Mission Statement

Somerset Community Action Program, in collaboration with our partners, will increase the self-sufficiency of low to moderate income individuals and families in Somerset County Community by empowering them through education, employment training, cultural enrichment, case management and life skills development programs


The Somerset Community Action Program (SCAP) was established in 1965 as part of a nationwide effort to implement the Economic Opportunity Act. The purpose of the Act was to wage war on poverty to enable low-income families and individuals attain the "skills, knowledge and motivations and secure the opportunities needed for them to become fully self-sufficient". SCAP is organized as a 501 (c) (3) governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees.

Over the years, SCAP has been providing a broad array of direct services to low-income families such as child development programs inclusive of Head Start, Child Care, Before and After School, Summer Camp, employment support, asset development, Weatherization, emergency assistance and more. These programs offer an effective model to address the needs of low-income individuals and families comprehensively. Through strengthened collaborations and partnerships with other social service programs, business and private providers, SCAP has been able to expand services to children and families in Somerset County.


The staff at SCAP provides the support mechanism whereby families realize their goals and dreams. They are dedicated professionals with extensive experience and the needed credentials to provide high quality services to multi lingual and culturally diverse individuals and families.

Staff works collectively to implement SCAP's operational plan and are provided with ongoing professional development and educational opportunities.


Community Assistance Programs

Using a results-oriented approach, The Office of Community Assistance provides a comprehensive range of services all designed to increase the self sufficiency of the low-income residents of Somerset County. As a partner in Community Action, SCAP strives to identify and provide solutions to address the pervasive poverty issues that exists within Somerset County.

We are unable to achieve our mission independently. The Community at large is invited to participate in the planning process, and our programs are offered to all income-eligible residents of Somerset County.

We are pleased to offer the following programs, all of which were designed to eliminate barriers to employment and promote asset enhancement.

Driver's License Restoration - Offers one time financial assistance to NJ Motorists who have had their driving privileges suspended due to outstanding surcharges, fines and child support obligations.

Case Management for Emergency Needs- Emergency utility, rental, food, clothing and furniture assistance.

Early Childhood Education and Training Program- Five (5) month on the job training program for those interested in pursuing a career in the Early Childhood Education field.

Financial Literacy-Ongoing education workshops designed to help low-income individuals become banked, and increase assets.

Entrepreneurial Skills Training Program-Business plan development, Mentoring and Financial Training along with Technical Assistance.

First Time Homebuyer Club- Offers free group and individual  pre- purchase education and counseling along with up to $7000.00 in down payment assistance.

For more information on any of our programs and to determine your eligibility, please contact Ms. Aliya Anderson-Smith, Community Services Program Coordinator a aanderson@somersetcap.org or at our Hamilton Street location - 732-846-8888 ext. 213.



The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a national program and was created over 35 years ago to help low0income families and individuals permanently reduce their energy bills. Somerset CAP is a part of this program and provides these services to individuals and families at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines by making their homes more energy efficient and addressing health and safety concerns. Homes are made energy efficient and addressing health and safety concerns. Homes are made energy efficient by air sealing to reduce infiltration, installing attic, sidewall, floor, and pipe insulation, and providing some energy related repairs. Homes also receive a thorough evaluation of the heating system and a health and safety testing oftion appliances. Somerset CAP's WAP is funded by the Department of Energy and is free to those who qualify. To see if you are eligible for this free service, please contact us at weatheriza




Language and literacy Alphabetic knowledge:Reading: Children read for pleasure and information

We also use the Growing Reader Early Literacy Curriculum, and the Numbers plus Mathematics Curriculum. The Growing Readers small-group activities engage young children in four key areas of early literacy learning: comprehension, phonological awareness, alphabetic principle and concepts about print. The program focuses on these four aspects of early literacy because of the strong evidence that young children's knowledge of these concepts is a solid predictor of their reading achievement in later years.


  Language and literacy time-Appreciating the arts: Children appreciate the creative arts



Multicultural luncheon- Social Studies- Diversity: Children understand that people have diverse characteristics, interests, and abilities.




Field trip to pumpkin farm

Education services:


Individualized learning

Quality child/staff Ratios

Consistent routines and schedules

Develop school readiness skills

Culturally Diverse Activities

Fostering of each child's independence

An integrated curriculum that addresses the essential domains of school readiness

Field Trips

Large Group time- Music and movement activity

If you would like to have further information on the curriculum we use or about school readiness, please contact Amisha Shah,  Education Manager via email at ashah@somersetcap.org or at our Belmont location at 732-302-0700.

Addressing Disabilities and Special Needs

Somerset Community Action Program annually seeks children 3-5 years of age who have been identified as a pre school child with a disability and have obtained a certified IEP from their local education agency. Our program offers a half-day alternative for students attending services in the public schools. These children are given the advantage of attending half-day at the public schools and half-day at our inclusive program. The program will help arrange transportation for these students.

