New Jerseyans for Healthy Marriages, Children & Families, Inc. (NJ-HMCF)

WHO WE ARE:
The New Jerseyans for Healthy, Marriages, Children and Families
Coalition is comprised of community based organizations, faith-
based organization, houses of worship, private companies, and
individual consultants, who are interested in raising public
awareness about the benefits of marriage on family-wellness and
child wellbeing.

OUR MISSION:
 "To help all individuals and couples to develop the skills and
knowledge necessary to form and sustain healthy relationships
what will lead to healthy marriages and families."  We want to help
those who choose marriage for themselves to develop the skills
and knowledge necessary to form and sustain HEALTHY
marriages.

WHY WE FORMED THE NJ-HMCF COALITION:
Research suggests that family structure is related to child well-
being.  All things being equal, children who grow up in married,
two-parent families do better on a host of social indicators and
outcomes than those who do not.  Further, many social problems
affecting children, families and communities could be prevented if
more children grew up in "HEALTHY," intact families.

Examples of social science findings include:

* Married couples seem to build more wealth on average than
singles or cohabiting couples, thus decreasing the likelihood that
their children will grow up in poverty;
* Children who live in a two-parent, married household enjoy
better physical health, on average, than children in non-married
households.
* Marriage reduces the risk of adults and children either
perpetrating or being victimized by violent crime.

According to U. S. Census 2000, in New Jersey:
* 28.9% of all births were outside of marriage;
* 243, 039 of 1,045,027 (23%) households with children under 18
were headed by single parents.

OUR GOALS & OBJECTIVES:
Our overall objective is to support ACF's (the Administration for
Children & Families) "Community Healthy Marriage Initiative" as
defined in the new welfare reauthorization legislation currently
before Congress.

In addition, we intend to accomplish the following twelve-point
platform:

01. to target ten (10) NJ municipalities (by the end of 2004) to
accomplish the following three goals:
a. to establish community marriage covenants in which local clergy
commit to not marry couples without pre-marital education and/or
counseling;
b. to work with those who perform "civil marriage ceremonies" in
these same municipalities (ie...mayors, judges, etc...) to also
commit to not marry individuals without prior pre-marital education/
counseling/training;
c.  to work with these same ten (10) NJ municipalities to assist
them in researching and writing community marriage status
reports/report cards;

02.  to raise public awareness about marriage education,
relationship education, fatherhood education, parenting education,
and other related pre/post-marital skills training/education/
counseling programs;

03.  to sponsor annual marriage awareness events such as (a) an
annual "Marriage Awareness Week" and (b) a "Marriage
Summit/Conference;"

04.  to establish "Community Marriage Websites" across NJ to
publicize and promote marriage strengthening programs &
activities;

05.  to pilot three "community healthy marriage" pilot initiatives in
North, Central, and South Jersey using TANF monies;

06.  to create a state licensure system to recognize and sanction
ordained clergy to perform wedding ceremonies;

07.  to publish and market an exhaustive  resource directory of ALL
certified trainers of marriage education/training programs;

08.  to encourage the formation of a state "Marriage Commission"
to study and implement best-practices on marriage promotion/
family strengthening programs from across the country;

09.  to reduce the overall divorce rate in New Jersey and the
overall rate of cohabitation in New Jersey;

10.  to reduce teen pregnancy rates and out-of-wedlock births in
New Jersey by 10% by the end of 2004;

11.  to work with domestic violence programs and organizations to
reduce the rate of domestic violence in New Jersey;

12.  to provide the NJ Department of Human Services, particularly
DYFS & DFD, with greater community-based resources  to
strengthen families and to protect children from abuse,
abandonment, neglect, displacement and most certainly death!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Rev Darrel Armstrong 609-695-5700

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