Menendez, Booker, Norcross Applaud $6M Initial Investment in Cradle to Career Education and Support Services in Camden Neighborhoods

Menendez, Booker, Norcross Applaud $6M Initial Investment in Cradle to Career Education and Support Services in Camden Neighborhoods

Camden’s Center for Family Services Wins $30M Promise Neighborhood Competition

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, and Congressman Donald Norcross (N.J.-01), today applauded the awarding of up to $30 million over the next five years to the Center for Family Services (CFS) in Camden through the U.S. Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhood competition to implement comprehensive community-based education, health and family support initiatives throughout Camden City’s most distressed neighborhoods.  The first $6 million installment was made yesterday; future installments are subject to the annual budget process.

“Communities where children are struggling in the classroom are most often the same communities struggling with violence, underperforming schools, rundown housing and high unemployment,” said Sen. Menendez.  “The Center for Family Services and their local partners recognize that in order to boost student achievement, they must tackle challenges both inside and outside of the classroom—and this award will help them do just that.” 

“This is yet another example of our shared commitment to helping strengthen Camden as this great city continues down a path of resurgence,” said Sen. Booker.  “Every child deserves access to a quality, affordable education in order to help prepare them for future success both in and out of the classroom.  This federal funding will help transform one of New Jersey’s most distressed communities by closing the achievement gap while restoring hope of a brighter future for our children.”

“This is a game changer for students in Camden. This federal grant is a significant achievement for the local partnership working together every day to make Camden’s future brighter.  I congratulate the Center for Family Services on this award that will give young people in Camden the tools to compete and succeed in the classroom and lay the groundwork for success,” said Rep. Norcross.

The Camden Promise Neighborhood (CPN) service delivery model will implement a cradle-to-career continuum of research-driven and evidenced-based solutions.  CPN partners will use trauma-informed approaches and wraparound case management to ensure the strategy meets the multi-dimensional and complex needs of target children and families and implement intensive educational supports to ensure strong schools are at the center.

CFS will target several schools including KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy, Wiggins College Prep School, Whittier Family School, Camden Academy Charter High School and Camden High School.  Partners in the effort include the City of Camden, Camden School District, Camden County Police Department, Camden Housing Authority, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, Rowan University, Camden County College, Cooper University Hospital, Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, and Rutgers University.

According to the Center, children growing up in these neighborhoods face myriad obstacles in achieving academic and life-long success. In addition to pervasive poverty (over 85%), children and families face alarming rates of violent crime, excessive unemployment, childhood obesity and asthma, frequent food insecurity, and academic failure.

The Promise Neighborhoods program was launched in 2010 to support innovative strategies that bring together public and private partners to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.  Promise Neighborhoods grantees provide comprehensive education, health, safety, and family support services to children and families in high-poverty neighborhoods.  To date, the Promise Neighborhoods program has awarded over $286 million, spanning nearly 700 schools and 1,000 community partners.

This month, the federal lawmakers were in Camden to announce the awarding of a $13.2 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to advance the city’s efforts to transform the Mt. Ephraim South neighborhood from an area with high poverty and struggling schools to a thriving, social and economic center.

In September, Camden was awarded $1,469,347 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to fund street improvements in downtown Camden, provide connections to the region’s major transportation center, revitalize the area, and support initiatives that expand the competitiveness of the existing industrial clusters.

Earlier that month, Sens. Menendez and Booker, Rep. Norcross and Mayor Redd stood in the shadow of the Ben Franklin Bridge to tour the site of a North Camden revitalization project spearheaded by a $16.2 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant awarded in July from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).