Our organization aims to educate parents, healthcare providers, early childhood educators and other professionals to ensure early detection of a disability, so that we have the best development outcomes for every child. Children with special needs are given the same opportunities to participate in the classroom as other children, and if necessary, modifications may be made to make their experience a fun filled learning one. Children in this age group who exhibit developmental delays in language, cognition, adaptive, motor, social and/or emotional development, may be eligible for services in the public schools as a preschool disabled child and as an agency we will help you through the steps to have your child evaluated. Parents who have concerns regarding their child's development should contact Ms. Amisha Shah, Education Manager at ashah@somersetcap.org or at our Belmont location for further discussion.

Family Community Partnership Department

We believe that parents are truly their child's first teacher. For that reason, we partner with parents to provide real resources to help them support their child's healthy growth and development. Parents can visit any of our 3 Somerset County locations to receive pre-school information for your children that are between the ages of 3-5 years old.

Enroll in a FREE Head Start program for eligible families with children ages 3-5 years old, and you will receive!

1-on-1 support for you and your child

Activities on resources to extend your child's learning in the home

Information on jobs, ESL programs and other services

Opportunity for you and your child to participate in free activities with other families

Materials and support to learn more about your child's development

Full-day. full-year services

Extended hours available for working families

Nutritious meals prepared fresh on-site

Family services to help YOU meet your goals

Automatic eligibility for TANF families

Families with CCCS can take advantage of our extended day program

Extended day drop off as early as 7:30am and pick up as late at 6:00 pm

Health Screenings

Help with health services and immunizations

Services for children with special needs

Assistance with meeting your goals

We also know how to truly pursue our mission of closing the achievement gap, we must partner with parents to help them understand the achievement gap, what THEY can do as parents to help close that gap. See our Parent, Family and Community Engagement model and School Readiness model section for Family and Child Outcome Success. These outcomes will provide in-depth statistics and what all parents can do to help close that gap and prepare their family and preschooler for success in school and in-life.

*Help make a difference at your child's school

* Ask about our Policy Council and Class Parent Organization

*For more information about our Head Start Requirements - or to complete an application for eligibility: Please see the requirements-or-refer to our Application for Eligibility section listed above!

***Parent Activity of the Day: Fold laundry and sort clothes based on size shape and/or color***

Supporting Head Start quality today, impacting New Jersey family success tomorrow with Parent and Community Involvement.

We are now enrolling children 3 to 5 years in a pre-kindergarten program and it's FREE for income-eligible families.

Age Requirements

-Hamilton Site- child must be 3 by October 31st

-Belmont Site- child must be 3 by October 31st

-North Plainfield Site- child must be 3 by October 15

*****Exception-If a child has a CERTIFIED IEP he is eligible to enroll when he turns 3

Please present the original copy of the following documents:

1. Proof of Income

       - 2012 Tax Returns

        -Twelve months of family income preceding date of application - or-

         - Certified letter from employer stating income for the past 12 months

2. Family composition- *** See below

3. Birth Certificate for Child(ren) or proof of age

4. Proof of residency in Somerset County

        -Valid Driver's License -or-

        - Current lease agreement

         - Utility bill ( Electric/Gas, Cable, Home Phone)

5. Other- If your child has been diagnosed with a disability please provide a copy of the IEP.

***Please note that all sources of income from each family member must be presented at the time of application. You will be required to verify the number of family member. Falsifying information on your application is a federal offense and will result in the immediate disqualification of the application. You are only determined eligible upon receipt of a signed letter from the Department Manager. If you have any questions, please contact the Family Community Partnership Department at one of the numbers listed above. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Once the above information is obtained, please call the appropriate center to make an appointment with a Family Worker.

A Success Story

James P's Mom, who was in B3 last year, wanted to take a refresher course to apply to have her degree transferred here to the United States. As her family worker, I tried to find her the $160.00 to pay for it, yet funds were very limited. With continued support and determination, this Mom was able to complete the course that was needed and she is now a Nurse in the United States. YAY! This is Great News about one of our parents who has met her goal with the help of the Head Start staff. Thanks!










THE TERM "FAMILY" is used to convey all of the people that may play both a parenting role in a child's life and a partnering role with Head Start Staff. This includes fathers, mothers, grandparents, kith and kin caregivers, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered) parents, guardians, expectant parents, teen parents and families with diverse structures that include multiple relationships.

For more information about any of these Parent Involvement sessions or how to enroll your family into our Head Start Program, please contact:

Nicole L Rollins, Family Community Partnership Manager via email at nrollins@somersetcap.org or at our Hamilton Street Location 732-846-8888 ext. 233.

Health Services

SCAP is committed to providing quality and comprehensive health services to over 300 children and their families in Somerset County. All staff that have direct access to children are trained to be able to handle emergencies when needed. We are proud of our community healthcare professionals who partner with us to provide such services to our children and their families.

Health Screenings

All children participating in our programs receive age appropriate child health screenings within the first 45 days of entry into the program, followed by referrals and treatments.

