Project Self-Sufficiency, a local non-profit agency specializing in services for low-income families in northwestern New Jersey, was recently awarded a grant from The Statewide Parent Advocacy Network to implement The Family Wellness Initiative, a special program uniquely designed to support low-income families with special needs children. The agency will set up a consortium of medical professionals to help low-income families in the Sussex County area to navigate the tangled web of medical, social, educational and emotional issues that often face families who have children with special needs.
Due to the rural nature of the area, Sussex County families from lower income brackets must often leap several hurdles just to receive adequate health care for their children. The lack of public transportation, geographic isolation, and the complex services required to address the issues facing children with special needs can sometimes push parents to the breaking point. Families without adequate health insurance face even greater obstacles, often causing them to forgo treatment for vulnerable children who have special needs.
The Family Wellness Initiative operated by Project Self-Sufficiency will offer struggling low-income families a team of professionals to help guide them through the process of securing physical and mental health services for their young children. The agency will partner with Learning Specialist Elise Lorber and Nurse Practitioner Renee Thomas to coordinate care for families with children under the age of five, or those who have previously been diagnosed with special needs. Families will be able to take advantage of the services available at The Little Sprouts Early Learning Center, as well as receive visits within the comfort of their own home. Parents will be educated about childhood development, parenting skills, discipline techniques, and preventive health care, and they will receive help with coordinating physical, social and emotional assistance for their children. In addition to monthly workshops, the Family Wellness Initiative will help to coordinate healthcare services for the entire family.
“The Family Wellness Initiative at Project Self-Sufficiency is a natural outgrowth of the programs we have provided to low-income families in northwestern New Jersey since 1986,” noted Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency. “We are looking forward to being able to help families with special needs children access the services needed for the entire family to thrive.”
Project Self-Sufficiency has worked together with SPAN on numerous occasions, hosting workshops and other activities for the general public. The two agencies are both dedicated to improving the lives of local families, with programs such as the Family Wellness Initiative. The mission of the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) is to empower and support families, and to inform and involve professionals and others interested in the healthy development and education of children and youth. The agency is committed to assisting children and families with the greatest need due to disability; poverty; discrimination based on race, sex, language, immigrant, or homeless status; involvement in the foster care, child welfare, or juvenile justice systems; geographic location; or other special circumstances.
Project Self-Sufficiency’s mission is to provide the services necessary for single parents, teen parents, displaced homemakers and two-parent families to improve the quality of their lives and those of their children through the attainment of economic self-sufficiency and family stability. Project Self-Sufficiency offers a supportive family-centered environment where life issues are addressed through a combination of individual counseling, peer support groups, case management services, parenting skills training, life skills management training, home visits, childcare and early childhood education, family activities and health education. Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 19,500 families, including over 30,000 children.
For information about the Family Wellness Initiative, or to find out more about the programs and services available to families at Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500.