The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $1 million to the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) to establish and conduct training programs that certify New Jersey counselors and community agencies to provide NJ FamilyCare application assistance to families. Currently, the program provides health insurance to an estimated 708,000 youth from birth to 18 years of age.

The Office of NJ FamilyCare Outreach works collaboratively with schools, hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers as partners integral to the enrollment process and as trusted community resources among uninsured populations.

“This grant will provide a great boost to our ongoing efforts to reach and enroll every eligible uninsured child to NJ FamilyCare,” says DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez. “The peace of mind having access to doctors, dentists, prescriptions and specialists is invaluable to parents.”

Beginning this Fall, New Jersey will launch a streamlined application and eligibility determination system, called CASS – Consolidated Assistance Social Service Application – which is an upgraded IT system that will provide real-time data review of cases by counties’ staff. In addition, a new, comprehensive training curriculum will be developed and include information on cultural competency and customer service.

“We have key agencies primed, eager and capable of providing assistance, but they need to be re-trained on the new system and on the changes The Affordable Care Act imposes on the rules,” says Velez. “This grant enables us to educate, inform and train with the ultimate outcome of insuring more eligible children.”