Contest updates

About the Contest

For the 26th 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 2021, we will be accepting entries in the following categories:

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

The theme for 2021 encourages students to illustrate -- through art or the written word -- how you and your loved ones have supported each other through all of the changes that have happened in the previous year, from remote schooling to finding new ways to stay connected to friends and family.

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

The submissions deadline HAS BEEN EXTENDED for the 2021 contest. The new deadline is April 21, 2021. An awards ceremony for the top three winners in each school-level for each entry category is tentatively 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.

This year, the prize packages will include American Express gift cards for winners in each grade range, in each creative category. The prizes are:

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