A group that has spent more than 25 years helping New Jersey's low-income, working families is hosting a national discussion in Virginia to share its methods.

The Pascale Sykes Foundation, which also helps families in New York, will host a panel on its Whole Family Approach at the National Health and Human Services Summit in Arlington, Virginia, on May 7, foundation President Frances P. Sykes announced Wednesday.

The panel follows a year after a conference, Working Together for Working Families, drew more than 300 people to Cumberland Community College in Vineland.

The foundation, which plans to close its doors by 2022-23, has a $38.3 million net value, and has invested $5.2 million in charitable purposes in 2016, according to its latest available tax returns. By the time the foundation closes, its contributions through the South Jersey Strengthening Families Initiative will be in excess of $50 million.

Created in 1992 on the belief that strong families are necessary to adult and child well-being, the foundation invests in Atlantic, Salem, Cumberland and Gloucester counties, Sykes said. The group believes families succeed when everyone in the household works together toward common goals.

Through its Whole Family Approach, agencies and collaborators work with everyone in the household to define, prioritize and achieve long-range plans and goals and foster integrity and independence, Sykes said. It’s an approach used by the foundation in South Jersey as well as in New York City, and the upcoming panel will feature some of the foundation’s success stories.

The process begins with two adults who take responsibility and charge for the family, with at least one of them employed, and involves the entire family working with agencies and collaborators.

“The data from numerous studies as well as data from our grantees demonstrate that adults and children thrive best when there are two responsible, dependable, reliable adults working toward family well-being,” she said. “Ideally it’s Mom and Dad. However, if that’s not possible, a close relative or friend could be integrally involved with the household, serving as a support for family members.”

The summit is hosted by the American Public Human Services Association and will take place May 6-9 at the Marriot Gateway Crystal City, Virginia.

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Twitter @ACPressMollyB

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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