The 5th Annual Union County Youth Services Networking Conference will be held Wednesday, Oct. 25, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at Community Access Unlimited (CAU) at 80 West Grand Street in Elizabeth.

The annual networking conference is open to any Union County professional or organization working within the child services sector and offers attendees the opportunity to meet and collaborate going forward, according to Tanya Johnson, senior assistant executive director of youth services at CAU. The conference also is open to anyone from the wider community who is interested in helping the youth of the community, she added.

The conference each year draws approximately 250 participants representing various community-based nonprofit organizations; local, county and state government agencies; faith-based groups, child advocates; mentors; volunteers; and parents.

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"The purpose of the conference is to network and connect the dots," Johnson said. "To fill in gaps in service, inform attendees about current services and put faces to names. All so we can provide better services to youth within the child services system and throughout the county."

The day will feature keynote speaker Gordon MacInnes, president and chief executive of New Jersey Policy Perspective, where he leads the organization’s efforts to advance economic justice and shared prosperity in the Garden State.

Other speakers include Jessica Trombetta, executive director of adolescent services at the New Jersey Department of Children and Families; Alice Hunnicutt, state director of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services within the Department of Labor and Workforce Development; and Marion Simmons, a former youth member of CAU who aged out of the system.

Round table discussions will be held on subjects such as youth transitioning to adulthood; behavioral health and substance abuse; trauma informed care and domestic violence; human trafficking; services for returning adjudicated youth/gangs and juvenile justice; employment, training and life skills; and LGBTQI.

There is no cost to attend. To register, go to www.caunj.org and click on Upcoming Events, then scroll down to Union County Youth Networking Conference.

There are exhibition opportunities for vendors serving the youth services community, with an exhibition fee of $100 per table. To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/annual-union-county-youth-services-networking-conference-2017-sponsorship-exhibitors-only-tickets-37953748684.

The conference is sponsored by the Union County Youth Networking Committee, 20 public and nonprofit youth services agencies, child advocates, volunteers and faith-based organizations, and hosted by CAU.

CAU is a statewide Elizabeth-based nonprofit providing support programs and services to adults with disabilities as well as youth served under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enable them to live independently in the community, providing supports in areas including housing, vocational skills and life-skills training, education, advocacy and recreation.

About Community Access Unlimited

Community Access Unlimited (CAU), celebrating its 38th year in 2017, supports people with special needs in achieving real lives in the community. CAU provides support and gives voice to adults and youth who traditionally have little support and no voice in society. CAU helps people with housing, life skills, employment, money management, socialization and civic activities. CAU also supports opportunities for advocacy through training in assertiveness, decision-making and civil right. CAU currently serves more than 6,000 individuals and families, with the number served growing each year. For more information about CAU and its services, contact us by phone at 908.354.3040, online at www.caunj.org or by mail at 80 West Grand Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202.

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