Archive for the ‘ALERT!’ Category

Interested In Being Part of the Pilot: NJ’s Quality Standards for Afterschool

Thursday, November 29th, 2012
 The first edition of NJ’s Quality Standards for Afterschool is complete!

We now seek afterschool programs to use the Standards, the Assessment Tool and the related documents during the course of this school year and to give us feedback on what we developed.

Participating programs will:

  • Use the Quality Standards, Assessment Tool and related documents to assess their program and formulate a quality improvement plan
  • Complete several surveys (online) about their experience
  • Attend an in-person focus group meeting in Spring 2013 to discuss their experience
Programs that successfully complete the above requirements will receive a free 2-hour training at their program.  If you are interested in participating, please contact Lee McDermott Schaefer at lee@njsacc.org by November 30.
Limited slots are available for this pilot project, so do not delay!

Can your agency provide healthy suppers to thousands of local youth in need?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Can your agency provide healthy suppers to thousands of local youth in need?

The At-Risk Afterschool Meal Program, a federal nutrition program for youth in need attending afterschool programs, is still new to our state.  NJSACC is working to build up our state infrastructure so more youth can gain access to healthy suppers through this program.

What we need:

Agencies that can act as “umbrella sponsors”

An “umbrella sponsor” administers the meal program for multiple afterschool programs.  The umbrella sponsor doesn’t need to have any prior connection to these afterschool programs.  Examples of umbrella sponsors are large social service agencies, school districts, or city recreation departments.

Here’s how it can work:

What you (the umbrella sponsor agency) provide:

-The administrative capacity to manage a meal program for hundreds or thousands of youth

-Payments to food vendors for the meals, which are later reimbursed (see below)

-Staff time to manage the meal program – about one full-time staff person for 40 afterschool program sites

-A small pot of start-up funding to initiate the program, and maybe a small pot of on-going funding, depending on your meal program’s “balance sheet”

-Training for participating afterschool programs in what their role will be

-Communication with food vendors – including negotiating meal costs and managing food quality

What you get:

-This is a federal nutrition program, and you’ll get reimbursed from the government at a rate of about $2.77 per meal served (this figure goes up each year).

-Because you’re serving so many meals, you can negotiate very good prices from food vendors.  Model umbrella sponsors from around the country are able to use the surplus to cover the costs of managing the meal program – both the cost of the food and the staff time – and they break even after finding that “magic balance.”  You may hit this point with around 40 afterschool program sites.

-If providing suppers to youth in need fits in with your agency’s mission, this is a great opportunity for you.  In addition, umbrella sponsors report getting excellent free press from serving this vital role in the community.

What NJSACC can help with:

-Recruiting afterschool program sites that you can sponsor

-Finding food vendors that work for you

-Applying for funding

-Connecting with successful umbrella sponsors from out of the state (and, as our owns state’s umbrella sponsor network grows, those from in state too) and other supportive resources


Is yours the agency we’re looking for?

Please call or email us to discuss the possibilities!

908-789-0259 – ask for Elizabeth or Lisa

elizabeth@njsacc.org or  lisa@njsacc.org

Department of Health and Senior Services: Reminds Residents to Take Precautions to Avoid Norovirus Infection

Thursday, February 16th, 2012
DHSS Reminds Residents to Take Precautions to Avoid Norovirus Infections

As expected, New Jersey is experiencing an increase in norovirus outbreaks and DHSS reminds residents to take precautions to protect their health. Colds and flu are not the only infections that thrive in the winter. Norovirus – sometimes called the stomach flu, viral gastroenteritis, or food poisoning – also likes the colder weather. 

“The best way to avoid the norovirus is to wash your hands often using soap and water,” said Deputy Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito. “Alcohol-based hand cleansers are not effective against this virus.”

Norovirus is a highly contagious viral illness, which begins suddenly and usually causes stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Some people may also experience low-grade fever, chills, headache, body aches and fatigue. Most people recover quickly, but serious complications can occur – particularly in those with other medical conditions.  Those infected with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin to feel sick until as long as two weeks after recovery.

There is no vaccine to prevent norovirus infection and there is no drug to treat it. The best way to reduce the risk of getting norovirus is to:

  • Practice good hand hygiene.  Wash your hands with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom and changing diapers. Alcohol-based hand cleansers are not effective against norovirus.
  • Carefully wash fruits and vegetables and cook oysters and other shellfish before eating.
  • Do not prepare food while infected or while you have symptoms of norovirus. Foodhandlers should wait 3 days after they recover from their illness before returning to work.
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces.  After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean surfaces by using bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label or a diluted bleach solution (5-25 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of water). Never use undiluted bleach.
  • Remove and wash clothing and linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool.  Handle soiled items carefully to avoid spreading the virus. If available, wear rubber, disposable gloves while handling soiled clothing or linens and wash your hands after handling. Items should be washed with detergent at the maximum cycle length and machine dried.
  • Report all outbreaks to the local health department.

Noroviruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the US. It is estimated that each year, more than 20 million cases of gastroenteritis are caused by norovirus. That means that 1 in every 15 Americans will become ill from norovirus each year.  In New Jersey, approximately 100 norovirus outbreaks are reported to the health department each year.