SCAP partners with highly qualified health care professions in the community to perform screenings including vision, hearing, height and weight, hemoglobin, hematocrit, blood pressure, and development assessments. The purpose of these screenings is to make sure that any abnormalities that may be a predicament to a child's learning and development are detected at the early stage intervention and treatment.

Health Screening



The above photo shows our partners from Oticon, Inc. performing hearing screening on a child. These are Audiologists who work with pediatrics around the world and are culturally sensitive to the population we serve.

Dental Exam


Tooth decay is the #1 chronic, infectious disease among children in the United States, but it can be prevented. At SCAP, all children, insurance or no insurance receive a dental examination, cleaning and fluoride along with follow up treatment. We have dedicated community dentists on our Health Services Advisory Committee- Drs. Andrea Barrett, Beverly Murdock and Augustos Wong, who give oral health education to the children and their families, and provide them with services on a sliding scale

Health Insurance

SCAP also partners with all of the major insurance companies in the State of New Jersey who come to centers to screen families for eligibility. We have Health First of NJ, NJ Family Care Horizon Blue Cross of NJ; all serve on our Health Services Advisory Committee to offer insurance information to our families.

Our Health First parters meet with our families

According to CDC statistics, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being. Somerset County identified obesity as one of the major problems facing the country in its 2012 Community Needs Assessment. SCAP has been proactive in counteracting this problem by involving parents. Children eat nutritious meals and snacks while in the program, and parents of obese children get instructions on healthy eating, either in a small group or one-on-one coaching from the agency's Nutritionist.

CDC Presentation

Working with our Local Department of Health is FUN!

Our local Department of Health in Franklin Township and in Somerville is right there attending to our needs. Our uninsured families are referred to their health clinics for screenings and treatments, they hold clinics in our centers for children who need the flu shot, and give presentations to our families on health topics affecting the community.

Flu Shot

Healthy Kids=Healthy Minds- About 98% of our children 0-59 months of age get their flu shot before the flu season kicks in, thanks to the advocacy of our Public Health Partners.


SCAP promotes healthy lifestyle by involving the whole community through Health Fair events, where resources are shared. All healthcare and social service institutions are repr esented.

SCAP Weaving Connections!  Community resources for our families!


Diabetes Clinic

Cooking Instructions


Somerset Community Action Program is an organization which mobilizes resources, both public and private, to enable the members of the community to become self-sufficient. This may happen at an individual, family, or neighborhood level and is accomplished through the development of employment opportunities, the improvement of human performance, productivity, motivation, and the bettering of conditions under which low-income families live, learn, and work. The programs within SCAP seek to strengthen the community's capabilities for planning and coordinating federal, state, and private sector resources related to the elimination of poverty. SCAP is conducted and administered with members of the community. This participation includes both the training and employment of the members in service delivery jobs and volunteer positions as well as their participation on policy-making groups, including the SCAP Board of Directors. Through this participation, it is believed that low-income persons may pursue involvement in other community policy-making groups, including elective offices.

2013 SCAP Board of Directors:

Mitch Holloway
Hector Kester
Carol Fine
Brian Levine
Percy Sanders
Board Member
Kimberly Francois
Board Member
Richard Hemingway
Board Member
Keiona Miller
Board Member
Jackie Lewis
Policy Council Liaison
 Patricia Relford
Board Member
Stephanie Curenton
Board Member
 Douglas Singleterry
Board Member
Carol Flyod
Board Member

Administrative Staff

The SCAP staff is a group of people working hand-in-hand putting together and maintaining a program that benefits the entire community of Somerset County.

Every staff member and volunteer agrees to adhere to the following High Scope curriculum, which rests on four basic philosophies. First, to respect and promote the unique identity of each child's family and refrain from stereotyping on basis of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion or disability. Second, to follow program confidentiality policies regarding information about children, families, and other staff members. Third, ensure no child will be left alone or unsupervised while under their care. Finally, to use positive methods of child guidance and will not engage in corporal punishment, emotional or physical abuse or humiliation.


Freda Ofori Executive/Head Start Director  fofori@somersetcap.org
Jyotsana Dani Assistant Director / Finance jdani@somersetcap.org
Sandra Espinal   Executive Program Assistant  sespinal@somersetcap.org
Program Managers
Aliya Anderson-Smith Community Services Program Coordinator aanderson@somersetcap.org
Purvi Bhatt Senior Bookkeeper pbhatt@somersetcap.org
Alicia Carman Weatherization Manager acarman@somersetcap.org
Dionne Germain Child Development Program Manager dgermain@somersetcap.org
Karen Hotze Health and Nutrition Manager khotze@somersetcap.org
Nicole Rollins

Family and Community Partnership Manager


Amisha Shah Education Manager ashah@somersetcap.org
Nick Bhatt Information Technology
Betty Jyones Nutrition
Joanne Hickey Esler Mental Health