New Jersey to Use Funds to Protect At-Risk Youth

To ensure that Hurricane Sandy-impacted youth at risk for homelessness and exploitation have access to social services, New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) will use more than $1.5 million from a federal Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) to expand services aimed at protecting vulnerable youth.

“These kids – runaways and abused and neglected children – are at risk on a daily basis,” said David Walker, executive director of Somerset Home. “Our street outreach efforts are dedicated to protecting these kids from exploitation, including the horrors of human trafficking.”

“We have the opportunity – and responsibility – to not only free victims from human sex trafficking, but to also keep young girls from being recruited in the first place – to actually prevent these tragedies from occurring,” said Rush Russell, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey. “We will also be working with boys and men’s groups in these counties to let them know how they can change their attitudes and behaviors to help protect girls from devastating harm.”

“Human trafficking is a direct cause of and effect of homelessness,” said Jill Rottman, executive director for Covenant House New Jersey. “Because of that stark reality, we are fiercely committed to our partnership with the Department of Children and Families and our other wonderful partners throughout the state to combat this most heinous of human offenses.”

Individuals who are, or believe they may know, a victim of human trafficking are encouraged to call the New Jersey Human Trafficking hotline number at 1-855-END-NJ-HT. Individuals can also call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733). Individuals under the age of 21 and who are homeless are encouraged to call the New Jersey Department of Children and Families toll-free hotline at 1-855-INFO-DCF (1-855-463-6323) for help.

Learn more at the Governor Chris Christie article: Christie Administration Announces Expansion Of Human Trafficking And Homeless Services For Sandy-Impacted Youth.

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