St. Clare’s Homes for Children
October 18, 2019
To Our Clients, Supporters and Community Members:
It is with the deepest regret that we announce that we have had to shutter our St. Clare’s homes after 30 years of serving vulnerable children, mothers and families across the state. We made this incredibly difficult decision after losing our partner and primary source of funding, the Department of Children and Families (DCF), who decided to end their contract with the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children (ARFC) and the loving, culturally competent, community-based, clinically appropriate care that we provide.
Since the inception of the first St. Clare’s home over 32 years ago, we have worked in lockstep with DCF to fill a critical niche in the care and placement continuum for over 1000 medically fragile children across our three homes. This includes but is not limited to cerebral palsy combined with sexual abuse, autism combined with physical abuse, and drug dependence combined with severe neglect and malnutrition. With the only medical care facilities licensed by the State Department of Health for children with complex medical needs, ARFC has an impeccable record of providing care to our most vulnerable children. St. Clare’s has been audited and inspected yearly since the inception of the partnership, and our standard of care has always met and exceeded requirements and expectations.
DCF informed us earlier this year that they would be ending our contract in order to pursue longer-term placement options for the children that we serve. They indicated that they would be partnering with a for-profit entity in order to do so, and sadly, we came to learn, this for-profit has a terrible track record and has been banned in several states. While we absolutely understand the importance of longer-term placement options for children, it is also important to note that the children and families we serve often require emergency and transitional placement options with expert clinical resources and highly trained and experienced staff that only St. Clare’s offers in a home environment. We offer, in essence, a critical support to longer-term placement; one that gives primary caretakers access to short-term care outside of a more sanitized, hospital experience.
While we are gravely disappointed with this outcome, our work continues at our other programs serving HIV infected and affected individuals and families (see www.aidsresource.org). We hope that, for the safety of the children that we jointly serve, that DCF reconsiders the vital, necessary role the ARFC plays.
Please lend us your support by reaching out to the Governor and to DCF leadership to express your concern about the closing of the St. Clare’s homes, and help us ensure the vulnerable children and families we have served are not forgotten. (Contact: Governor Murphy, (p) 609-292 -6000, https://www.nj.gov/governor/contact/ and DCF Commissioner Christine Beyer, (p) 609-888-7900, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please also consider making a donation at www.aidsresource.org to help provide us with the critical funding that is needed to continue our important work. We are indebted to the community for your support throughout the years. You have welcomed our family into yours, and for that, we are incredibly thankful.