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August 2013

Pre-K Poll Shows Strong Support

A new poll shows the majority of voters -- Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike -- support a plan to help states provide better early childhood education to parents of children from birth to age five, ensuring that all children get a strong start in life.

View the results of a national survey, released by The First Five Years Fund, which also found that voters say the country needs to “do more” on this issue.

Advocates for Children of New Jersey is co-leader of a national effort to advance this federal plan to provide high-quality preschool and other early childhood programs. Known as the State-Based Advocates for Early Learning, this coalition brought 31 states, including New Jersey, to Washington D.C. last week to discuss the federal proposal and advocate with Congress. ACNJ’s Executive Director Cecilia Zalkind chairs the committee that is developing recommendations around the proposal. We will be reaching out to our supporters to assist with this effort, so stay tuned!

Foster Youth to Have More Say in Court Hearings

New Jersey youth living in foster care will have a better chance of having their voices heard in the court hearings that affect their lives. Advocates for Children of New Jersey brought attention to the lack of participation of youth at court proceedings in a July 2011 report. New Jersey law gives children living in foster care the right to attend their permanency hearings, but many times this fails to happen.

To help improve this, a pilot program is planned for three counties -- Burlington, Essex and Morris -- using a practice guide, recently approved by the Honorable Glenn A. Grant, acting director of the Administrative Office of the Courts. This “protocol” was developed by the statewide Children in Court Improvement Committee and endorsed by the Conference of Family Presiding Judges.

The Children in Court Committee will work with the counties to address logistical issues, such as transportation, giving children notice of court hearings and helping prepare children to participate. The pilots will identify and address any issues before the protocol is implemented statewide. We’ll let you know how it goes.

NJ National Model for Juvenile Justice Reform

A delegation from Washington State of judges, legislators and others involved in the juvenile justice system visited New Jersey to see first-hand how the state has succeeded in reducing the number of juveniles locked up in county detention. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which leads a national initiative to reduce the use of detention for youth, has recognized the state as a model and supports other states in visiting New Jersey to learn how they can replicate that success.

ACNJ spotlighted this success in a recent report.
Read the story.

After-School Directory Coming!

ACNJ’s annual Newark After-School Directory is due out mid-August. This comprehensive guide helps parents find after-school care for their children. We will send out an e-mail when the guide is ready.

For more information or to include your Newark after school program in the directory, contact Beatriz Alcaraz at balcaraz@acnj.org.

In This Issue

Poll shows strong support for preschool
Foster care kids have more say in court
NJ, national model for Juvenile Justice Reform
Newark After-school Directory coming soon

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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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