MIDDLESEX COUNTY — The Middlesex County Human Services Advisory Council, in partnership with the Puerto Rican Action Board and the Rutgers University School of Social Work, is conducting an extensive countywide human services needs assessment.
The groups are seeking public participation to establish a comprehensive human services agenda, priorities and a course of action that can lead to a better quality of life for residents in the next decade as part of a project titled, Middlesex County 2020: Creating a Collective Vision for Our Community.
“The demand for human services throughout the nation grows daily,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Blanquita B. Valenti, chairperson of the county’s Human Services and Senior Services Committee. “Now is the right time to check the pulse of our local communities to gauge human service needs in Middlesex County and to identify priorities and action items to drive our future plans.”
Thomas M. Seilheimer, executive director of the county’s Department of Human Services, said the increased demand on the national level is demonstrated by the rise in Medicaid enrollment, unemployment insurance benefits, the increase in housing foreclosures and homelessness and a rise in the use of Food Stamps.
A series of five focus group meetings will take place at convenient locations throughout the County (see schedule below). The first is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Middlesex County Fire Academy in Sayreville.
A Basic Needs focus group will include discussion of housing, hunger, poverty and related issues. An Adults and Seniors group will focus on employment, veterans’ services, services for people with disabilities, senior services and more. An Immigration group will consider New Americans, cultural competence and sensitivity. The Health Focus Group will address mental health, substance abuse, nutrition, obesity, HIV/AIDS and related issues. Finally, the Children/Youth group will discuss education, recreation, prevention, disabilities, juvenile justice and related issues.
All residents are invited to participate in any or all focus groups. If you are interested in a focus group but are unable to attend an entire session, you may participate in any part of the session
“The Middlesex County 2020: Creating a Collective Vision for Our Community project is an exciting opportunity for your voice to be heard,” Valenti said.
Refreshments will be served. To participate, call 1-732-745-3069 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If you require special accommodations, call two weeks in advance of the scheduled focus group.
For more information, contact Bridget Kennedy at the Middlesex County Department of Human Services, 1-732-745-4186.
SCHEDULED FOCUS GROUPS
Sept. 28 (Basic Needs) Middlesex County Fire Academy
3-8 PM Sayreville
Oct. 5 (Adults/Seniors) Edison Municipal Complex
3-8 PM Edison
Oct. 12 (Immigration) Temple Anshe Emeth
3-8 PM New Brunswick
Oct. 19 (Health) Perth Amboy YMCA
3-8 PM Perth Amboy
Oct. 26 (Children/Youth) North Brunswick High School
3-8 PM North Brunswick
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