Atlantic County’s Children and Youth Services Provides Assistance for Families During the Pandemic

By: Katie Francis, Follow South Jersey News Reporting Intern

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted New Jersey, and its effects aren’t going away. As of Sunday September 19, 27,202 deaths in New Jersey have been associated with COVID-19 with 24,429 of these fatalities are confirmed COVID-19 deaths. The state has seen nearly one million confirmed cases with a cumulative total of 988,710.

While it appears that the state and the rest of the country are slowly navigating in the right direction, this public health crisis is proving to have lasting effects on children that are growing up in it. Atlantic County has seen 29,258 confirmed cases and lost 684 lives to the virus.

The South Jersey shore county’s Children and Youth Services has recognized the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on youth and their families, and is providing resources for them. According to their website, the Atlantic County Juvenile/Family Crisis Intervention Unit (FCIU) is a legally mandated program for families who are “experiencing serious difficulties in managing the behavior of children 10-17 years old for whom they are responsible.”

The FCIU is available 24-hours and its services include short-term crisis stabilization, family assessment, and referrals to appropriate community-based services. The Atlantic County Children and Youth Services website also highlights that FCIU also assists families struggling with truancy issues, or unauthorized absence from compulsory education.

Last school year, New Jersey schools were both in person and online, creating a new normal routine for both parents and students. However, for the 2021-2022 school year, all students are required to be back for full-time in-person instruction. Unlike last year, guardians are unable to opt their children out of in-person learning, according to New Jersey’s COVID-19 Information Hub. This could play a factor in truancy issues, since families are again finding ways to piece their busy schedules together.

Atlantic County residents can contact the Juvenile/Family Crisis Intervention Unit weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and more information can be found on their website.

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