Care Plus NJ Inc. was awarded a five-year, $500,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to establish an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health program serving Bergen, Hudson and Passaic counties.
CarePlus NJ’s program will fill gaps in direct behavioral health services by addressing the need for greater training within North Jersey. The program will address the lack of early identification and appropriate intervention of mental health disorders for infants and children under 12 years old who are at risk of, showing early signs of or having been diagnosed with a mental illness, including a serious emotional disturbance, as well as children with a history of in-utero exposure to substances that may impact development.
Through the grant, CarePlus NJ will provide infant and early childhood mental health training to at least 100 child and family-serving professionals to promote community education and prevention. 50 trainings and consultations will also be supplied to other disciplines and organizations, such as schools and care providers engaged with the target population. And 50 specialized training and consultations will be given over the lifetime of the grant period to mental health clinicians providing treatment in infant and child and early childhood mental health. The goal is to train 700 individuals in the course of the grant.
“Many people don’t consider young children when they think about those dealing with mental health issues. But CDC data shows that children as young as age 2 are experiencing mental health challenges, with 17.4% of children 2 through 8 being diagnosed with mental health disorders,” CarePlus NJ Program Director Olga Vasquez said.