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Union County Family Justice Center Celebrates 5th Anniversary

The Union County Board of County Commissioners is proud to announce that the Union County Family Justice Center (FJC) will celebrate five years of serving victims of domestic violence in Union County on September 13, 2022.

The FJC was established as a joint venture of the Union County Board of County Commissioners, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, YWCA Union County, and other partner organizations. Family Justice Centers are a federally supported model and focus on reducing the number of times victims tell their story, the number of places they must go to for help, and increase access to services and support. In this way they help reduce trauma and the number of days victims have to take off of work or pay for childcare.

“The Board of County Commissioners congratulates the Family Justice Center on five years of continued service to many vulnerable residents in need of assistance right here in Union County,” said County Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams.

In 2017 the Union County FJC was the third such FJC to open in New Jersey, and now there are five throughout the state and over 130 in the country with more in development.

“The FJC has been critical in our ability to provide victims of domestic violence with comprehensive support as they navigate the court system,” shared William Daniel, Union County Prosecutor.

Each year, the Union County FJC serves well over 500 unique clients, and this year is on track to provide services for over 600. From its inception in 2017 through June 2022, the Family Justice Center has worked with 2,561 unduplicated clients.

 “The YWCA is proud to be the contract agency of the Family Justice Center for the county. The program enables us to serve even more victims of domestic violence, and the location at the courthouse helps clients access us in a convenient location. We are even able to provide clients who have spent several emotional hours in court with a calm, safe environment to have some tea or coffee, eat a snack, and regroup,” shared Karen Geer, Interim Executive Director from the YWCA.

Clients of the FJC can receive services directly from YWCA staff including case management, court advocacy, safety planning, crisis management and referrals. Available services from o partner agencies include legal assistance, medical care, mental health, housing and rental aid, employment and immigration services. Onsite partners include Central Jersey Legal Services, Partners (formally Partners for Women and Justice), Proceed, and the Office of Victim/Witness. Offsite partners include Trinitas and American Friends Service Committee.

This fall, the Family Justice Center will be launching the Court Advocacy Volunteer Program. After completing a 40 hour domestic violence training as well as specialized training in being a court advocate, volunteers will provide emotional support to victims by accompanying them through the court process, answering questions about the legal process, and helping clients connect with additional resources. Those who are interested in getting involved can email the Director of the Family Justice Center, Lisa Poris, at lporis@ywcaunioncounty.org.

For more information about the FJC or to receive services, please call 908-527-4980.

If you are a victim of domestic violence in need of immediate assistance please call the 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline at 908-355-HELP.

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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