Healthy Youth Development - We believe healthy adolescent development includes developing intellectually, socially, physically, psychologically and emotionally. Youth are more likely to successfully cope with challenges and adversity when supported by a nuturing adult; good role models; a safe, supportive environment; and opportunities to learn and contribute to family and community. We must support young people in developing skills to become self-sufficient, participate fully in school or workplace, assume adult responsibilites and become engaged citizens.
Empowering Youth - Youth should be active participants on decisions affecting their lives, including their living situations. Further, the involvement of young people in the planning and implementation of services and in mobilizing community support for programs that affect their lives, and those of their families, is essential to their individual development and the success of the programs working with them.
Strengthening Families - We believe families are the foundation of our youth and society. Further, youth thrive when positive change is effected in the family context. The primary function of the family, at minimum, is to protect, nurture and educate children. Often, for many reasons, families are challenged in this role.
We, then, must acknowledge and build on existing family strengths, with the primary objective of unifying families. We recognize a family environment is the most appropriate setting for youth.
Cultural Competency - We believe each person is unique and important. Organizational procedures, as well as public policies, must reflect positive efforts to promote the equality of all people, including youth. Existing civil rights and affirmative action legislation must be vigorously enforced. Programs serving youth and their families should accommodate differences and encourage access to services and participation by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth as well as racial, ethnic, religious, and cultural minorities.
Quality Care and Services - All vunerable youth are entitled to quality care that promotes their healthy development and prepares them for a return home, to their next placement or transition to adulthood.
Advocating for Youth - We believe youth are an asset to be nurtured and developed. We must advocate for youth and have an obligation to educate and encourage policy makers, the community, and the general public to be active in acknowledging, protecting, and enhancing the value of youth.
Encouraging Community-Based Services - We believe local communities are most aware of the problems and needs of youth in their area. For this reason, communities need to be the creators and partners in the development of innovative youth services. Partnerships between the public, private, and nonprofit sections need to strive to create innovative community resources that ensure essential needs are met for invididual programs and other community endeavors. Volunteerism needs to be encouraged, valued, and recognized.
Networking - We believe quality services for youth - nationally, regionally, and locally - are dependent upon, and developed and enhanced through, networking (that is, information sharing, the coordination of services and mutual support). NJACYF is committed to strengthening networking activities at local, state, regional, and national levels. Reciprocity, diverse representation, mutual respect, uninhibited communication and leadership are essential elements of dynamic networking.
What we do...
"The NJ Alliance for Children, Youth and Families creates a vehicle for us as leaders to learn about important state and federal changes that affect our ability to care for our children and to keep our agencies fiscally solvent."
a statewide advocacy organization representing human service agencies committed to providing quality care to children, youth and families.