone they know. Youth programs provide safe accommodations, food, clothing and medical care, educational assistance, life skills training and more
CAU operates the Union County Runaway and Homeless Youth Shelter/Union County Youth Shelter to provide temporary shelter for youth in crisis and transition them into other housing solutions.
The Union County Runaway and Homeless Youth Shelter/Union County Youth Shelter provides a safe place for youth and services to help them become productive members of the community. We ensure youth transition to other housing solutions.
Transitional Opportunities Program (TOP)
Our youth members enjoy a variety of Elizabeth, NJ-based independent and transitional living support services.
Eligible youth can become a member by referral through different sources depending on the services needed. Referral sources include the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency, Children’s System of Care, referral by local schools, community organizations or local agencies, faith-based organizations, hospitals and medical offices, self-referral, or by anyone encountering a youth seeking shelter or assistance. Please contact us with any questions regarding referrals and eligibility.
Pathways to Academic & Career Exploration to Success (PACES)
PACES supports youth in foster care in their transition to postsecondary education, employment and workforce readiness.
Youth members are empowered to initiate action on issues that affect them and have opportunities for travel and advocacy training through our programs.
NJ Youth Aging Out of DCF FAQs
CAU works to prepare youth for a stable, self-reliant adulthood. Our services are based in Elizabeth and include independent and transitional living support services. Referrals are accepted into program placements after an initial assessment.
What Should You Do When You Age Out of the System?
Contact CAU if you are a youth who is in danger of homelessness or in need of support as you age out of the system. CAU has comprehensive programming to provide youth with a safe place to stay as well as life skills training, employment and education-related services and more to help put you on a path to success.
What are the Biggest Challenges Youth Face As They Age Out of DCF?
Youth need a safe place to live and support to help them on a path to adulthood. According to the Voices of Youth Count from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, 33 percent of homeless youth had once been part of the foster care system. These youth also report having higher substance misuse problems, mental health problems, and a high risk of being physically assaulted. The lack of a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) is the number one correlate for elevated risk of youth homelessness.
Is Aging Out of Foster Care the Same Thing as Aging Out of DCF?
Foster care is just one part of New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P). The division’s services include counseling, parenting skills classes, substance abuse treatment, in-home services, foster care and residential placement. CAU works with DCP&P and other referral sources to place youth in our programs.
Contact us today to learn more.
* indicates a required field.