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$12 Million SAMSHA Grant to Department of Children and Families' (DCF) Will Enhance Services for New Jersey Youth with Behavioral Challenges


For Immediate Release Contact:   Ernest Landante, Jr.
October 20, 2015 609-888-7915

TRENTON - Supporting services for children with complex behavioral health challenges, the state's youth services agencies met in New Brunswick yesterday to prepare for an expansion of mental health services.  The New Jersey Department of Children and Families' (DCF) recent $12 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funds the expansion.

"By working closely and cooperatively with our agency partners, we can make sure these funds benefit to the fullest extent possible the children who need it the most," said DCF Commissioner Allison Blake.  "These participating agencies are set to take full advantage of this opportunity to improve the lives of youth with complex behavioral health challenges."

Representatives from care management organizations, mobile response agencies, out-of-home treatment providers, intensive in-community treatment providers, and county inter-agency coordinating councils attended the meeting at DCF's Professional Center.

During the project's first year, DCF's Children's System of Care (CSOC) will introduce two trauma-informed interventions: Six Core Strategies for Reducing Seclusion and Restraint Use and the Nurtured Heart Approach.  Middlesex, Morris, and Sussex will serve as pilot counties.

The project aims to:

  • reduce the percentage of youth in the system of care who require multiple episodes of out-of-home treatment;
  • reduce the percentage of youth who re-enter treatment after discharge from an initial treatment episode;
  • reduce the average length of stay for youth in out-of-home treatment from 11.5 to 9 months; and
  • analyze and understand the impact of each type of system investment in order to make future resource allocation decisions.

The impact of the grant will be widespread, transforming the practice of about 4,500 out-of-home treatment staff, 700 care management staff, and at least 9,000 parents and caregivers.

"This grant is a transformational opportunity to not only move the Children's System of Care forward, but more importantly make an even greater difference in the lives of youth," added Commissioner Allison Blake.

DCF is dedicated to ensuring a better today and an even greater tomorrow for every individual the department serves. In partnership with New Jersey's communities, DCF ensures the safety, well-being, and success of New Jersey's children and families.  DCF funds and directly provides services and support to over 100,000 women, children, and families each month.