NEWARK, NJ – New Jersey Child Attorneys (ACNJ) today released their first report in a two-part snapshot series: Newark Kids Count Data Snapshot: The Impact of COVID-19. The report analyzes how the city’s children and families are doing since the outbreak of the pandemic. In the first snapshot, A Look at Family Support Program Uptake, data shows that the pandemic disrupted long-term trends in falling unemployment rates and likely led to a sharp surge in demand.

Read the report.

“The City of Newark has taken exceptional measures to support its residents, which affects the well-being of their children,” said Cecilia Zalkind, President and CEO of ACNJ. “They created a comprehensive website to keep everyone updated during the pandemic, opened vaccination sites, and provided a wealth of resources for local residents and small businesses alike. But the pandemic has been devastating for families and may require a long road to recovery. “

Although the data shows positive trends for Newark from 2015 to 2019, the pandemic has disrupted that progress. Unemployment rates in Newark fell between 2015 and 2019, similar to Essex County and New Jersey, although Newark has always faced higher rates. However, from March to April 2020, the monthly unemployment rate rose from 6.2 percent to 19.7 percent, compared with 3.7 percent to 15.9 percent for the state. Although rates fell in the fall, they began to rise steadily again in the winter.

“The difficulties documented in this report are not limited to adults,” explains Zalkind. “Children are exposed to the negative effects of having less food on the table or by placing insecurities. This reality underscores the need for support to ensure Newark’s children don’t fall through the cracks as a result of COVID-19. “

The data for Newark’s children receiving benefits from the NJ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (NJ SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) showed a different picture, as the trends from June 2016 to June 2016 did not increase or even significantly increase June 2020 showed a downward trend. From summer to December 2020, the number of children in Newark receiving SNAP benefits rose by more than 10,000 people.

“The City of Newark has programs in place to advance the country’s mission to get a vaccine in every arm while looking for ways to better serve residents during this difficult time,” said Alana Vega, ACNJ Kids Count Coordinator. “As we eagerly await the end of the pandemic, we will continue to track the data for children so we can make more informed decisions and create a better future.”

About attorneys for children of New Jersey

Advocates for Children of New Jersey is the trusted, independent voice that has put children’s needs first for more than 40 years. Our work leads to better laws and regulations, more effective funding and better services for children and families. And it means more children will have the chance to grow up safe, healthy, and educated. More information is available at Follow ACNJ on Twitter at and on Facebook at