Advocates for Children of New Jersey’s roots grew out of some of the earliest efforts in New Jersey to protect abused and abandoned children. Originally called the Association for Children, ACNJ is part of an evolution that began in 1847, when the Newark Orphan Asylum was established.
Over the years, other child-related organizations were created to care for orphans, children living in foster care and children in troubled families. In 1978, two of those groups – the Citizens Committee for Children and Child Service Association – merged to form what was then called the Association for Children of New Jersey. (We changed our name in July 2010).
Since its founding, ACNJ has become the best-known, most respected research and advocacy group for children in the state, with a reputation beyond New Jersey’s borders. The name ACNJ has become synonymous with its cause – to ensure that every child in New Jersey has the opportunity to grow up safe, healthy and educated.
ACNJ began with a focus on child welfare and juvenile justice and has since increased its advocacy to include other important policy areas, including early learning, health care for children and supports for low-income families. In all its work, the organization is known for its responsible research and courageous advocacy.
A cornerstone of ACNJ’s success is its independence. The organization accepts no state funding for advocacy, giving it the freedom to speak up for children who have no voice and no vote, to take action aimed at giving every child the chance to grow up safe, healthy and educated.