Transitioning from childhood to adulthood is filled with challenges. Along with the physical changes that are occurring, one is learning how to navigate the world around them and coming to a better understanding of themselves in the process. Here are some general resources and services available in our state that were created to assist you.
Internet Safety Resources
The Department of Homeland Security has an extensive list of Parent and Educator Resources on how to discuss internet safety and sharing with children.
Opportunities for Recreation, Education, Support and More
In an effort to protect children and strengthen families, New Jersey has developed community programs and services that address varying needs. Following are brief descriptions of school-based programs that are available.
- Family Friendly Centers (FFC) enhance afterschool programming in elementary and middle schools. FFCs provide constructive academic, recreational, and social enrichment activities to students and their families. All FFC programs emphasize positive youth development, encourage parental participation, and seek to establish partnerships with school and community stakeholders to meet the unique needs of youth and their families.
- School Based Youth Services Programs (SBYSP) coordinate with existing resources in the community. All youth are eligible to participate and services are provided before, during and after school. SBYSP services includes Mental Health Counseling; Employment Counseling; Substance Abuse Education/Prevention; Preventive Health Awareness including Pregnancy Prevention; Primary Medical Linkages; Learning Support; Healthy Youth Development; Recreation; and Information/Referral.
- Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (PJD) enhances services and collaborates with the School Based Youth Services Program. Eligible youth must be enrolled in the host school and display behaviors that can or have caused them to become involved in the juvenile justice system. PJD services focus specifically on juvenile delinquency prevention strategies and self-regulation skills to prevent juvenile delinquent behaviors that can impede the student’s achievement of their education and life goals. PJD services include Case Management and Counseling Services; Collaboration with Local Law Enforcement, state, school, and community-based agencies, Drop Out Prevention, and Life and Coping Skills.
- Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (APPI) collaborates with the School Based Youth Services Program. Eligible youth must be enrolled in the host school and display behaviors that could lead to an unplanned pregnancy. Youth involved in the program will gain increased pregnancy prevention skills to support the achievement of their education and life goals. APPI services focus specifically on pregnancy prevention skills and knowledge to support the student’s ability to achieve their education and life goals. APPI services include Case Management and Counseling Services; Education and Awareness groups; Linkages to available services and resources; and Collaboration with school personnel.
- Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth (TLC) promotes mental health awareness and healing by building an informed and competent community equipped to prevent suicide and recover after a traumatic incident. Basic components of all TLC curricula includes suicide prevention, intervention and post-intervention, and trauma response to build local capacity in schools and communities to promote mental health awareness and technical assistance to schools and communities for the benefit of school-age youth.
- Parent Linking Program (PLP) works to minimize/eliminate barriers expectant and parenting teens (including young fathers) face that can prevent them from completing their education by strengthening pregnant and parenting teen’s ability and access to complete their education (secondary and postsecondary); improve child and maternal health outcomes; improve pregnancy spacing and reduce the likelihood of repeat teen pregnancies; increase parenting skills for mothers, fathers, and families; strengthen positive young father involvement and co-parenting relationships, as appropriate, decrease intimate partner violence, and raise awareness of available resources.
State and Local Health Resources
Health insurance is available for eligible children under 18 years of age. NJ FamilyCare is New Jersey's publicly funded health insurance program. Learn more about these programs in our Healthcare overview.
Newark School-Based Health Centers (SBHC)
SBHC provides primary medical, dental, and behavioral health care services to students and families (up to age 21) in the school where the health center is based and other locations in its surrounding community.
Family Planning Options
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of New Jersey
These organizations seek to improve the health and safety of women, prevent unintended pregnancies, and assist individuals and families in making informed choices. Find a local Planned Parenthood center online or by calling 800-230-7526.
Birthright provides supportive services for women who are pregnant or may be pregnant, and are seeking alternatives to abortion. Birthright provides pro-life counseling and emotional support, pregancy testing, and referal services. All Birthright services are free. Birthright operates a 24-hour hotline at 800-550-4900.
New Jersey's Safe Haven
Under the state’s Safe Haven Infant Protection Act, an individual can give up an unwanted baby safely, legally, and anonymously as long as the child is unharmed. The Act safeguards unwanted babies from being hurt or killed from the dangers of abandonment. The law allows parents, or someone acting on their behalf, to legally and anonymously surrender an unwanted infant who is under 30 days old to any hospital emergency room or police station in the state. The New Jersey Department of Children and Families will take the infant into custody and place the infant in a foster or pre-adoptive home. Parents will be safe from prosecution if the baby has not been abused.
To learn more about this program, call the Safe Haven hotline at 877-839-2339 or visit their website.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV
The state’s Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Program prevents and reduces the effects of STDs in New Jersey through prevention, education, screening, treatment, and surveillance. All STD treatment and testing is free and confidential. If you have questions you want answered, call the NJ STD/HIV Hotline at 800-624-2377. Find a screening clinic near you.
Finding the Path that is right for you
New Jersey Youth Corps assists young adults (ages 16-25) who have left high school prior to graduation by preparing them for employment. This program is a voluntary and full-time commitment through which Corps members spend half their time working toward a high school equivalency diploma (GED) and the remainder in community service and/or work experience projects. Additionally, personal and career counseling and support services are provided to help transition to higher education, vocational training, employment, military or national service To learn more, visit their website.
Battling Personal/Internal Demons
Find the help you need to handle a drinking problem.
Alcoholics Anonymous hosts support groups throughout NJ for those who have had a drinking problem. There are no age or education requirements and membership is open to anyone. Find a support group in your area.
Is food consuming your thoughts?
Eating disorders frequently appear during adolescence or young adulthood and are more likely to be experienced by women and girls, (although an estimated 5-15% of those who suffer from these disorders are male.) An eating disorder is marked by extremes such as extreme reduction of food intake or extreme overeating, or feelings of extreme distress or concern about body weight or shape. Eating disorders are very complex, and despite scientific research to understand them, the biological, behavioral, and social underpinnings of these illnesses remain elusive. They are treatable.
Learn what stress is, how your body responds to it and how you can control it in a healthy way here.
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. The older you get, the more bullying behavior has the potential to be considered a crime. Stopbullying.gov is a site that provides information about the different forms bullying behavior takes and what can be done about it. Regardless of whether you are the one being bullied or are a witness to this behavior, don't stay silent. Learn what you can do to respond to and prevent this abusive behavior.
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Seek help before it is too late.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people ages 12 to 19. Don't battle thoughts of suicide alone. Individuals seeking immediate crisis assistance should call 9-1-1. Find additional resources for mental health struggles on our Mental Health page.
Sometimes it just helps to talk to someone.
If something is concerning you and you don’t have someone you feel comfortable discussing it with, try reaching out to the 2NDFLOOR - a confidential and anonymous helpline for NJ's youth and young adults ranging in age from 10 to 24. It is open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. Youth can either call the helpline using a toll-free number, 888-222-2228 or access the interactive website. Find additional resources for mental health struggles on our Mental Health page.