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NJ DCF Logo with reverse copy


New Jersey Department of Children and Families Policy Manual




Child Protection and Permanency

Effective Date:



Intake, Investigation and Response







Processing Specific Referrals



Homelessness and Inadequate Shelter



Referrals of Homelessness and Inadequate Shelter           1-1-2011


CP&P should not remove children from the custody of their parents when homelessness is due to a lack of community housing resources and there is no abuse or neglect. Those who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless are given information and referred, as applicable, to:


·         the County Welfare Agency (AFDC families and SSI recipients); and/or


·         the agency within the county designated by the Human Services Advisory Council (HSAC) to provide services to the homeless; and/or


·         the Municipal Welfare Agency (adult only households); and/or


·         the Department of Community Affairs' Homelessness Prevention Program; and/or


·         shelters and other programs that provide services to the homeless.


The Worker also asks the client about relatives and friends who might be a resource for them either temporarily or permanently. The case is screened (see CP&P-II-B-1-100) and additional services are provided as needed.


The office/County Resource Development Specialist maintains accurate and current information about the above resources and provides this information to all LO staff. The Resource Development Specialist, LO and County Service Specialist work with the CWA and HSAC to ensure:


·         that resources are available;


·         that agreements are made between agencies for prompt, effective handling of these cases; and


·         documentation of the community need.


Each CWA or HSAC designated agency has a twenty-four-hour response system available to assist homeless clients with emergency placement. See Division of Family Development in the Department of Human Services regarding emergency assistance for homelessness at


If the problem of a client family is exclusively housing, CP&P does not provide service beyond Information and Referral (see CP&P-II-C-3-400). It is the responsibility of the above agencies to provide emergency shelter assistance and case management to eligibles. CP&P advocates on behalf of a client family with any homeless or housing related program when advocacy appears necessary.


When the above agencies are unable to serve the client family, CP&P explores all other resources at its disposal, including Local Office Bank Account or Flex Funds (see CP&P-IX-F-1-300, Local Office Bank Account (LOBA), and CP&P-IX-F-1-400, The Flexible Fund), as temporary options for the client until the housing resource can help the client family.


WFNJ-TANF Emergency Assistance                            1-1-2011


WFNJ-TANF Emergency Assistance (EA) may consist of emergency shelter, security deposits, moving expenses, rental assistance, supplemental payments, etc.


For specific criteria regarding WFNJ-TANF Emergency Assistance from a County Welfare Agency, see N.J.A.C. 10:90-6, the Division of Family Development's Work First NJ Manual.


WFNJ TANF Emergency Assistance from the CWA When Foster Placement is Imminent Due to Inadequate Shelter                   11-10-97


One of the three circumstances in which a family may be eligible for WFNJ-TANF Emergency Assistance is in "instances where Division of Child Protection and Permanency, in consultation with the CWA, certifies that placement of the children in foster care is imminent due to the family being subjected to a serious health or life-threatening situation because of the lack of adequate shelter."


Referral to the CWA When Foster Placement is Imminent Due to Inadequate Shelter                                                                                                          11-10-97


When a family is or will be receiving services from CP&P and the Worker and Supervisor have certified that placement of the child is imminent due only to the fact that the family is being subjected to a serious health or life-threatening situation due to the lack of safe adequate housing and the family is receiving or may be eligible for a WFNJ TANF grant, the Worker immediately telephones the CWA contact person for WFNJ TANF Emergency Assistance to:


·         advise him that foster placement is imminent because the family is subjected to a serious health or life-threatening situation due to the lack of adequate shelter,


·         describe the serious health or life-threatening circumstances, or request WFNJ TANF Emergency Assistance, and


·         ask the CWA to immediately determine whether the family is eligible for Emergency Assistance and, if so, to advise what services are available to the family from DFD.


If WFNJ TANF Emergency Assistance is granted and the case will remain open with CP&P, the Worker incorporates the emergency shelter plan into the case plan. The CWA takes the lead with respect to the family's temporary and permanent housing needs while CP&P provides other support services consistent with the existing case plan.


Any differences between the two agencies are resolved per procedures in the local affiliation agreement, or referred to the Area Office.


Referral from the CWA Requesting CP&P Certification of Need for Foster Care                                                                    3-7-97


When a family is being subjected to a serious health or life-threatening situation because of the lack of adequate shelter and the family does not meet the criteria for CWA IV-A Emergency Assistance under the first two allowable circumstances per the DFD Assistance Standards Handbook, the CWA may request CP&P certification of the need for foster care to enable the provision of Emergency Assistance under this third criterion.


In a case unknown to CP&P, the CP&P Worker asks the CWA for sufficient information to determine whether foster care would be necessary, including a description of the family's serious health or life-threatening circumstances.


The CP&P Worker and Supervisor discuss the case situation and determine whether CP&P can certify that there is a need for foster care based upon the information provided by the CWA. The Worker telephones the CWA to advise them of the CP&P determination. Process the intake as an I & R.


For a case in active status with CP&P, the assigned Worker and Supervisor determine whether to certify a need for foster care, and advise the CWA of the determination.