About Us

Who We Are

Children can’t vote. They have no political influence. They can’t tell our state leaders what they need. That’s why we’re here.

Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) works with local, state and federal leaders to identify and implement changes that will benefit New Jersey’s children.

Our work results in better laws and policies, more effective funding and stronger services for children and families. This means more children are given the chance to grow up safe, healthy and educated.

A cornerstone of ACNJ's success is its independence. We are strictly non-partisan and accept no government funding for advocacy, freeing us to focus on our sole mission - helping children.

What We Do

  • We Inform. ACNJ researches issues and produces nationally-acclaimed reports to inform policymakers and the public and to advance solutions. Our NJ KIDS COUNT data on child well-being provides critical information to help informed decision-making leads to smarter choices that help more children.
  • We Advocate. ACNJ works closely with state and federal lawmakers and policymakers to bolster their understanding and response to the needs of children and families.
  • We Build Coalitions. We bring together groups of professionals to develop better practices and quality programs. And we build coalitions of concerned residents  who share a commitment to improving the lives of children and families.
  • We Equip Caregivers. Through ACNJ’s KidLaw Resource Center, thousands of parents, caregivers and professionals gain the information they need to be their child’s strongest ally and advocate.
  • We Elevate Children’s Voices. With the help of ACNJ, thousands of children have had their concerns, thoughts and visions shared with lawmakers, governors and other state leaders, giving them a say in the decisions that drive their future.

Our History

Advocates for Children of New Jersey’s roots grew out of some of the earliest efforts in New Jersey to protect abused and abandoned children. Originally called the Association for Children, ACNJ is part of an evolution that began in 1847, when the Newark Orphan Asylum was established. Over the years, other child-related organizations were created to care for orphans, children living in foster care and children in troubled families. In 1978, two of those groups – the Citizens Committee for Children and Child Service Association – merged to form what was then called the Association for Children of New Jersey. ACNJ officially changed its name in July 2010.

Since its founding, ACNJ has become the best-known, most respected research and advocacy group for children in the state with a reputation beyond New Jersey’s borders.

Our Accomplishments

ACNJ’s advocacy efforts have resulted in:

  • $116 million for state-funded preschool (Preschool Education Aid), $40 million of which will go towards expanding public preschool in new districts.
  • A resolution to encourage more partnerships with community child care providers as eligible school districts expand their preschool programs to full-day.
  • $20 million to support the creation of a Social Impact Investment Fund, which will provide below-market loans for socially conscious projects in distressed communities, including child care facilities.
  • $15.6 million for New Jersey's Universal Newborn Home Nurse Visitation
    providing new parents at least one free home visit from a nurse within the first few weeks of their child’s birth.
  • $500,000 to establish a program that provides an enhanced payment for well-child and sick visit claims submitted for children under 4 years of age at HealthySteps sites. HealthySteps is a program that provides early childhood development support to families in a pediatric health care setting.
  • 500 parents, caregivers, and professionals receiving information and assistance regarding the legal rights of children.