TRENTON – The Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) awarded $1.2 million to expand substance abuse treatment services to parents and adolescents who are at risk of child abuse or neglect.
The request for proposals was made by DHS' Division of Addiction Services and DCF's Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). The services are intended to strengthen families to keep them together and to support reunification when parents and kids have been separated as a result of substance abuse.
“We know that substance addiction and use is, all too often, a big factor in child abuse cases,” DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez said. “We also know that treatment programs can help stabilize families and make children safer.”
With the awarded funds, seven substance abuse treatment providers will develop new or enhance existing substance abuse treatment services for highly vulnerable parents whose children are at risk of abuse or neglect.
In addition to substance abuse counseling, these services include treatment for people with both substance abuse and mental health issues, trauma and gender specific treatment, transportation, child care needs, and referrals for medical services and psychological evaluations.
Too often in child welfare, services focus on only mothers and children, and as a result, treatment programs for fathers are scarce. These funding awards acknowledge that disparity and create services in key communities that have identified fathers as a priority.
The funds will also be used to develop services to assist adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 who may be involved with DYFS.
“We want to make sure that families have access to treatment services in their communities and are given the chance to recover from substance abuse,” DCF Commissioner Kevin M. Ryan said. "Our goal is to strengthen families and we expect these new services will help us do that."
DHS and DCF have awarded funds to the following providers to focus on intensive outpatient (IOP) services for fathers, children and adolescents:
- Family Connections, Essex County , $140,292 – 12 slots for fathers and children
- Preferred Behavioral Health, Ocean County , $140,292 – 12 slots for fathers and children
- SODAT, Gloucester County , $140,292 – 12 slots for fathers and children
- Parkside Recovery, Camden County , $140,292 – 12 slots for fathers and children
- SODAT, Gloucester County , $126,336 – 12 slots for adolescents
- Daytop Village, Inc., Morris County , $105,280 – 10 slots for adolescents
DHS and DCF have also awarded $426,464 to the Center for Great Expectations in Somerset County to focus on developing halfway house residential treatment for mothers and children.
All substance abuse programs through these contracts are required to provide services that adhere to the best practices in treatment.
Eligibility for contracts was limited to applicants who are either public or private non-profit organizations licensed by DAS to provide substance abuse treatment services.