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DCF Commissioner Blake Visits Somerset Treatment Services and Offers Encouragement to Mothers Working to Overcome Addiction

For Immediate Release Contact:  Ernest Landante, Jr
December 3, 2014 609-292-0422

TRENTON - New Jersey Department of Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake continued Governor Christie's "Season of Service" initiative by visiting women enrolled in Pathways to Parenting, a substance use disorder treatment program.

Somerville-based Somerset Treatment Services runs the innovative program that combines medication-assisted opioid dependence treatment, psychosocial treatment, and childcare and transportation assistance for mothers recovering from addiction. It is one of several programs DCF supports that provide substance use disorder services for women with an open child welfare case.

"This disease cruelly tears households apart, emotionally and physically separating parents from their family and leaving innocent children confused and traumatized," said Commissioner Blake. "By helping mothers struggling with addiction get the treatment they need, we're strengthening families, equipping them with the skills to flourish and succeed, and helping children lead happy and rewarding lives."

Commissioner Blake met with and offered encouragement to women receiving treatment from the program.

Somerset Treatment Services offers outpatient services for substance abuse and HIV-related illnesses.  It was established in 1970 by the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Medical Society of Somerset Medical Center.

"We started Pathways to Parenting eight years ago and since then we've seen a real improvement in outcomes for our high-risk mothers," said Barbara Schlichting, Somerset Treatment Services' executive director.  "The program works because it removes barriers to treatment, provides enhanced, trauma-informed care, and focuses on parenting skills, which together helps to reduce parental stress and improves family bonding."

Governor Christie recently moved to change the way New Jersey deals with issues of drug abuse and addiction, announcing more than $12 million in funding to support specialized addiction treatment and prevention efforts throughout the state. These funds will support programs that build on the Governor's commitment to provide New Jerseyans the tools they need to overcome the disease of drug addiction and reclaim their lives.

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 helps to secure the safety, well-being, and success of New Jersey's children and families. DCF directly provides services and support to over 100,000 women, children, and families each month.

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