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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Childhood Development Assessment Tool Available Online


Parents who are concerned about their youngster’s developmental progress can now jump start the assessment process by accessing an online questionnaire through the Project Self-Sufficiency website.  The Ages & Stages Questionnaire is designed to focus on the areas of communication, gross and fine motor skills, and social development.  After parents complete the online questionnaire regarding their child’s development, an Early Childhood Specialist follows up with parents to address concerns and connect them to resources to support the child’s needs.  The Ages & Stages Questionnaire is a service of the Early Childhood Specialist program at Project Self-Sufficiency, a three-year program funded by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.



The Ages & Stages initiative is a natural extension of the services provided by Project Self-Sufficiency explains Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency.  “Project Self-Sufficiency has referred local families to area resources for many years as part of our case management, central intake and home visitation services.  The Ages & Stages questionnaire is an important tool to help connect parents to the resources they need for their child’s development.”

The Early Childhood Specialist program operates in alignment with Project Self-Sufficiency’s established programs including Sussex Warren Project Family Connect Central Intake, the Sussex County Council for Young Children and the Sussex County Family Success Center.  Sussex Warren Project Family Connect Central Intake is provided by Project Self-Sufficiency through a grant from the New Jersey Department of Health.  The one-stop source for information links individuals to medical, educational and social services which can enhance their overall health and quality of life, including health care, maternal infant and early childhood home visitation programs, domestic violence shelters and support services; educational alternatives; family support programs; financial assistance; employment training; infant and child care; early intervention; referral to emergency housing and utility assistance services; as well as programs for senior citizens, veterans, and other community services and programs.

The Family Success Center at Project Self-Sufficiency is a program of support offered to all families.  In addition to parenting skills training, local families can participate in family activities, receive information about health and nutrition, take part in economic self-sufficiency programs, receive legal education, obtain referrals, and other services throughout the year.  

Project Sussex Kids, the Sussex County Council for Young Children, is funded by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and focuses on the health, education and safety of the prenatal to age 8 population and their families. The program has a meeting structure that incorporates a Steering Committee, a Special Needs Subcommittee, a Spanish Families Subcommittee and a General Council whose aim is to provide education and connect families to community resources.

Project Self-Sufficiency is a community-based non-profit organization which specializes in services for low-income families in northwestern New Jersey.  Programs offered at Project Self-Sufficiency include family literacy education, computer training and job placement services, assistance with parenting skills, childcare, counseling and advocacy, referrals, and help with emergency basic needs.  For information about the programs and services offered by Project Self-Sufficiency, visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org or call 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500.  Information about the Sussex County Family Success Center can be found at www.sussexcountyfamilysuccesscenter.org while Project Sussex Kids can be accessed at www.projectsussexkids.org.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Free Parenting Classes Start in March



Project Self-Sufficiency will offer parenting workshops for parents of children of all ages this spring.  Participants will learn about the different stages of physical and emotional development during infancy, childhood and adolescence, as well as techniques for positive discipline and improved communication.  The course will run on Wednesdays, March 18th – May 20th, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.; classes are co-sponsored by the Sussex County Family Success Center and Project Sussex Kids, the Sussex County Council for Young Children.  The sessions are free and open to the public, but registration is required.   The agency is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton. 

The parenting classes offered by Project Self-Sufficiency follow the Nurturing Parent curriculum which teaches age-specific parenting skills and includes components designed for parents as well as children.  The workshops encourage parents to share their experiences with each other.

“The ‘Nurturing Parenting Program’ fosters the capacity of children and parents to trust, care and respect other people and their environment,” explains Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency.  “The curriculum emphasizes the reinforcement of positive behavior, attachment parenting, nurturing discipline and gentle touch, like infant massage.”

The curriculum is supplemented by small group discussion for adults along with play groups for children which reinforce the weekly lesson plans. “This course offers a group dynamic where families can share experiences and learn from others in similar situations,” adds Berry-Toon.

The Family Success Center at Project Self-Sufficiency is a program of support offered to all families.  In addition to parenting skills training, local families can participate in family activities, receive information about health and nutrition, take part in economic self-sufficiency programs, receive legal education, obtain referrals, and other services throughout the year.   Project Sussex Kids, the Sussex County Council for Young Children, has been designed by the New Jersey Department of Children & Families to address the needs of local families who are expecting or who are parenting young children.  County Councils for Young Children have been established in every New Jersey county to bring together parents, caregivers, as well as health, education and social service professionals to enhance communication, coordination and collaboration of services. 

To register for the free parenting workshops, to discuss your parenting needs, or to find out more about other programs and services available at Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.  Information about the Sussex County Family Success Center can be found at www.sussexcountyfamilysuccesscenter.org.  Information about Project Sussex Kids is available at www.projectsussexkids.org.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Special Needs Resource Fair Helps Local Families


Parents, educators and caregivers of those with special needs recently attended a free Resource Fair at Project Self-Sufficiency.  The event featured workshops, guest speakers and vendors designed to support families with special needs individuals of all ages. 

“Through our work in the community, we have encountered many families who expressed a desire for an event which offered a variety of resources for those caring for special needs children and adults in one place,” commented Project Self-Sufficiency Executive Director Deborah Berry-Toon.   “The feedback we received from our attendees and vendors will enable us to continue to offer access to the resources families need to make informed decisions about the health and welfare of the special needs individuals in their care.  We are particularly grateful to all of the social service organization and healthcare providers who attended.”
 
Diana Perez

Life Change Strategist, Coach and Motivational Speaker Diana Perez kicked off the event with an address about the importance of laughter and mindfulness.  During the event, a panel of experts offered an extensive Question & Answer session to attendees; panelists included Tammy Miller, Hopatcong School District Child Study Team Director; Parent Advocate Kathy Nauta; Helen O’Shea, Special Child Health Services; Dale Phlegar, SCARC; and representatives from DAWN Center for Independent Living.   Additional break-out sessions featured a discussion of respite services by Phlegar along with a presentation about the Educational Pathway by Miller. 

Participants will be encouraged to visit with representatives from local businesses, schools and social service organizations including A Way to Freedom, Caring Partners, Care Management Organization; DAWN Center for Independent Living; Diana Perez; Equine Tranquility Wellness Center; Fairview Lake YMCA Camps; Family Intervention Services; Family Partners of Morris & Sussex Counties; Hardyston SEPAG; Macaroni Kid Sussex; NAMI; New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services; NJ SNAP Ed; NORWESCAP Child & Family Resource Services; Project Search; Project Self-Sufficiency; Regional Family Support Planning Council; SCARC, Inc.; SCARC Guardian Services; Shop Rite; Sussex County Community College, Learning at College Experience; Sussex County Education Services Commission; and Sussex County Special Child Health Services.

Project Self-Sufficiency has improved the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey for more than 30 years.  The agency’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children through the achievement of personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability.  Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 25,000 families. 

For more information about the free Special Needs Resource Fair, or to find out more about the programs and services offered by Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.