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Support Services for Families

Sometimes, we need help when problems arise. This page provides a list of resources you can tap into if you need financial assistance, health care, child care, unemployment benefits and help with your housing situation.

New Jersey also offers two resources that are a good place to start when looking for help:

NJ 2-1-1 This website allows you to search for many types of social services from the state to local level.  For best results, select your county as your location at www.nj211.org. To speak to a professional, you can call 2 – 1 – 1 or use their online chat service.

NJ Helps This online state service screens all available state services and programs. The screens will prompt you for household information and give you a list of services you may qualify for.  It will also give you a list of local county contacts for all services available in the state. Even if the program says you are not eligible for a service, you should contact the appropriate agency since eligibility requirements may be subject to special circumstances.

Rutgers Helps NJ Resource Guide- Assists advocates, professionals, and the public navigate the complex array of federal, state, and local resources and agencies with medical, legal, and social services. The link to their website is: http://www.rutgershelpsnj.org.

Kinship Navigator Program 2-1-1
Provides information, referrals and other services to people who are raising a relative’s child(ren), as well as contact information for local programs. Caregivers seeking to become a kinship legal guardian should contact the Kinship Navigator Program to initiate an assessment if the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency has not been involved with the family. If DCPP has been or is involved with the family, caregivers should contact the DCPP caseworker.

Child Care Assistance

NJ Parent Link provides information and resources on everything from pregnancy to parenting to preschool. Find out more information online.

State Subsidized Child Care Free child care is available for low-income families. This includes preschool instruction, after-school programs for children up to age 13 and care for children and teens with special needs. Find more information online or contact local child care resource and referral agency.

Head Start This is a preschool program for children (birth through age 5) in low-income families. Find a Head Start center near you.

Disabilities Services

The New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Division of Children’s System of Care (CSOC)
Provides non-educational services for children and youth with developmental disabilities and services for emotional and behavioral health. These services may include personal care, training, residential care and other family services, such as after school and respite care, counseling, crisis intervention and medical care at home. Registration forms and information can be obtained on the division’s website Link: http://www.nj.gov/dcf/about/divisions/dcsc/ or by calling the 24-hour free access line: 1 (877) 652-7624 .  Individuals between 18 and 21 years of age must first register for services with the Division of Developmental Disabilities. http://nj.gov/humanservices/ddd/home/

The New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD)
People over 21 years old who have a developmental disability, which is defined as permanent and was identified before a person turned 22 years old, may be eligible for services from DDD. These services may include community and in-home supports, residential services, counseling, crisis intervention and home health care, among others. Parents must submit an application to DDD. For more information, visit DDD’s website www.state.nj.us/humanservices/ddd/services/apply/  or call 1-800-832-9173.

The New Jersey Labor Department, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVR)
Individuals may be eligible for DVR services when they turn 18, if DVR finds that an individual has a physical or mental impairment that can be an impediment to gainful employment. Services may include vocational counseling, development of job search skills, training, job placement and supported employment.

Parents must submit the application directly to DVR and the application can be submitted before the student turns 18 years old to ensure that services are available when needed. Application forms,  information and services may be obtained by contacting DVR: http://jobs4jersey.com/jobs4jersey/jobseekers/disable/index.html or by calling: 609-292-5987 (voice) 609-292-2919 (TDD), or by contacting the county office. (These telephone numbers are on DVR’s website).

New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of Disability Services (DDS)
Adults who become disabled due to illness or work may register for services with this agency. DDS publishes an annual guide detailing various resources for people with disabilities (in English and Spanish). Registration forms and information, including the resource guide, can be obtained at DVR’s website: http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/dds/home/index.html, by calling 1-888-285-3036, or by contacting the special education department of their school districs.

Energy Assistance

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance This program helps very low-income residents with their heating and cooling bills and makes provisions for emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance. Application Information. Or call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-510-3102.  You can apply to LIHEAP, USF, and Weatherization Assistance Program on the same application

Universal Service Fund (USF) This program helps make energy bills more affordable for low-income customers. If you are eligible, USF can lower the amount you have to pay for natural gas and electricity. Apply to USF.  You can apply for LIHEAP, USF, and Weatherization Assistance on the same application.

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) This program assists elderly, handicapped and low-income persons in weatherizing their homes, improving their heating system efficiency and conserving energy. Apply to WAP (same application as LIHEAP and USF) or find more information online. Also, call the toll free hotline at 1-866-551-7165.

NJ Shares This private, non-profit organization provides grants to pay the utility bills of households in need through a statewide network of community-based social service agencies.  For more information contact the nearest agency location or call 1-866- NJSHARES;

Financial Assistance

Work First New Jersey This program helps people get off welfare, secure employment and become self-sufficient through job training, education and work activities. WFNJ provides temporary cash assistance and many other support services to families for more information contact your local county board of social services.

Food Stamps This state run program provides low-income families with coupons and Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to purchase nutritious food at authorized retail food stores. Apply online or contact your local office.

Women, Infant, and Children This state program provides supplemental nutritious foods for pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children up to the age of five.  Find your local WIC site.

End Hunger NJ This website provides a list of soup kitchens where you can get a meal and food pantries where you can get groceries.

Foreclosure/Homeless Assistance

Preservation Effort (NJ HOPE) This website is designed to help you understand what type of mortgage you have, the terms of your loan, when the interest rate on your mortgage will reset and what steps you need to take to resolve any mortgage problems.

Emergency Housing and Shelters This U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development website provides a list of emergency housing sites in each county.

Homelessness Prevention Program This program provides limited financial assistance to low- and moderate-income tenants and homeowners in imminent danger of eviction or foreclosure due to temporary financial problems beyond their control. Funds are used to disburse payments in the forms of loans and grants to landlords and mortgage companies on behalf of eligible households in danger of homelessness.  Find out more online or call toll free at 866-889-6270.

Healthcare Assistance

NJ FamilyCare New Jersey offers free and low-cost healthcare coverage through NJ Family Care. This program includes a variety of insurance options for children and parents, including Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor. New Jersey also offers NJ FamilyCare Advantage, run by Horizon NJ Health, for families who earn too much to qualify for other NJ FamilyCare programs.  For more information or to apply online visit the NJ FamilyCare website or call 1-800-701-0710 (multilingual support available).

COBRA The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits. There are certain time limits and circumstances under which people can receive COBRA. These include job loss, reduction in hours worked, transitioning between jobs, death, divorce and other life events. Rx4NJ This site helps low-income, uninsured New Jersey residents get access to patient assistance programs where they may qualify for free, or nearly free, prescription medicines. Find out more online or call 1-888-793-6765.

Unemployment/Job Search

Unemployment insurance File a NJ Unemployment Insurance Claim online or by phone. There are special filing instructions for out-of-state residents and for individuals with employment outside of New Jersey : (common commuter states of NY, PA, DE)

One Stop Career Centers These centers, located throughout New Jersey, provide free services to help job seekers develop the skills needed to succeed in a 21st century work environment. For more information: contact your local One Stop Career Center