The Jewish Family and Vocational Service of Middlesex County is making plans to assist young people aging out of the foster care system.
JFVS already has a contract with the Division of Youth and Family Services of Middlesex County to provide intensive in-home family services and is looking to expand on that by assisting with career development.
Among the ideas being explored is one-on-one career counseling, including interviewing and resume skills. The young people also may be given access to the agency’s computer training classes and be connected with volunteer activities in various areas of interest.
“There is a real lack of services now being provided” in this area, said Lisa Fiore, director of JFVS’ Joel Gensler Career Center.
The agency was one of 20 agencies, schools, and potential employers that came to a May 11 information fair and seminar that was part of a program to aid youths aging out of the foster care system find employment. Held at the Middlesex County Fire Academy in Sayreville, the event was sponsored by the Rutgers Child Advocacy Center, the Middlesex County Family Court, the Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, and stakeholders in the child welfare system.
The county’s and Rutgers’ “aging-out program” is designed to help youngsters 14-21 years old under the care of the Division of Youth and Family Services of Middlesex County.
At the fair, Fiore manned a JFVS table with Noreen Noel, director of the agency’s women’s center, which helps women in transition with career development.
“Many of the young people have not worked before so they came needing to know how to apply for a part-time job,” said Fiore.
Fiore said JFVS could take the youths to different companies, where they could see how employees act, dress, and carry out a variety of jobs.
“You could see some of these young people were more disadvantaged than others,” Fiore said. “You could tell from speaking to them that some had done some career exploration and thought about what they’d like to do in the future. Others really need help.”
In a press release about the aging-out program, the county court system said DYFS will pay for attendance at college or vocational school, assist with housing, and provide medical insurance.