Community Access Unlimited (CAU)
Community Access Unlimited (CAU) is a non-profit human services agency that provides support services for youth and adults with disabilities. Our mission is to provide community access through effective and comprehensive support services for at-risk youth and individuals with disabilities, giving them the opportunity to live independently and to lead normal and productive lives as citizens integrated into the community. CAU also takes on the challenge of developing affordable housing.
CAU has supported people with disabilities and youth aging out of foster care since 1979. We provide individualized, in-home services. You can select from a broad array of available supports. Although we offer multiple housing options, you need not reside in agency-supported housing to benefit from our services.
Our services include:
- Independent Living Skills (ILS) Training
CAU assesses and trains people in everyday independent living skills such as menu planning, cooking, shopping, household maintenance, personal grooming, and travel training. ILS is incorporated into all CAU activities and services. Individual and group training options are available.
- Vocational/Employment Services
CAU conducts vocational assessments, job training, and employment placement services. Included are specific job skills training pertinent to a person's interests and abilities, developing interpersonal skills as well as paid training opportunities.
- Money Management Training
Budgeting and money management are crucial skills to maintaining independence within the community. CAU helps individuals learn about budgeting and managing money through a specialized curriculum as well as through everyday activities such as shopping, social, and recreational pursuits.
- Recreation and Creative Expression
A variety of activities are offered on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis to individuals including supervised weekend getaways and vacations. CAU also provides creative experiences through the arts. Past projects have included a member choir and performances, photography classes and exhibits, fine arts and crafts.
CAU owns and manages affordable housing for people with disabilities, youth transitioning to adulthood, and people with affordable housing needs. Housing units are located throughout Union County and consist of emergency youth and adult shelter facilities, single and multi-family homes, condominiums and apartments, as well as HomeSharing arrangements.
CAU offers respite services for caregivers caring for loved ones with a disability.
- Speech Therapy
Our licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) can travel to meet with you or your family member for one-to-one support. Whether you require assistance with speech, language, cognitive-communication, or oral/feeding/swallowing skills, we can help with training personalized for your needs. Our SLP is trained to assess communication issues and develop and implement a plan for success. CAU also offers assistive technology services that may supplement speech therapy. Ask us about technology that can assist you with communication at home, in the workplace, or in the classroom or community.
- Family Connection
Family Connection meetings provide a forum for CAU family members and significant others to discuss concerns, voice suggestions and meet with administrative staff. Presentations on a variety of relevant topics are scheduled throughout the year.
Advocated are involved in legislative updates, letter-writing campaigns, accessibility & voting campaigns, "Meet Your Candidates" events, attending state and national conferences, and conducting professional workshops. CAU has one of the oldest and strongest self-advocacy groups in the state of New Jersey.
- Conferences and Training
Each year, CAU coordinates and sponsors annual conferences that provide educational, vocational, networking, and social opportunities for professionals, youth, and people with disabilities.
- Supports for Adults with Disabilities
Program services range from around-the-clock, supervised, residential care to in-home supports offered two hours a week. CAU also provides emergency supervised housing for up to sixty (60) days. Supports are designed and provided according to individual needs and abilities. Vocational training services provide part-time employment to members as a path toward future community employment. Supported employment services include skills assessment, job search training and assistance, job coaching, job development, and follow-up.
- Residential Programs
- Emergency Capacity Systems
- Supports Program
- Advocacy & Recreation
- Supported Employment & Vocational Training
- Supports for Youth
CAU provides a continuum of residential services, life skills training, after-school programming, recreation programs, and behavioral assessments for youth ages 0 through 21 years who are living at home. Referrals to the program are made from the NJ Department of Children and Families. CAU also offers independent living skills assessment and training, vocational counseling and training, employment assistance, and other support services to youth ages 13-21 who reside in out-of-home placements in Union County
- Runaway and Homeless Youth Shelter
- Behavioral Assessments
- Union County Youth Shelter
- Transitional Opportunities Program
- Transitional Services Program
- Safe Place: For Youth...Someplace To Go, Someone To Help
Youth who find themselves in need of help, homeless, etc can go to any designated Safe Place location around Union County are receive free assistance and support without feeling afraid of consequences. CAU youth shelter is a designated Safe Place location at 508 Westminister Avenue, Elizabeth, NJ 07202. For Help Call 908-354-5420 or TEXT "SAFE" with your current location (address/city/state) to 69866 to find a place with the Safe Place sign. More info at www.nationalsafeplace.org and www.caunj.org
- Community Support Program (CSP)
CSP is a fee-for-service program for youth and adults with special needs encompassing a wide array of independent living skills training, employment assistance, and social and educational activities. Individuals and family members design an affordable service plan specific to a person's unique needs. Services design an affordable service plan specific to a person's unique needs. Services are provided in-home throughout central and northern New Jersey.
