New Jersey Department of Human Services Announces $15 Million in Summer Camp Grants

By: Helena Perray, Follow South Jersey Community Resources Intern

Photo: Jon Bradley | Follow South Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. — On June 14, New Jersey’s Department of Human Services announced $15 million in grants that will aid in the funding of summer youth camps as well as in assisting eligible families in need of financial support.

According to NJDOHS Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman, the grant funds will ensure that youth camps are able to fully operate this summer with proper safety measures and equipment in place. Following Governor Phil Murphy’s lifting of the statewide public health emergency, Acting Commissioner Adelman hopes that these camps will be able to continue to provide an “active summer” for New Jersey’s youth.

“Attending a summer camp is a great tradition that brings many positive experiences and benefits – along with great memories,” Adelman said in a press release. “We’ll help summer camps stay open and safe, while assisting eligible families to help their children attend a camp.”

According to a press release, there will be two different grants available under the $15 million grant program:“COVID Support Grant: funds for COVID-19 related costs and activities such as meeting health and safety protocols; buying PPE supplies, cleaning, sanitizing, air purification, ventilation, testing and touchless equipment; and making minor repairs and modifications.”

“Summer Youth Camp Financial Assistance Grant: funds to offer financial assistance to families not eligible for the subsidy program with annual household incomes up to $100,000 to help cover the cost of summer camp of up to $640 a month.”

You can check out the full list of grant amounts by number of children enrolled here.

According to a press release, camps that apply for the grant must host an on-site program and receive approval for the upcoming camp season from the Department of Health. All summer camps will also be required to “comply with local, state and federal health and safety requirements.” Nearly 1,000 youth camp providers are currently eligible to apply for grant funds. The application process must be managed by camp providers, as well as awarding financial assistance grants to the approved families.

On June 21, grant applications will become available to the public through the New Jersey Child Care Information System. Camp providers must create an account in order to apply, and must fill out the 2021 DFD Youth Camp Acknowledgement Form.

Applicants can create an account and find further application information here.

“We’ve taken many steps throughout the pandemic to help child care providers stay open while helping families afford care and handle remote schooling,” Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said in a press release. “These summer camp grants are the next step in our ongoing effort. We will be helping children enjoy summer safely, while providing a boost to our economy by assisting a vital summer service. We’ll also continue helping child care providers in as many ways as we can.”

This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.