Whether you are struggling to put food on the table or looking for a way to make a return to school a reality, life as a single mom is not easy. For single moms, there are several programs that offer help in New Jersey so that they can realize their dreams for their children and themselves. Financial Assistance Childcare Having a safe, welcoming place for your child to go when you are working is essential when you are a single mom. The Department of Human Services offers some New Jersey single moms help with paying for quality childcare for their kids (1-800-332-9227), //www.state.nj.us/. The income-based program is available to low and moderate-income families who are working or attending school. Newark: If you live in the upbeat city Newark, finding help in such an independent city can become difficult. Luckily there is an organization that is dedicated to help single mothers in finding childcare, food and wonderful homes to stay in. Another organization is solely based on helping single mothers with rent, so they can continue to have a roof over their head. Trenton: Raising a child in Trenton has now become easier with the help of Child Care Connection. This organization provides affordable childcare so while you are busy doing hard work to earn for the family, your child is being taken of and won’t get in the way of your work. They also help train parents so that they can be the best parent they can be. Healthcare If you have limited resources and no health insurance, you might qualify for New Jersey’s Medicaid Program. The program is available to families with dependent children and pregnant women, offering access to medical care that may otherwise be impossible to afford. NJ FamilyCare is a state program specifically targeted to families with children. Patterson: In the laid back city of New Jersey, Patterson provides a lot of health for single moms, especially in something most moms have to sacrifice: healthcare. A trusted company, St Joseph’s provides financial assistance to eligible patients so that them and their families can be insured with quality insurance and so families have a peace of mind if any of them get sick. Government Help Food and Supplies If you struggle to find the money to put food on the table, New Jersey’s Food Stamps Program may be able to help. The income-based program gives financial assistance to families with limited resources that they can use to buy food for their families. WIC is a similar program that offers supplemental nutrition specifically to families with babies and young children. New Jersey School Breakfast and Lunch Program Both School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are funded by the Federal Government with the sole intention to provide nutritious meals to kids each day. The meals adhere to the nutritional standards established by the Federal Government. New Jersey Special Milk Program Yet another admirable program which aims to enhance the health of school-going kids so that they may excel academically. Schools participating in National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs cannot take part in Special Milk Program (SMP). However, they can join Split Session Kindergarten Milk Program to provide milk to those school kids who aren’t enrolled in National School Lunch Program. New Jersey Head Start Head Start program aims to help in the social, emotional and cognitive development of kids below the age of 5 coming from families with incomes not in the high range. It basically prepares the child for the school. By providing a proper learning environment, the program plays a crucial role in enhancing language and literacy development. Another objective of the program is to increase parent involvement who is also the first teacher of the child. As close bonds are nurtured, the well-being of the family is established. For infants and toddlers together with pregnant women coming from families with incomes lesser than the Federal government defined poverty level, Early Head Start program is available. Children of low-income families residing in New Jersey and less than 5 years can avail the benefits of Head Start as well as Early Head Start programs. Transportation If you do not own a car or another reliable source of transportation, look around for public transportation options so you can easily get to and from work or school. The Bus and Train schedules can be found at //www.state.nj.us/transportation.shtm. If there is not a convenient option for you, talk to co-workers or fellow students and see if someone would be willing to swap transportation for another service, like evening childcare for their kids. Housing Assistance Rent Assistance The state of New Jersey understands how important a good home is for its children, and as a result the state offers a few rental assistance programs to ensure that all families have a warm place to live. For single moms who cannot make the rent payment from month to month, this is welcome help. Find out more about these programs at //lwd.dol.state.nj.us/HousingRentalAssistance.html. For housing, here is a list of places you can look for help: //www.hud.gov/local/nj/homeownership/buyingprgms.cfm Unemployment Assistance New Jersey Unemployment Insurance Program This is an excellent program to receive temporary assistance if you have lost your job. The eligibility criteria of Unemployment Insurance Program is quite simple. If you have been working in New Jersey for 1 or 1 ½ years and got minimum wages as proposed in the program guidelines, you become eligible to obtain assistance. Energy Assistance New Jersey Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program The primary objective of New Jersey Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is to help poor families to meet their energy expenses with ease. LIHEAP provides funds to pay off the heating and cooling costs, deal with an energy crisis and manage home weatherization and home repairs to bring down the energy costs. If you are availing rental assistance, you may not be eligible for LIHEAP program unless you bear your own heating and cooling costs. With your personal details, you need to apply for the program between November, 1 and March, 31. Other Programs College Grants Single moms often do not return to school because of the thought of the tuition bill. The state of New Jersey and the federal government have several grant and scholarship options that can make a degree a reality for New Jersey single moms. To find out about local and state grant options, visit //www.state.nj.us/highereducation/grants/index.html. To apply for federal aid, file the FAFSA. Conclusion For all New Jersey residents, be sure to make sure that you take a full inventory of all state assistance programs that are available in your state. Rent assistance and college grants are just a little piece of the great and many possibilities there are in New Jersey. Make sure that you are looking thoroughly into all the aid you can receive and are really making the best of limited resources. — and also do your research!