The Union County Board of Freeholders is inviting residents in its 21 municipalities to participate in a new survey to assess their needs.

"The Needs Assessment Survey" is the first of its kind in 15 years for Union County, said Karen Dinsmore, assistant director for the Union County Department of Human Services.

"What we hope to learn is where there are pockets of needs that maybe aren't being addressed, where there is an information gap, where county residents are not aware of where to go for help," she said.

They also want to know if the resources the county is providing now meet the needs of residents.

The lengthy survey focuses on areas related to health including insurance and affordable care, transportation to appointments, respite care, suicide prevention, home care, domestic violence, substance abuse services and recovery support, hospice services, access to Medicare/Medicaid, treatment for mental health and more.

Dinsmore said there are also questions about the arts and sporting events. Residents can also indicate their use of parenting classes, mentoring, home-delivered meals and other services.

She said the department has engaged a consultant through a competitive procurement process. Once the data is collected from the survey, the consultant will produce a report in December, which will be rolled out initially through a presentation to the freeholders.

Dinsmore anticipates the report will initiate a call to action as to how the private, public and non-profit sectors can respond to the identified needs in the community.

So far, 70 surveys have been completed but Dinsmore hopes at least a couple of hundred will be done and submitted by the Oct. 31 deadline. The survey is voluntary, anonymous and confidential. Residents can access the survey at the Union County Department of Human Services website at

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