Student Support Initiative Addressing Mental Health Launches

Last spring, Children’s Aid and Family Services was one of 15 statewide service providers chosen to take part in the NJ Statewide Student Support Services (NJ4S) integrated network, joining forces with four mental health agencies. The program addresses the mental health needs of students within schools and communities.

The program creates a system of support for children in every school district in Bergen County, providing equal access to prevention services. Kicking off last fall, over 50% of school districts in the county have already signed up for programs, including 19 of 21 high-needs schools, a major target of NJ4S’s focus. “These numbers are notable, especially because Bergen County has the most school districts in the state,” says Stephanie Drag, Associate Vice President, Prevention.

“When each school requests a service we meet with them individually to discuss options,” says Stephanie. “The number one request so far has been services around mental health and well-being, second is addressing absenteeism, and the third is dealing with disruptive classroom behaviors.

“At the beginning of the school year applications trickled in because this was a new program and spreading awareness to schools and getting them on board was our challenge,” says Stephanie. “But now that they have become comfortable with the system and understand what we have to offer, we’re seeing a lot of requests.” Visit for more information.

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