By: Gabrielle Mills, Follow South Jersey Intern
SOUTH JERSEY – The State of New Jersey, like far too many other places, struggles with issues of childhood abuse and neglect. Although these problems occur across all socio-economic classes and can develop from loss and changes in family structure, they are exacerbated by poverty and its symptoms.
According to the Mayo Clinic, risk factors include, but aren’t limited to, “family crisis or stress, including domestic violence and other marital conflicts, or single parenting. A child in the family who is developmentally or physically disabled. Financial stress, unemployment or poverty.” Additionally, legislature surrounding child abuse and neglect often fails in preventative measures.
The New Jersey Taskforce on Child Abuse and Neglect (NJTFCAN) aims to correct that. Through its NJ Statewide Prevention Plan, the taskforce outlines concrete goals in which to provide accessible preventive measures and work toward building “trauma informed communities. One such goal is to “ensure that every family , regardless of race, has the same opportunities and access to culturally and linguistically appropriate prevention services.”
The taskforce is composed of 30 members who, according to the NJ Department of Children and Families, “possess a variety of experience ranging from child protection and law enforcement to advocates for children and parents.”
The prevention plan also details organizations they aim to collaborate with. This includes the NJ Department of Health, Associates for Children of New Jersey, (ACNJ) and Nurture NJ, first lady Tammy Synder Murphy’s maternal health passion project.
Governmental interference in family affairs is usually met with apprehension; however, the state is working to keep the taskforce in-house. According to NJ’s Department of Children and Families, “the Task Force is comprised of volunteer members who are broadly representative of the community, including members who have expertise in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.”
Through the implementation of its Statewide Prevention Plan over the next three years, the NJTFCAN hopes to make New Jersey a safer place for children.
The full prevention plan can be found here: https://www.nj.gov/dcf/news/reportsnewsletters/taskforce/2022-2025.NJ.Statewide.Prevention.Plan.pdf.
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