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DCF Commissioner Blake Visits FamilyCONNECTIONS and Meets with Staff Helping Parents Overcome Addiction


For Immediate Release Contact:  Ernest Landante, Jr.
December 9, 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 two substance use disorder programs.

Orange-based Family Connections operates the Strong Mothers and Strong Fathers programs, which provide specialized treatment for parents with dependent children.  The programs focus on family-centered psychosocial addiction treatment for mothers and fathers.

In addition to individual and group counseling, mothers and fathers receive therapeutic and educational services to help them build a life of recovery for themselves and their families.  Childcare is also provided.

"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 and fathers 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."

FAMILYConnections provides professional counseling, skills building, and prevention services to more than 4,000 children, adults, and families each year in Essex and surrounding counties.  The program delivers many programs direct in preschools, schools, community centers, and in the home.

"Many women with addiction have a combination of physical and sexual abuse and other trauma in their past," said Paula Sabreen, FAMILYConnections' executive director.  "To succeed, these women need to address not only their substance abuse but their underlying trauma and mental health issues.  Using trauma-informed techniques with group counseling, yoga, peer support, and parenting skills training, we help struggling mothers become strong mothers.  And that means strong families in which children can grow and thrive."

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.

Commissioner Blake recently visited Somerville-based Somerset Treatment Services, which combines medication-assisted opioid dependence treatment, psychosocial treatment, and childcare and transportation assistance for mothers recovering from addiction.

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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