Families with a child with a disability often need specific information, including: details about the disability, school services, therapy, local policies, funding sources, transportation, medical facilities and much more. As parents, you know your children best, so look for a professional team that will truly listen to your interests and concerns. By developing a non-judgmental and nurturing team, you will receive the support to succeed under very difficult circumstances.
Family Support Organizations (FSO’s) are family-run, county-based organizations that provide direct family-to-family peer support, education, advocacy and other services to family members of children with emotional and behavioral problems. To access services, you may call these organizations directly or call 1-877- 652-7624. There is a Camden, Burlington, and Gloucester County local office that can be accessed.
Jewish Family & Children’s Services works with individuals with special needs and offers a wide range of services including counseling, case management, respite care (through DDD funding), etc. They offer Sibshops, which are programs for siblings of individuals with special needs, as well. Although this is run through the Jewish Federation, individuals do not have to be Jewish to access these resources. The contact phone number is 856-424-1333 or email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) is an independent 501(c)3 organization committed to empowering families as advocates and partners in improving education, health, and mental health outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth. SPAN is a "first stop" for New Jersey families. SPAN is New Jersey's Parent Training and Information Center; Family to Family Health Information Center; Family Voices State Affiliate Organization; Parent to Parent USA affiliate; and a chapter of the Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health.
Mom 2 Mom is a unique organization because by dialing the number, a mother of a child with special needs will call you to answer questions or talk. This kind of direct support from someone that can really relate is extremely beneficial for parents of an individual with special needs that is struggling with a particular situation or decision. They also provide counseling and mental health support for the parents. This is sponsored through Rutgers University.
Family Voices aims to achieve family-centered care for all children and youth with special health care needs and/or disabilities. Through this national network, Family Voices provides families tools to make informed decisions, advocates for improved public and private policies, builds partnerships among professionals and families, and serves as a trusted resource on health care.
Parent to Parent is another organization that utilizes parents with children with special needs to assist each other in supportive ways. As trained supporting parents, they offer emotional support and information, and act as a valuable resource to families. They offer assistance in learning the necessary skills to help parents face the challenges of raising their child.
The ARC of New Jersey is the state's largest organization advocating for and serving citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. There are different offices in each county (i.e. Camden, Gloucester, Burlington, etc.).