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A Call for Entries: New Jersey Teen Media Contest Celebrates Family and Diversity


The New Jersey Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Division of Family Development recently issued a call for entries for the 23rd Annual New Jersey Teen Media Contest, which reinforces the department’s mission to celebrate and support families.

The statewide contest is open to all New Jersey middle and high school-aged students. In 2018, the contest will accept entries in the hand-painted/hand-drawn and written-word categories.

This year’s challenge to teens is to illustrate—through art or the written word—What Does Your Family Tree Look Like? This concept can be taken literally, abstractly, or be left to the imagination. Student artists should show that each family tree is different and that not everyone has the same type of family background. Each and every person's story is unique.

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“For more than two decades, the New Jersey Teen Media Contest has celebrated families and the importance of investing in all aspects of a child’s life,” said DHS’ Acting Commissioner Carole Johnson. "We are delighted to continue this strong tradition, while highlighting the diversity of families across the state."

“Each year our team is struck by the creativity, vision and talent that students bring to the contest and we look forward to seeing what the students have done with the annual theme and how they conceptualize the essence of family in their entries,” said Patricia Risch, Assistant Director of the Office of Child Support Services, a part of DHS’ Division of Family Development.

All entries must be postmarked no later than Monday, April 2, 2018. Staff from the Division of Family Development and its Office of Child Support Services will judge the contest.

Winners will be selected in first, second and third places in both the middle and high school groups for both entry categories, with recognition during an awards ceremony in May to acknowledge their achievement. Winning entries will be included in the 2019 Office of Child Support Calendar and be placed on display in the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton shortly after the awards event.

A number of Honorable Mention entries will be selected for possible inclusion in the Statehouse exhibit and/or the 2019 calendar. The 2018 calendar can be viewed or downloaded from the contest homepage,, to serve as inspiration for the teens. The website also provides the official rules, frequently asked questions, entry forms, a look at the winners and honorable mentions from previous contests, and other important contest information.

Entries can be submitted via the students’ art or English/language arts teachers if their school is registered. Teachers and administrators can register their school by visiting or by contacting Ben Martin at 973-799-0200 or Teens whose school is not registered can submit entries directly. Complete submission guidelines can be found online by clicking here.

For more information about child support services, call 1-877-NJKIDS1 or visit

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