Union County New Jersey Department of Human Services program.

A leading non-profit, government affiliated organization for low income families is the Union County Department of Human Services. They operate programs for seniors, families facing poverty, the disabled, and residents with a crisis. In fact, this is the largest Human Services organization in the county. While they do try to offer financial aid for needs such as food, utilities, or rent, it is limited.

Many of the resources rely on government grants or private funding. So only a small fraction of requests are able to be fulfilled. However case managers may offer referrals to other federal benefits, state of New Jersey government programs or non-profits that operate in the region.

The Department of Human Services provides financial assistance and support to families in the greater Union County community, with the goal of self-sufficiency and also enhancing quality of life. Some of the main programs include job counseling, computer literacy education, family counseling, employment training, and language education services. The services are intended to create results.

Participation and eligibility vary based on program and funding levels. While services and assistance programs offered are subject to change based on funding and needs, they may include Adult Basic Skills, Homeless Prevention, Basic Computer Literacy, Low Income Housing, and more.

Most of the rent or energy bill assistance is provided from referrals. For examples, clients can learn about NJSHARES for paying heating bills or HUD section 8 vouchers to address housing needs. Non-profits or public housing agencies in the region process applications for those.

There may also be emergency services or general assistance available. Some families that are facing homelessness can get help with paying back rent. Other grant program that are available in Union County New Jersey include TANF, or Temporary Aid for Needy Families or Medicaid.

The free weatherization assistance program is available across New Jersey. It is paid for using grants from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the US Department of Energy.





For working poor or low-income families, the elderly, and those with disabilities, WAP provides free energy conservation and efficiency work. Contractors approved by SCAP can assist with adding water heater insulation, high-density sidewall insulation, extra attic and/or floor insulation, pipe insulation, or even furnace/heater replacement.

The ESL - English as a Second Language job training and education program assists members of the diverse non-English-speaking community. They can get help with developing their language skills, with the aim of helping them to become more self-sufficient and successful in their careers.

The community action agency runs Head Start, which is largest school-readiness program in the state. Union County Department of Human Services promotes school readiness by enhancing development through providing children and their families with social services, educational, health care, and food/nutritional support.

In addition, the Head Start program helps parents and encourages strong involvement from them. It will help their child progress toward their educational, literacy, and employment goals. In-house family counseling is available to Head Start Families as well.

Children will be provided a free lunch, breakfast and snacks. The dietician developed and government approved meals are intended to reflect the diverse cultures of the children from central New Jersey area that are served by the program.

Additional day and child care is offered by the county, in partnership with other organizations. The non-profit runs a fee-based program for families with children under five years of age who do not meet Head Start income requirements. This program offers them access to affordable, quality full-day care services.

Food services, educational programming and special activities are included in the program fees. This is run in partnership with the State of New Jersey Department of Family Development as well as the Union County Department of Human Services. The agency will also accept vouchers from payment agencies like NJ Family Care, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, Northwest CAP, Programs for Parents, and other charity agencies.

Disability programs in Union County include the early detection of a disability. They will test for cognition, language, adaptive, motor, social and/or emotional development. Parents will also be given access to appropriate programs and social services, can lead to optimal developmental outcomes for every child.





The non-profit works to educate healthcare providers, parents, early childhood educators, and others in regard to recognizing developmental disabilities in infants as well as preschool-aged children. A focus is on Children from Homeless Families or Foster Care, Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) Families, and DYFS participants.

Low cost or free transportation is available for children in some communities, especially for programs such as Head Start. Income qualified families are screened to determine their transportation needs for their child's educational needs, due to the cost of providing this service to all families. The decisions made for any transportation is based on an as-needed basis.

Child Health Care is coordinated from Union County Department of Human Services. They work in partnership with public health care facilities, clinics, local doctors and dentists, to ensure that every child or student is up-to-date with all dental and health services required for school readiness.

Qualified children receive age appropriate child health screenings within the first 45 days of joining many of the local clinic programs. Staff, nurses and volunteers conduct health screenings, with follow-ups provided for children requiring additional services. Screenings provided may examine Vision, Dental, Height and Weight, and Blood Pressure, among others.

The government also coordinates mental health services provided by trained counselors. This will come with a fee, and is offered either directly or in partnership with Family and Community Services of Somerset County. Both group and individual counseling sessions are used.




Much more may be offered by Union County Department of Human Services, including referrals and applications to government aid, such as SNAP food stamps or Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD). The main office is at 10 Elizabethtown Plaza, Elizabeth, New Jersey 07207. Call (908) 558-2290.


By Jon McNamara

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