EmPoWER Somerset is pleased to announce a new initiative establishing a County Council for Young Children in Somerset County. The agency was selected to lead this project through a competitive grant from the New Jersey Department of Children & Families, which first funded a pilot CCYC in Cumberland County and is expanding this program into all 21 counties in New Jersey in 2015.
The purpose of the County Council for Young Children is to create an environment where parents come together at the local level with providers & other community stakeholders to identify & discuss the needs, concerns & successes regarding issues that affect the health, education & well-being of children from birth to age 8. “When we heard about this opportunity, we thought it was a great fit with the work we are already doing through the EmPoWER Family Success Center,” said EmPoWER Somerset Executive Director Brenda Esler. The EmPoWER Family Success Center, a program of EmPoWER Somerset since 2012, provides a community gathering place that brings families together through free events & local activities and connects families to helpful resources in Somerset County.
The Somerset County Council for Young Children will be led by Project Coordinator, Patty Haase, working closely with the Director of the Empower Family Success Center, Pastor Tim Wolf. Pastor Wolf states, “We are excited to establish a Council consisting of parents, educators, healthcare providers & leaders from related County agencies who will work collaboratively to develop goals & implement strategies to address the needs of families.”
Ms. Haase states, “We invite parents from the local community to become members of the SCCYC & provide us with feedback on existing programs & services in the areas of early childhood education, healthcare for children, arts & recreation opportunities, services for special needs children, resources for foster & adoptive families and parent education. With parents’ direct feedback on availability, affordability & accessibility of existing programs, we can form strong partnerships with agencies and other providers to take the necessary steps to better meet our families’ needs.”