Forging Partnerships with the Hispanic Community in New Jersey

The ACF Region II Hispanic Outreach Work Group hosted its first New Jersey Statewide Hispanic Outreach Event, “Forging Partnerships with the Hispanic Community in New Jersey,” on Monday, February 25, 2013. This one-day meeting held at the Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey was designed to be an opportunity for a number of ACF-wide programs; the New Jersey Department of Human Services; the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and the Princeton Theological Seminary, Hispanic Theological Initiative to share important information about the programs, resources and outreach currently available to the Hispanic community as well as the organizations that serve them.

Opening remarks made by Allison Blake, Commissioner of the NJ Department of Children & Families, Joyce Thomas, Regional Administrator for Region II, and Dr. Jaime R. Torres, Regional Director for Region II, began the interactive dialogue between the community based organizations that serve the rapidly growing Hispanic population in New Jersey and the heads of the social services agencies in NJ; Kara Wood, Director, Department of Child Protection & Permanency; Lisa Von Pier, Director, Division of Family & Community Partnerships, Jeanette Page-Hawkins, Director, Division of Family Development and Alisha Griffin, Director, Office of Child Support Services. Additionally, presentations made by two organizations with well established social service agency partnerships (Marlene Devlin, Director of Fatherhood Programs at Union Industrial Home, and Christopher F. Irizarry, President & CEO of North Hudson Community Action Group) piqued the interest of meeting participants and generated much enthusiasm. The more national perspective on “facilitating access to and collaboration with the Hispanic community” given by Laura M. Irizarry, Esq., Assistant, ACF Office of the Assistant Secretary, as well as the closing remarks made by Reverend Joanne Rodriguez, Director of the Hispanic Theological Center at the Princeton Theological Seminary ended our day's program on a high note, sending all in attendance off with a renewed sense of responsibility and commitment to serve the Hispanic community in New Jersey.

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