Transitional Opportunities Program (TOP) | CAUNJ

Transitional Opportunities Program (TOP)



Four bedroom home in Union with vacancy for a male on the second floor. Residential staff are on site 24/7 and receive advanced training to support...

Since 1984, TOP has provided comprehensive residential services to youth ages 16 to 21. Eligible youth can become a Community Access Unlimited TOP 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.

Our youth members enjoy a variety of Elizabeth, NJ-based independent and transitional living support services that prepare them for a stable, self-reliant adulthood. Referrals are accepted into one of four placements after initial assessment:

  • Supervised Transitional Living Program (STLP)
  • Semi-Independent
  • Supported Housing

Youth enrolled in the TOP program participate in an employment training workshop, a GED program, or volunteer job practicum for a minimum of 30 hours per week. TOP members may receive 24-hour supervised residential living, community services, daily living skills training, case management, advocacy and outreach, education in accordance with the NJ Approved Life Skills Curriculum, and drug and alcohol awareness education.

A young person is holding a frame with the text "TOP Youth Conference, 1,000,000 likes, #TOPYOUTHConference

Transitional Living Program

CAU operates a Transitional Living Program for homeless and runaway youth in Union County aged 16 up to 21.

TLP services follow a positive youth development approach that offers safety, a sense of belonging, opportunity, independence, and close interpersonal relationships. The program provides long-term residential services, service coordination and transitional living planning, as well as life skills resources and counseling.

The primary causes of homelessness among youth are family conflict or severe economic hardship. Many homeless youth run away from homes where they experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse. One study reports that more than 40 percent of runaway and homeless youth report being beaten by a caretaker and 25 percent experienced some sort of sexual abuse.

Our outreach workers are bilingual and distribute materials in both English and Spanish. Staff meet homeless youth on the streets, around schools and at other places they congregate.

TLP offers life skills training, including money management, budgeting, education, use of credit, interpersonal skills, job attainment and mental and physical health care.

Services offered through the Transitional Living Program are designed to help young people who are homeless make a successful transition to self-sufficient living. Transitional living programs helped over 5,000 homeless youth transition to life on their own in FY 2016.

Basic Center Program

The Transitional Living Program complements the CAU Basic Center Program, which has operated for 9 years to provide immediate housing and personal counseling needs to homeless youth. TLP will assist members to plan for self-sufficient living and provide follow-up support.

BCP helps meet the immediate needs of runaway and homeless youth under 18 years old. In addition, BCP tries to reunite young people with their families or locate appropriate alternative placements.

BCP services include up to 21 days of shelter, food, clothing and medical care, counseling, crisis intervention, recreation, and aftercare services for youth after they leave the shelter.


All cases are evaluated on an individual basis. Contact us today to see if CAU can help you or your youth come out on TOP.

Contact us today to learn more.

* indicates a required field.

  • Hidden
    No longer working!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.