What Is the DCPP’s Family Reunification Program?
Parents and the DCPP may often be on the opposite sides of a case, disagreeing about whether the parents failed to live up to their parenting responsibilities and whether it was appropriate for the children to be removed from the home in the first place. What many do not realize, however, is that one of the main goals of the DCPP is to help families stay together or at the very least, to reunite after the children have had to removed from the home. To this end, the DCPP may offer specific services to families, ranging from family therapy to drug counseling to parenting classes. One of the programs available through the DCPP is the Family Unification Program.
The Family Unification Program is a program offered through the coordination of the Department of Community Affairs and the local Housing Authorities in particular areas in New Jersey. The purpose of the program is to provide Section 8 housing certificates to a particular class of eligible families. To qualify for housing under this program, families must meet the following eligibility requirements: 1) the family must lack housing, and that lack must be a primary factor for the reason the family’s children were placed outside the home or the inability to secure affordable housing must be a primary reason why reunification is delayed between the parents and the children; and 2) the family must been the other Section 8 eligibility criteria as established by the local Housing Authority.
When identifying potential candidate families, the program will be looking for families who are currently homeless. This means that the family resides in a shelter, resides temporarily with relatives or friends and the instability of the host jeopardizes the stability of the family, occupy a public or private place not designed for human residency, or resides in an institution that provides temporary residences for individuals to be institutionalized. Families should note that there are additional issues to consider if the family has been displaced as a result of domestic violence.
Families should note that the availability of certificates under this program is limited. Once the certificate is assigned, the certificates are difficult to revoke, and families will hold these certificates for at least five years.
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