Thursday, April 30, 2015

County Council for Young Children Established in Sussex County

Funding to create the Sussex County Council for Young Children has been granted to Project Self-Sufficiency by the New Jersey Department of Children & Families, announced the agency recently.  The new entity, to be called Project Sussex Kids, will be designed to address the needs of local families who are expecting or who are already parenting children up to the age of eight.  County Councils for Young Children are being established in all of the state’s 21 counties to bring together parents, caregivers, as well as health, education and social service professionals to enhance communication, coordination and collaboration of services. 

“Project Self-Sufficiency is honored to be the lead coordinating agency for this community partnership in Sussex County,” remarked Haley McCracken, Coordinator of the Sussex County Council for Young Children program at Project Sussex County.  “We are looking forward to creating an environment where Sussex County parents and families can come together with providers to identify and discuss issues which impact the health, education and well-being of all of our children.”

Several projects are in the works already, including the development of a comprehensive resource guide and an interactive website.  Plans to work alongside childcare centers and preschools are being developed.

As Kris Imbrie, L.C.S.W, D.V.S., noted in her keynote presentation, “Building Resiliency in Families,” at the event, “Families meet with all kinds of adversities, such as a special needs child, poverty, loss of support, racism, and substance abuse.  We will explore what makes families resilient and address how agencies and professionals can better support and nurture this drive to survive.”

The agency is currently seeking volunteers to join workgroups to identify community needs.  Groups will meet locally to seek input about health and wellness, safety, community events and other topics.  The groups will be divided according to the age or needs of the children in the family, including prenatal, special needs, families of infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children, families of school-aged children, and Spanish-speaking families.  To facilitate participation, meetings will be held regionally in Newton, Sussex, Vernon, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg and Montague.  General council meetings will take place in the morning and in the evening in order to accommodate the varied schedules of busy families; the kick-off announcement was offered at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29th, and again in the evening at Project Self-Sufficiency’s Family Expo on Thursday, April 30th.

Project Self-Sufficiency is a private non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey. 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 20,000 families, including over 30,000 children. 

To volunteer to participate in one of the Project Sussex Kids workgroups or to find out more information about the programs and services offered by Project Self-Sufficiency, visit or call 973-940-3500.