FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 23, 2019

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) today released the report Strengths and Supports in the Lives of Atlantic City Public Schools Youth, which is based on the results from a survey of city youth done in February 2019. Today, more than 40 Atlantic City community members with an interest in the city’s youth received training on how to use the survey findings to improve youth programs in the city.

“Atlantic City’s young people are full of promise and deserve expansive, dynamic opportunities to realize their potential,” said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “We thank Superintendent of Schools Barry Caldwell for working with DCA to assess the needs of the city’s youth in the hours when they are not in school. This survey and today’s training will go a long way to helping the community develop programs that enrich the lives of the city’s children and young adults so that they develop into future leaders and innovators.”

“We are looking forward to the results of today's collaborative effort. I believe it will provide the basis for creative, constructive programming for the young people of Atlantic City,” said Governor’s Special Counsel Jim Johnson. “It goes without saying that the city’s most precious resource is its young people, and one of the city’s highest duties is to ensure their welfare. We are committed to doing what we can to help them thrive and succeed.” 

The survey used an assessment tool called the Developmental Assets Profile, which was designed and is administered by the Search Institute, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization focused on advancing the health and well-being of youth, families and communities. The Developmental Assets Profile measures young people’s personal strengths and competencies and the levels of support they have in their families and communities.

The findings show that 53 percent of the 812 young people between 4th grade and 12th grade who were surveyed scored in the adequate or thriving range, meaning they have substantial internal and external assets to make positive life choices and prepare for a productive future.

The results also suggest there is room to improve Atlantic City youth’s experience in such areas as support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations, commitment to learning, positive identity, and positive values. 

The Search Institute conducted today’s training and guided the trainees on how to begin a process for incorporating the survey findings into existing youth programs and developing a citywide set of programs to address the needs identified. 

One immediate takeaway is that afterschool and summer programs are critical to curbing youth from engaging in at-risk behavior. To that end, the City of Atlantic City, DCA, and members of the Atlantic City Executive Council have created more than 100 summer internship opportunities for young adults in Atlantic City.

The community-wide assessment of the city’s youth was conducted based on a recommendation from the Atlantic City Transition Report, which was issued in September 2018 to provide a framework for returning Atlantic City to local control.

DCA was established in 1967 and today offers a wide range of programs and services, including energy assistance, housing vouchers, affordable housing production, fire and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery.

For more information about DCA, visit or follow the Department on social media:        

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Lisa Ryan
Tammori Petty
Gina Trish
(609) 292-6055