I am proud to say that Advocates for Children of New Jersey turned 40 years old on June 26. As I reflect back on what has been accomplished, it is overwhelming to think about where ACNJ started and the organization that it has become.
Over the next six months, we will be sharing some of ACNJ’s accomplishments. I encourage you to reminisce with us on our work over the past 40 years. We are developing a timeline on our website, highlighting legislation, publications and other activities that helped improve outcomes for New Jersey’s children. We hope to include pictures of some of you who helped make our efforts successful. If you have stories, pictures 0r videos of ACNJ projects that you were involved in, please share them with us.
ACNJ’s roots began in 1847, when the Newark Orphan Asylum was established. Over the years, other child-related organizations were created to protect abused and abandoned children. In 1978, two of those groups – the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New Jersey and Child Service Association – merged to form the Association for Children of New Jersey to become a voice for all New Jersey children in Trenton. In 2010, we changed our name to Advocates for Children of New Jersey to better reflect what we do — advocate to give every child a chance to grow up safe, healthy and educated.
Our initial efforts focused on child welfare and juvenile justice and over the years we added other important policy areas to our agenda, including early learning, health care for children and supports for low-income families. In all our work, ACNJ is recognized for its responsible, thoughtful research and fact-driven publications meant to inform policymakers and the general public about the issues impacting the well-being of children.
I am proud of what our staff and board have accomplished over the past 40 years for the children of New Jersey. But I know that ACNJ’s success is due in large part to all our supporters and partners that have worked with us. Thank you for all you do to support our efforts on behalf of children. Please join us and add your memories on Facebook. I will be checking in with you over the next few months with stories, fun facts and special accomplishments.