2019 Advocacy Agenda
Advocacy Agenda Development: The agenda includes both Federal and State issues, but tends towards more state issues. This model follows Catholic Charities USA model fairly closely and also falls in line with the New Jersey Catholic Conference Legislative Agenda. The agency’s External Affairs Department solicits from staff and the community issues impacting our clients that require advocacy and/or legislative action. These issues are shared with the agency Leadership Team and recommendations are made to the Social Policy Committee of the Board of Trustees.
The Social Policy Committee then determines which issues will be on the agenda, based on answers to the following questions:
- Are a significant number of our clients impacted?
- Are there Legislative vehicles available which make success likely?
- What other advocacy groups can we join with in having our voice heard on this issue?
- Can our clients relate to and be involved in advocating for the issue?
- Do we have experience and knowledge in the area?
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton collaborates regularly with the following statewide groups:
- The Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey
- The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey
- New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition
- New Jersey Catholic Conference
- Fighting Poverty with Faith/Faith Based Leaders Roundtable
- New Jersey Coalition to End Homelessness
- New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies
- New Jersey Coalition on Battered Women
- New Jersey for Healthcare Coalition
These issues will be given priority in agency advocacy activities and are ones for which we will take a lead, or actively participate in coalitions/networks that are leading the charge. A full range of strategies will be employed, with some combination of mass mailings to elected officials, developing testimony and talking points, delivering testimony, writing and distributing op-eds, coordinating State House rallies, and scheduling individual meetings with lawmakers.
Support Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) in New Jersey
These entities, a new provider type in Medicaid, provide a comprehensive range of addiction and mental health services to vulnerable individuals while meeting additional requirements related to staffing, governance, data and quality reporting. In return, CCBHCs receive a Medicaid reimbursement rate based on their anticipated costs of expanding services to meet the needs of these complex populations.
NJ was one of eight states designated for the CCBHC demonstration under the federal Medicaid program, and 7 providers were chosen in NJ, including Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton (CCDOT). CCDOT will work to ensure that CCBHCs are supported by the NJ Department of Human Services under its Medicaid waiver.
Domestic Violence Services:
Advocate for Needed Funding for Victims of Domestic Violence
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton will continue to advocate for needed funding for victims of domestic violence in New Jersey. In particular, Catholic Charities will advocate for this vital funding to be included in the proposed FY20 state budget so that domestic violence victims can continue to be funded and protected through Providence House’s two locations.
Support “Let’s Drive NJ” Campaign: Giving Undocumented Immigrants and Other Vulnerable Populations the Ability to Obtain NJ Driver’s Licenses
Too often, otherwise qualified drivers face barriers to obtaining a license — vulnerable populations like undocumented immigrants are particularly impacted. Twelve states and Washington, D.C., have expanded access to driver’s licenses to qualified drivers, regardless of immigration status. New Jersey is poised to join these states. Doing so would increase public safety, help the state’s economy and increase the well-being of all families – particularly the hundreds of thousands who will gain access to a driver’s license.
Invest in Affordable Housing in New Jersey
New Jersey has the sixth highest housing costs in the country. Despite this fact, funding for state rental assistance has decreased over the past decade and funding for the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund has been eliminated. Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton will advocate to increase these funds so that affordable home opportunities are created in New Jersey, strengthening communities throughout the state.
Advocate for Increased Access to Safety Net Programs like Emergency Assistance (EA) and Other Anti-Poverty Initiatives
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton will continue to advocate for programs to protect the vulnerable in New Jersey, including supporting access to Emergency Assistance (EA) to protect people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in New Jersey. CCDOT will also continue to offer support for other anti-poverty programs including SNAP (food stamp) benefits, increased monthly payments under Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) and general welfare, and other programs as needed.