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In 2018, the federal government enacted the Family First Prevention Services Act to begin to shift federal support for child- and family-serving systems towards proactive, prevention-oriented services and supports which are available to all families, regardless of their status with their jurisdictions’ child protective services agencies. 

New Jersey has long been a leader in prevention-oriented programming and has identified the prevention of child maltreatment and maltreatment-related fatalities as one of the transformative goals of the Department of Children and Families (DCF).  Through the Family First Act, the state now has an opportunity to connect existing prevention efforts through DCF to federal funding and support, while also expanding and strengthening those efforts.   

After extensive information gathering, DCF devised a 5-year prevention strategy to advance its transformative goal of maltreatment prevention and its objective to provide statewide high-quality, high impact community-based prevention services across the state.  The goal is for NJ DCF to submit this Family First Act 5-year prevention plan to the federal government by the end of January 2023. 

NJ DCF has summarized its 5-year plan through a concept paper made available to the general public through the department’s website.  DCF also held a webinar, co-hosted with Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ), to discuss maltreatment prevention efforts with the DCF contracted prevention services provider community.   

Stakeholders and members of the public are invited to submit written comment to the concepts of this paper by emailing All comments are due by Thursday, January 19, 2023.  

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