Center For Family Services, Inc. (CFS) is seeking $5,367,260 in continued funding for 38 shelter beds for the 2023-2024 grant period, as published in the Standing Notice of Funding Opportunity for Residential Services for Unaccompanied Children (UC), through the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). In 1976, the agency developed one of the first homeless youth shelters in the United States. This 47-year history of providing safe and supportive emergency shelter for adolescents builds on a rich heritage of serving children and families across southern New Jersey since 1920. Many of the programs that exist today within our extensive continuum of care have been born of the agency's responsiveness to youth and families who have come to us in need. In light of the child migrant crisis facing the United States, Center For Family Services acknowledged a moral and humanitarian obligation to provide unaccompanied children with assistance, including physical shelter, nurturing support, and psychological assessments and counseling.
On February 1, 2017, Center For Family Services was awarded a contract from ORR for 50 residential beds (Shelter/TFC) to expand services to UC. An additional unsolicited single source award was granted on May 1, 2021 for an additional 10 beds. This proposal seeks to continue operation of the Juntos 2 program which will provide shelter services to 20 youth ages 13-17 in Northfield, New Jersey, and 18 community-based TFC beds to minors in South Jersey, who will be served through the UC Success Center in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.
Center For Family Services has the capacity to meet the immediate needs of up to 600 unaccompanied children per year through the Juntos Shelter Program and has provided services to over 1,600 since its inception. The proposed program will be culturally sensitive, linguistically appropriate, child-centered, and trauma-informed, with a focus on ensuring the safety and well-being of UC. Juntos staff are committed to uniting UC with family members or other ORR-approved and eligible sponsors in as timely a manner as possible. In addition to short-term shelter care, the Juntos Shelter Program will provide comprehensive service to UC, including various levels of counseling, intensive case management, unification advocacy, educational development, recreation activities, and life skills instruction, all designed to build self-sufficiency in each youth served.