- The Parent Enrichment Program (PEP)
PEP supports families through the provision of parent education classes and medical and health care linkages. This program offers group parenting classes, in-home visits, a tutoring service to school-age children, and social opportunities.
- Personal Preference Program (PPP)
CAU provides fiscal intermediary services to Medicaid-eligible individuals to manage their own personal care services. Individuals become employers and have direct control over the supports they choose to access and how they choose to access it.
Transitional Opportunities Program (TOP)
The Transitional Opportunities Program (TOP) provides a variety of residential support services through a continuum of care to at-risk youth ages 12 to 21. Youth living in any county of New Jersey are able to enter the program through a Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) or NJ Division of Children's System of Care referral.
While residing in Elizabeth, youth receive a variety of independent living training and transitional living support services until they achieve the life skills needed to live independently. We refer to participants of our program as "members."
Transitional Services Program (TSP)
The Transitional Services Program offers independent living skills to adolescents who have been referred by DCP&P and the Department of Children and Families currently living in any out-of-home placement setting within Union County. Our training sessions, which include the New Jersey Approved Life Skills Curriculum, are offered on a weekly basis in small groups on Saturday mornings. These Services include but are not limited to, education, employment, daily living skills, communication skills, drug and alcohol awareness, and anger management. Individual meetings are set up to work on specific issues.
Youth who are eligible for this particular program are Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCP&P) adolescents between 15 and 21 years of age who are living in Union County in one of the following out-of-home placements; foster home, group home, children's shelter, a residential treatment home or facility, or any other out-of-home placements financed by foster care maintenance payments.
Aftercare is a program designed to provide follow-up case management to young adults. Through Aftercare, we at Community Access Unlimited provide supportive services for transitioning youth. This program is a continuation of services for independent living, which provides case management to the designated youth with assistance in finding employment, housing collegiate education, and funding.
Aftercare can also access Wraparound Funds to assist youth in their transition to total independence. Youth who are eligible for this program include young adults who have aged out of the Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCP&P) or have had their case closed (we also accept DCP&P referrals six months prior to case closure).
Union County Youth Shelter
The Union County Youth Shelter provides short-term (maximum 30 days) placement for youth that is referred from the Family Crisis Intervention Union, Juvenile Detention Intake Unit, Juvenile Criminal, or the Family Courts of Union County
Services provided: Outreach, emergency shelter, self-care/daily living skills training, individual sessions with trained staff, nutrition education, on-site classroom w/NJ Certified Teacher of the Handicapped, recreational activities, referrals to community resources, therapeutic assessments upon request, medical follow up, medication monitoring, vocational training, supervised completion of the court assigned community service hours, linkages to family support services, transportation to appointments, probation, and court appearances.
Youth Self Advocacy Programs
- Member Action Committee (M.A.C.) The Member Action Committee (MAC) is an advocacy group run through the Transitional Opportunities Program (TOP) at CAU. The group is run by TOP members with the assistance of staff advisors. Monthly meetings are held to discuss trends, ideas, and issues that are happening in TOP. During these meetings, special events may be planned, change to rules or procedures may be suggested, and, on a quarterly basis, MAC gets to meet with the Administrative panel to directly discuss issues regarding TOP and advocacy for members.
- M.A.C. Attack M.A.C. Attack is a business run by youth. These youth conduct various presentations regarding making good decisions in life, teaching others how it feels to live in the system, and teaching people about relationships. presentations are made on a local and national level.
Basic Needs / Assistance
Employment / Training
Family & Support Services
Behavioral / Mental Health
Crisis / Safety
Intellectual and Developmental Needs
Last Updated: 01/20/23