NJ 2-1-1 Newsletter - Summer 2018

Kinship Navigator Program - New Year Starts July 1

Grandma and grandpa with granchildI was looking for affordable housing because I am taking care of my granddaughter now. When I called 2-1-1 to see about resources, that’s when I learned about this program. I didn’t know anything about it before then, but it’s a big help to me now.” That’s how a caller to NJ 2-1-1 explains her introduction to the Kinship Navigator Program. 

The program was created to provide assistance to people who are caring for an absent relative’s child or children. For those who qualify, the program connects families with a personal “navigator” who will discuss their needs and help them find assistance.

Help comes in several forms.

Navigators will:

  • Provide connections to existing programs and services that will help address immediate needs
  • Register those eligible for the Wrap Around Program which helps with short-term or one-time expenses like furniture, moving costs and clothing for the child 
  • Provide technical support and guide the family through the process of Kinship Legal Guardianship if the caregiver wishes to make a legal commitment to the child

July 1 marks the beginning of a new year for the Kinship Navigator Program. Even if you have received help in the past, you are expected to register anew each year. Dial 2-1-1 to register for the program. 

Read more about the Kinship Navigator Program.

AIRS Accreditation Ensures Fundamentals are in Place

AIRS LogoNJ 2-1-1 is nationally accredited by AIRS (Alliance of Information and Referral Systems). This certification informs all of our work and leaves us poised to serve as a vital connection to services when you are looking for help with any of life’s basic needs. When you dial 2-1-1, regardless of what time of the day (or night) it is, you speak with a person who will listen and try to help you. They are working within a framework that is supported from the ground up. 

The accreditation process evaluates every aspect of our work, processes and procedures to ensure that standards are met. With this comes a close review of our resource database ensuring that organizations listed within it have met AIRS inclusion standards, that records have been properly verified and that assigned taxonomy (the multi-tiered classification system that is used to organize records based upon basic needs) has been applied as it should and that records are complete. 

Our call center staff training processes are reviewed as well. Staff must receive many hours of training in the classroom and sit alongside veteran staff before they are permitted to take calls. Each trainee is taught the importance of empathy; is schooled in taxonomy; learns how to maneuver through our resource database to find the most appropriate resource and how to document calls. Behind the scenes, AIRS also requires a technologically sophisticated redundant phone and database system so that when a storm like Hurricane Sandy hits our shores, we won’t go down. Learn more about 2-1-1.

Summer Recreation, Safety, Food Security 

Kids drawing at tableIt’s summer! Check out our summer pages to learn about camps, recreation spots, food safety, summer feeding programs, summer safety and more. When temperatures soar and you need relief from the heat, find out about cooling centers in your community.