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January 2012 E-news

Director's Message: Progress made in 2011, Challenges Ahead

We faced many challenges in 2011 and, looking back, it is gratifying to tally our wins for kids, even as the state struggled with continued economic hardships. Victories in preschool, health coverage and school breakfast topped our list of wins in 2011. This year promises to be equally challenging – and we hope just as rewarding. Your continued commitment to children is critical as we advance together toward our shared vision of every child growing up safe, healthy and educated.

Read Cecilia Zalkind’s new year’s message.

Tax Returns: A Quick Path to Health Coverage for Kids

New Jersey will again use tax returns to identify uninsured children and give parents a speedy way to get free or low-cost health coverage through NJ FamilyCare. Parents can simply check a box on their NJ state tax return, indicating that a child has no health insurance either through private or public -- NJ FamilyCare, Medicaid, NJ FamilyCare Advantage or Medicare -- plans.

Parents who check this box will receive in the mail a simple application for NJ FamilyCare.  Income information on the tax return will be used to easily process each application. Please encourage parents of uninsured children to check the box in question 13 on NJ State Income Tax Return.

Download this flyer to alert parents about tax returns.

Get information about NJ FamilyCare enrollment.

DOE Steps Up on School Breakfast

At a recent state Board of Education meeting, Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf vowed to step up as a leader on school breakfast. ACNJ presented its school breakfast report at the meeting, where Cerf said that the Departments of Education and Agriculture will issue a joint memorandum, giving districts direction on how to expand school breakfast participation. New Jersey ranks nearly last in the nation on this measure of child well-being. We expect that to change.

Read The Record’s coverage.

Turrell Fund Supports ACNJ to Make Infants and Toddlers a Priority

ACNJ has been awarded $100,000 from the Turrell Fund in Montclair to improve the state’s  system of care for children from infancy to age three. As the leader of early learning initiatives in New Jersey, ACNJ will expand its efforts to secure greater state investments in a child’s first years, when growth and development is greatest.

“This is an incredible opportunity to focus more attention and resources on those critical first years – a time that greatly impacts a child’s future learning,” said ACNJ Director Cecilia Zalkind. “We are grateful to the Turrell Fund for recognizing the importance of this critical work.”

Free Dental Care for Kids on February 3

Give Kids a Smile Day is Friday February 3 when dentists throughout New Jersey provide FREE dental care to children. Any child ages 3-12 can participate, regardless of the parents’ income. An appointment is needed.

Click here for a list of participating dentists.

Please forward this email to colleagues and friends.

ACNJ Testifies on Child Welfare Reform

New Jersey’s child protection system has made strides in building a stronger infrastructure, but now needs to fundamentally change the way cases are handled, ACNJ Executive Director Cecilia Zalkind told a legislative committee this month. The Assembly Human Services Committee heard testimony from Judy Metzer, the federal court-appointed monitor, and ACNJ, on the progress of child welfare reforms.

Read Ceil’s testimony.

Newark Mayor, Superintendent to Use Kids Count to Drive Decisions

Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Superintendent Cami Anderson came out in support of Newark Kids Count 2011, recently released at Branch Brook Elementary School. Both said the data will be used to drive smart decision-making, as the city continues its overhaul of public education. In addition to a broad range of child well-being statistics, the report featured a special section on 3rd grade reading.

Read the report.

In This Issue

ACNJ Director New Year's Message
Quick Health Coverage For Kids

DOE Steps Up on School Breakfast
Turrell grant focuses on infants/toddlers
Free Dental Care for Kids
ACNJ Testifies on Child Welfare Reform
Newark Kids Count Released


Advocates for Children of New Jersey
 35 Halsey Street 2nd Floor, Newark, NJ 07102
(Between Bleeker St. and Central Ave.)
973.643.3876 I Fax 973.643.9153 I www.acnj.org 
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