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For Immediate Release:                                                           Contact: (609) 633-8507

January 25, 2013                                                                     Kristine Brown





TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Commissioner Dr. Allison Blake toured the 2NDFLOOR Youth Helpline Call Center today and met with staff and the center’s counselors who have assisted and continue to assist thousands of youth impacted by Hurricane Sandy.


2NDFLOOR is a program of the Monmouth County-based non-profit 180 Turning Lives Around, Inc. and is funded through the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.


Dr. Blake explained that as the state began recovering from Hurricane Sandy, children of all ages began to experience a myriad of emotions, challenges and issues that affected their day-to-day lives. “Thousands of children were displaced from their homes, their schools, their familiar surroundings – everything that was once normal,” Commissioner Blake said. “They are going to need support not just during this time but in the days, weeks and months ahead.”


She explained that the benefit of 2NDFLOOR as a viable resource is the fact that the service was already in place when Hurricane Sandy impacted New Jersey and will continue to be active long after the initial emergency of the storm.


“A youth who calls 2NDFLOOR today can call back a year from now if needed,” Commissioner Blake explained. “That continuity is a great advantage.”


The helpline’s primary function is to assist youth with issues related to such concerns as bullying, family problems, depression and anxiety, dating, substance abuse and more.  However, throughout the storm and the week following, 2NDFLOOR handled over 1,000 calls from youth dealing with the pain, stress and burden the hurricane brought upon them and their families. 2NDFLOOR continues to answer calls from youth affected.


“While the adults in their lives are struggling to rebuild and recover from the aftermath of Sandy, we find that children are often suffering in silence.  Speaking with someone at 2NDFLOOR can be a way to allay their fears and address their concerns, and even help facilitate communication with their families,” added Anna Diaz-White, Executive Director of Turning Lives Around.


Any youth, teen or young adults between the ages of 10 and 24 experiencing emotional challenges as a result of Hurricane Sandy or who needs to talk to someone about any other issue, is encouraged to call 2NDFLOOR toll free at (888) 222-2228.   The confidential and anonymous youth helpline is designed to listen, help and guide youth in addressing a myriad of issues.


 “Sometimes just talking about a problem helps make things seem better. The staff at 2NDFLOOR are trained listeners who encourage discussion with the youth caller, as well as provide support and offer practical guidance,” said Commissioner Blake.


In addition to the phone helpline, the 2NDFLOOR web site also offers online “Speak Your Mind” message boards where youth can talk about whatever is on their minds such as problems related to school or friends, or topics like stress, sexuality, drugs, violence or abuse. Additional information and resources are available on their web site at


DCF, New Jersey’s state child welfare agency, was created in July 2006 as the state’s first Cabinet agency devoted exclusively to serving and safeguarding the most vulnerable children and families in New Jersey. DCF includes the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, Division of Family and Community Partnerships, Division of Children’s System of Care and Division on Women. For more information about DCF, please visit