background shadows

Click HERE to learn how you can support the Children's Trust Fund and other programs for children any time of the year.

History of the Children's Trust Fund


Children's trust and prevention funds are state level organizations dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. There are now 52 trust and prevention funds, established by legislative action, in every state of the union, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Ray E. Helfer, a Michigan pediatrician and then Vice-President of the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse, originally proposed a nationwide network of funds dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect in 1979. Dr. Helfer reasoned that since we had trust funds to care for our nation's highways and endangered wildlife species, we ought to have a trust fund to care for our children. Kansas was the first state to establish a Children's Trust Fund in 1980.

Trust and prevention funds create a vital public-private partnership, since, in most states, boards of directors have representatives of government, the corporate sector, and private citizens are appointed by the Governor. The funds are situated within state government and may be located administratively within various state agencies, governors' offices, or independently.

Funding for trust and prevention funds comes from a variety of sources, such as voluntary state income tax check-off contributions; surcharges on birth, divorce, or death certificates; line item state appropriations; interest from the trust fund; corporations and private foundations; and individual contributions. Every state that has an established children's trust or prevention fund is eligible for a federal community-based grant.

The common purpose of trust or prevention funds is the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Each state undertakes a variety of creative and innovative activities to accomplish this purpose, just as each state has established funding guidelines and policies that identify the types of prevention programs eligible for financial support, funding priorities, and funding limitations.

As public-private partnerships, trust or prevention funds work closely with public agencies and the private sector. Some funds solicit corporate support through direct grants, matching funds, or in-kind contributions. Some funds have joint projects with universities or joint funding initiatives with other state agencies. Some funds have established statewide AmeriCorps VISTA networks, using AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers to empower low income families and to address causes and conditions that create high risks for child abuse and neglect. Other funds have established private foundations to conduct intensive fundraising to support child abuse and neglect prevention efforts.

The funding process encourages the development of creative strategies for preventing child abuse and neglect. Examples of such strategies are parenting education and role modeling for incarcerated women, curriculum development for religious communities, culturally specific sexual abuse prevention education for children, and programs for families recovering from substance abuse.

Children's trust and prevention funds devote substantial attention to the evaluation of child abuse and neglect prevention programs. Many states have conducted or facilitated various types of program outcome evaluations.

How to Help
  • Make a contribution to the Children's Trust Fund by checking our line on your New Jersey state income tax return.
  • Make a donation today! Click HERE for instructions.
  • Get involved! Volunteer at Children's Trust Fund programs throughout the State.
  • Help us spread the word. Tell your friends and neighbors about the Children's Trust Fund and ask them to contribute.
Contact Us


NJ Children's Trust Fund
50 East State Street, 5th Floor
PO Box 717
Trenton, NJ 08625
609-888-7385

Sharon Budka, Grant Manager