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$5 Million in Federal Funds Provide Greater Access to Services for Children and Families in Sandy-Impacted Communities

For Immediate Release:                         Contact: Ernest Landante

January 27, 2014                                 609-292-0422

Trenton - Continuing its commitment to assist Superstorm Sandy-impacted residents in their ongoing recovery, the Christie Administration is expanding adolescent drug detoxification services, home visitation programs and respite services for children and families struggling to overcome the storm's lingering challenges, New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Allison Blake announced today.

"Life for many families and individuals working to recover from Superstorm Sandy continues to be a struggle," said DCF Commissioner Blake. "The daily emotional burden and stress can be difficult to manage, and for some, simply overbearing. These expanded services will help families regain a sense of normalcy as they persevere through the storm's aftermath."

Drug detoxification services are being expanded for adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 in the ten counties most greatly affected by Superstorm Sandy, as determined by the federal government (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Union and Cumberland). Thanks to $1.8 million in federal funds, six beds at Lighthouse, a Mays Landing-based drug and alcohol treatment center, will be reserved for adolescents suffering addiction to opiate-based drugs, including heroin, Vicodin, Oxycontin, and other drugs.

"The need for adolescent detoxification services has drastically increased following Superstorm Sandy," said Richard Fallon, LCADC, Lighthouse's director of marketing. "The impact of this type of disaster often leads to mental health issues and drug and alcohol problems.  Lighthouse's cutting-edge, medically managed detoxification services will help adolescents overcome their addiction and live productive lives."

Expanded home visitation programs are providing support and information to a greater number of pregnant women, new mothers and fathers, and other caregivers in the ten counties most affected by Superstorm Sandy. Home visitation services help build strong and nurturing relationships between parent and child to ensure babies and young children grow up healthy, happy and safe.

"Home visitors are working with families in Sandy-impacted areas, helping them create home safety checklists, educating them about healthy infant sleep practices, and ensuring that these families are connected to a medical home," said Colleen Nelson of the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Central Jersey. "When parents with small babies are moving from place to place, they may become disconnected from their medical provider, which is a concern for pregnant women or newborns."

More than $2.16 million in federal Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) funds will be allocated for home visitation services, allowing VNA to hire a third home visiting nurse to serve 75 Ocean County families and significantly reduce the number of families on a waiting list for services. Home visitors include nurses, family support workers, parent educators and community health workers.

More than $1.15 million in federal dollars will fund DCF's upcoming expansion of respite services for families in Sandy-impacted counties. This expansion will serve about 120 families each year. Respite services provide family caregivers and a family member with a developmental disability a short period of rest or relief by arranging alternative caregiving.  Respite is also provided when a family caregiver is temporarily absent or disabled.

Information on how to access these and other services is available by calling DCF at1-855-INFO-DCF (1-855-463-6323).

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