What is a “Displaced Homemaker?”
A displaced homemaker is a woman who has lost her primary source of income due to divorce, separation, death or disability of her spouse, and therefore must obtain or upgrade her skills for transition into the paid labor market in order to support herself and her children.
Background of the Organization
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the national divorce rate rose rapidly in the 1970′s. Women who had worked primarily in the home, raising a family, suddenly faced the daunting task of obtaining or updating skills and re-entering the workforce. In 1979, the New Jersey Displaced Homemakers Act was signed into law by then governor, Brendan Byrne. The Act did not appropriate funding, but mandated that action be taken to address the problem of displaced homemakers. In 1982, the Vocational Division of the New Jersey Department of Education appropriated startup money for six Displaced Homemaker Centers. Six pilot centers were established across the state to provide counseling and training, and to address the barriers to employment faced by these women.
Representatives of the Displaced Homemakers Centers realized the impact that they were having on women with their services and identified the need to establish permanent funding for the Centers. In 1983, Center representatives gathered to discuss how ongoing funding could be established. The first meeting of the Displaced Homemakers Network of New Jersey was held in 1984. Soon after, through efforts of the Network, then Governor Kean appropriated funding for Displaced Homemakers Centers through the Division on Women in 1984.
In 1990, the Network incorporated as a 501c3 organization. The mission of the Displaced Homemakers Network of New Jersey is as follows:
The Displaced Homemakers Network of New Jersey, Inc. is a guardian that assures the continuation and expansion of services to Displaced Homemakers Centers and the women they serve through advocacy, training, and fund development.
In 1993, Network efforts led to additional funding when Governor Florio signed legislation that increased the divorce filing fee by $25 with that funding to be directed to Displaced Homemaker Centers.
Currently, the Displaced Homemakers Network represents the 15 Displaced Homemaker Centers serving women in the state. To assure adequate and diversified funding, the Network will continue its strong tradition of advocacy for women in New Jersey. The Network is engaged in efforts to increase the capacity and programming of the Centers in order to meet the needs of women and families in New Jersey