This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the launch of the New Jersey Adoption Resource Clearing House! NJ ARCH has seen many changes throughout the years and accomplished much to support those touched by adoption, foster care and/or kinship care.
The graphic below illustrates some of the exciting milestones we have experienced in our time serving NJ families.
NJ ARCH History
In early 2003, our agency, Children’s Aid and Family Services was awarded the NJ Department of Children and Families grant to provide information, support and education for those touched by adoption and foster care.
To create and support this new and exciting program, we needed great talent, with program vision and understanding of the adoption world. Under the leadership of Kathleen Russo, LCSW, the then Pre-and Post-Adoption Counseling Services (PACS) Director and Barbara Rall, LCSW as the Assistant Director of NJ ARCH, the program was born. Once the leadership was established, the team hiring began and we were off and running. The team included a Data Analyst, Resource Development Coordinator, two warm line workers (one Bi-Lingual in Spanish) as well as a webmaster consultant to create the new website.
Starting with a clean slate we researched the various statewide resources that assisted those touched by adoption as well as mental health professionals that focused on adoption issues. To help us meet the needs of the NJ community, we also launched a Statewide Advisory Committee that included those most impacted in the world of adoption. Included in this advisory committee were adopted persons, adoptive parents, birth parents, mental health professionals, adoption agency staff and adoption support group leaders. We listened to what they felt was most important to include with the new NJ ARCH program. During this time, we also researched the most educational articles and purchased the best books on adoption to include in our NJ ARCH free lending library. Through diligent research, we believe we have the most comprehensive adoption-focused library in the state.
After several months of creating content for the NJ ARCH website, setting up our warm line processes, creating our library, and more, our program officially launched during National Adoption Month in November 2003. Announcing this new program at the Trenton State House with State representatives, adoption agencies, DCF stakeholders as well as several NJ newspapers was very exciting!
Today, we have a robust team, with thousands of resources to offer the adoption community.
Click here to read the 20th Anniversary Special Edition of our Under the ARCH newsletter.