Evidence Abounds on the Effectiveness of Children and Youths' Behavioral Healthcare Services

At 10 years old, Zhan was referred by an inpatient child psychiatric unit to CFG Health Network's A Step Ahead Elmer program.

Although the treatment team was told that Zhan would most likely be residential bound when she finished the program, Zhan achieved a complete turnaround.

In fact, she became a role model for her peers and a leader in the program, which she graduated from at the highest level.
"The C.O.P.E. program has supported me through extremely difficult times and continues to be a valuable resource. I don't know where I would be without these services." - Illias

Since before college, Illias has struggled with anxiety and participated in CarePlus NJ's Children's Out-Patient Endeavors (C.O.P.E.) mental healthcare program. After high school, he continued with C.O.P.E. to overcome challenges associated with living off campus, continuing with school and working, which exasperated anxiety along with feelings of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With support from Jen Velten, MA, LPC, ACS, CCTP, DRCC, Senior Director of Trauma Services and C.O.P.E. Supervisor and Clinician, Illias achieved his goals. In addition to successfully managing anxiety, he graduated from Rutgers University, is working in pediatric care and plans to earn a Master's degree and then attend medical school.

After losing her mother to suicide, 8-year-old Daryna came from Ukraine to New Jersey to live with her grandmother. Daryna's teachers referred her to Bergen's Promise, through which she was connected with an intensive in-home counselor and resources to learn English and gymnastics, as well as develop social skills and confidence.

"I would not be in school and potentially not alive if it were not for the school-based program." - Aisha, Former Participant at Pathways School Based Youth Services Program (SBYSP) at Carteret High School

The SBYSP engaged multiple systems, including the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, on Aisha's behalf regarding abuse. They also ensured that she received an emergency psychiatric screening and follow-up care when Aisha became suicidal during her sophomore year.

In addition, the SBYSP provided counseling and case management, assisted with financial resources and helped Aisha secure a job and set up a bank account. In Aisha's senior year, the staff worked with her on applying for college and financial aid.

Today, Aisha is a sophomore in college and doing really well, working toward her nursing degree. She works in the financial aid office, which ensures that her tuition is covered, and she has lived on campus both years with the support of a second job.

Share these Inspiring Stories in your Advocacy for Significant Funding Increases in the FY2025 State Budget!

Click here to read additional success stories of individuals of various ages and backgrounds in NJAMHAA's campaign brochure, Diverse Faces: All Are Worthy of Full Investment, and click here to watch videos that feature additional inspiring examples of the value of behavioral healthcare services and the workforce who provides them.

Please share these links on your websites and social media pages!

Also, please encourage your staff, Board members, other colleagues, friends and family members to advocate!

Also Advocate at the Upcoming Legislative Budget Hearings!

The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will host its first hearing in person on March 19, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. ET at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, at the Campus Center Atrium, 150 Bleeker Street, Newark, NJ.

The second Senate hearing will be held virtually without the possibility of in-person attendance on March 26, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. ET.

The Assembly Budget Committee will hold its first public budget hearing in person on March 11, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. ET in Committee Room 11 on the 4th Floor of the State House Annex, 145 West State Street, Trenton, NJ.

The Assembly Budget Committee will hold its second hearing in person on March 20, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. ET in Committee Room 11 on the 4th Floor of the State House Annex, 145 West State Street, Trenton, NJ.

Click here to access the New Jersey Legislature Budget Public Hearings webpage to register for any of these hearings and for more information.

Thank you for joining NJAMHAA in this critical advocacy effort!

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