According to the most recent KIDS COUNT Report published by the Association for Children of New Jersey, the premier child advocacy organization in our state, Camden County ranked 17th out of 21 counties in objective indicators of child and family well-being. Recognizing the profound implications of this data for the future of the County, the Freeholders, led by Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. and Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, decided that providing support to the kids and families of Camden County must become a top priority. In 2009, the Camden County Board of Freeholders took the unprecedented action of creating the Camden County Covenant for Children, Youth and Families. The mission of the Covenant is to mobilize the greater Camden County community to advance child, youth, and family well-being through planned and intentional collaboration and concrete actions and outcomes. With input from parents and other community stakeholders, the Covenant’s first action was to create the Bill of Rights for All Children and Youth of Camden County
BILL OF RIGHTS FOR ALL CHILDREN AND YOUTH OF CAMDEN COUNTY
- The right to safe homes, schools, neighborhoods, and communities
- The right to a permanent home and knowledgeable, nurturing, and responsible parents, caregivers and family members
- The right to dignity, respect, and freedom from discrimination
- The right to participate and be heard in decisions that affect their well-being
- The right to age and developmentally appropriate care, guidance, education, and preparation for employment
- The right to clean air and water
- The right to learn and celebrate racial, cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversity
- The right to meaningful, spiritual, cultural, and recreational experiences
- The right to affordable, accessible, and quality physical and behavioral healthcare
- The right to quality relationships, community connections, and affordable services and resources
With our community partner, the Camden County Community Partnership and Advocacy Council www.cpachvi.org , we are actively engaging our residents in the Covenant’s activities. As an independent non-profit organization which plans, advocates and coordinates the County’s human services programs, CPAC works with over 400 social service agencies, health agencies, numerous public and private organizations, and residents in addressing social, health, and mental health problems and creates solutions that meet community needs.
The vision of the Camden County Covenant for Children, Youth and Families is that all children, youth, and families in Camden County will have the resources, opportunities, and support they need to reach their greatest potential as safe, responsible, productive and caring members of their families and communities.
To promote family success and improve the well-being of children and youth in the County, the Covenant seeks to:
- Create community standards for successful child and family well-being;
- Engage and mobilize the greater Camden community in this effort;
- Identify opportunities for information-sharing, collaboration and coordination, and strategic investments of resources to help achieve the success outcomes for kids and families; and,
- Measure our success through improvement in key indicators of child and family well-being.
The work of the Covenant is organized around the life stages of our children and youth and the vital importance of their families and communities to their well-being- Early Childhood Success, Positive Youth Development and Strong Families, Strong Communities