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October 5, 2010


October 5, 2010

I am a former Director of the NJ Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) who has continued to work with older at-risk adolescents transitioning to young adulthood. Such youths leave the child welfare system without a place to live, without a meaningful job and, most importantly, without a stable family on which to rely for lifelong advice, guidance and support. From my personal experience in mentoring numerous older adolescents, I know how important it is for such youths to form long-term family-like relationships with caring adults whom they trust and to whom they can turn for assistance throughout their lives. Unless they are offered permanency options, their ability to succeed and to lead self-sufficient, independent lives as responsible young adults will be seriously jeopardized. Community Access Unlimited (CAU) has earned a well-deserved reputation as a pioneer provider of quality support services to at-risk older youths. It offers an impressive continuum of services for older youths with no stable family on which to rely and assist them in forming permanent relationships with reliable adults who can provide them with love, direction and assistance. I have been a volunteer at CAU for many decades, support many of its community-based events, make annual contributions and mentor some of its older adolescents. One homeless young man whom I introduced to CAU's Transitional Opportunity Program (TOP) at the age of 18 has participated in the treatment, life-skills training and related support services provided by CAU. He recently moved to his own apartment, well-equipped and prepared to live a self-sufficient life. He is now 23 years old. Without CAU's assistance, he might still be homeless and lacking the ability to support himself. I am an avid admirer of the role that CAU plays in the lives of these youth.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

witnessing how its support programs have helped hundreds of older, at-risk youth who are aging out of the child welfare system gain the know-how, skills and ability to transition to independent living.

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