Contest updates

Thank you for your patience as we were forced to reconfigure the judging for this year's contest in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus public health emergency. Judging is completed and we anticipate being able to make an officeial announcement soon. Check back regularly for updates on the 2020 contest results.

About the Contest

For the 25th year, the New Jersey Department of Human Services (NJDHS) invites pre-teens and teens across the state to participate in its Annual Teen Media Contest sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Family Development, focusing on parental responsibility. The statewide contest is open to all New Jersey middle school and high school aged students.

Student entrants are asked to create and submit a piece of original work which complements the state's ongoing advertising and community outreach campaign. For 2020, we will be accepting entries in the following categories:

  • Hand-drawn or hand-painted artwork
  • Written word (essay, poetry, composition, etc.) 

The theme for 2020 encourages students to illustrate -- through art or the written word -- a valuable life lesson or moment that you will never forget. Whether it is tying your shoes, saying thank you, helping others, learning how to ride a bike, or learning how to make that secret family recipe, our parents or other loved ones provide valuable life lessons and teaching moments. Whatever your situation, show us when you most appreciate having them there.

This concept can be taken literally, abstractly, or be left to the imagination. Each and every person's story is unique.

The submissions deadline for the 2020 contest is March 11, 2020. An awards ceremony for the top three winners in each school-level for each entry category is scheduled for mid-May.

An emphasis is placed on the idea that while they may not live together under one roof – both parents are responsible for enriching the life and securing the future of their child. The DHS intends to use winning student entries to promote this public awareness campaign aimed at New Jersey’s non-custodial parents.

Evaluation Criteria & Judging
Members of the New Jersey Department of Human Services with representatives from various other organizations and/or corporations in the State will serve as judges for the Teen Media Contest. Judging of artwork and the written word will be based on the following criteria (in no specific order):

    • Theme Depiction
    • Overall Appearance
    • Originality
    • Design & Execution

Winning Entry Display
Artwork and written word entries from top winners will be displayed in the New Jersey Statehouse, as well as other potential venues. Winning entries, along with select honorable mention entries, will be included in the 2019 New Jersey Child Support Calendar.

In light of the public health emergency, we have reconfigured the prize package for 2020. This year, the prize packages will include American Express giftcards only. Winners at each grade range in each category, the prizes are:

1st Place -- $225     2nd Place -- $175     3rd Place -- $125

These prize packages compensate for the removal of Six Flags theme park tickets from this year's prize package.