Noroviruses can spread quickly from person to person in crowded, closed places like long-term care facilities, daycare centers, schools, hotels, summer camps, hospitals, family dinners, student housing, restaurants, and cruise ships. In other words, places where people often eat food that is prepared or handled by others. 

There have recently been norovirus outbreaks on the campuses of Princeton University and Rider University. Both universities have been very cooperative with local and county health officials in taking steps to prevent further transmission by sanitizing and educating students and staff about frequent handwashing.

Noroviruses are found in the stool and vomit of infected people. People can become infected by:

  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus.
  • Touching surfaces or objects that are contaminated with norovirus, and then placing your hand in your mouth.
  • Having direct contact with an infected person; for example, by exposure to the virus when caring for or when sharing food, drinks, or eating utensils with an infected person.

 

 

It is our continuous duty to educate the public about our shared responsibility to protect children by reporting suspected child abuse and neglect to the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services, and also to assure our communities that we are prepared and trained to respond to these reports in a timely and professional manner.

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Colleagues,
Recent events have caused me to reflect on our continuous duty to educate the public about our shared responsibility to protect children by reporting suspected child abuse and neglect to the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services, and also to assure our communities that we are prepared and trained to respond to these reports in a timely and professional manner.

In New Jersey we are fortunate to have an established commitment to a multi-disciplinary approach to child abuse investigations, particularly sexual abuse. Our DYFS staff and investigators from county and local law enforcement agencies are trained in forensic interviewing techniques aimed at reducing trauma to victims and family members, while assuring evidentiary standards are upheld. We are also fortunate to have a network of child advocacy centers across the state which provide a safe and child friendly environment for interviews with children and family members to occur. And, unlike most states, we have four regional diagnostic and treatment centers whose sole mission is assessment and treatment of child abuse and neglect. These centers are hospital based and assure that our children are provided with expert medical and clinical treatment. And we have many, many more professionals, trained in trauma, and therapeutic interventions, prepared to provide treatment for these children.

However, a report must be made to the child abuse hotline before this system can intervene and provide the services we have developed to serve and protect our state’s children and families. In New Jersey the law requires all citizens to report suspected child abuse or neglect immediately to DYFS – it is not the responsibility of institutions or private citizens to screen information to determine its veracity before making the report. Making that determination is the responsibility of the trained professionals charged with protecting our state’s most vulnerable.

The next time you discuss current events with your family members or neighbors, remind them how important that phone call to the child abuse hotline can be.

To report suspected child abuse and neglect in New Jersey call 1-877 NJ ABUSE (1-877-652-2873).

Respectfully,
Allison Blake
Commissioner
NJ Department of Children and Families

 

IMPORTANT ! Take Action by November 9th- comment needed on NJ’s 21st CCLC Funding!

Monday, November 7th, 2011

 NCLB Waiver Application – Request for Comment from NJ DOE

On September 23, the US Department of Education announced that the federal government would invite states to apply for flexibility from the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). States would be granted flexibility in exchange for rigorous and comprehensive state-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction.  The first application deadline is November 14.Over the past month, the New Jersey Department of Education has solicited input from educators and community members across the state on the federal government’s guidelines. We collected comments through our website over two weeks in October, and met with both educators and the leadership of teachers unions and professional associations to solicit recommendations.

Before finalizing the application, the Department is soliciting additional comment on the draft outline of our application. This document captures the findings from our initial outreach and additional work done by the Department.

Because such changes would have a major impact on our state’s educators and families, we are soliciting input from K-12 stakeholders and the broader public on this draft outline.

A copy of the draft outline and the form for public comment can be found at the link below.  Submissions will be received through November 9, 2011.

https://education.state.nj.us/esea2/

 

NJSACC, the Network for  New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities is recommending that the language in Section 1 of the Comment  link, https://education.state.nj.us/esea2/ be changed  .

NJ DOE Language :
11. The requirements in ESEA sections 4201(b)(1)(A) and 4204(b)(2)(A) that restrict the activities provided by a community learning center under the Twenty-First Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program to activities provided only during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session (i.e., before and after school or during summer recess). New Jersey requests this waiver so that 21st CCLC funds may be used to support expanded learning time during the school day in addition to activities during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session.


Should you wish to comment, feel free to cut and paste NJSACC’s recommended wording!
But this must be completed by November 9, 2011.

NJSACC: The NJ Afterschool Network feels that this wording will preserve the existing dollars for afterschool with a possibility of broadening the Expanded Learning Time Opportunities in NJ, funded by 21st CCLC dollars.

 Recommended verb-age  to cut and paste in BOX #1:

The requirements in ESEA sections 4201(b)(1)(A) and 4204(b)(2)(A) that restrict the activities provided by a community learning center under the Twenty-First Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program to Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) provided only during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session (i.e., before and after school or during summer recess).

New Jersey requests this waiver so that 21st CCLC funds may be used to support expanded learning time during the school day.
This is not to supplant 21st CCLC  but is in addition to Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session.