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Two-year Program Expected to Train 500 Teachers in Storm-impacted Counties


For Immediate Release Contact: Ernest Landante, Jr.
July 22, 2014 609-292-0422

TRENTON - Continuing its efforts to help children and families recover from Superstorm Sandy, the Christie Administration today announced the state has received a nearly $330,000 grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The grant will train teachers to recognize and manage behaviors of school children struggling from Superstorm Sandy.

"For many children, the emotional burden and stress from Superstorm Sandy can be difficult.  This is sometimes expressed through inappropriate behaviors," said New Jersey Department of Children and Families Commissioner (DCF) Allison Blake.  "This grant will help teachers identify and assist children with behavioral issues arising from the storm and direct them to helpful services."

The NJ DCF Teacher Partnership Initiative: Support for Students will provide training and resource workshops for at least 500 teachers within Sandy-impacted counties.  The two-year program is expected to be available through June 2016. 

Based on previous natural disasters in the United States, the National School Safety and Security Services organization says schools must be ready for short-term mental health responses and long-term psychological issues among students.

"The emotional aftermath of a storm like Sandy and the disruption it caused can linger long after physical damage is fixed," said Jennifer Velez, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS), which provides behavioral health programs and services for adults, in partnership with community-based organizations.  "Through our disaster and crisis counseling, as well as our post-Sandy clinical services programs, we know that emotional trauma continues for many survivors.  This grant will allow DCF to work with teachers who see firsthand the emotional toll that Sandy has taken on the children in their classrooms so that recovery and healing can continue."

Increases in child abuse and domestic violence after a natural disaster can lead to increased aggression, acting out behavior, interpersonal conflicts and violence in school among impacted students.

Schools seeking information about the program may contact April G. Scott at

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.

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