PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS PLEASE PARTICIPATE

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The New Jersey Parents Caucus (NJPC) is conducting an online research study about children’s mental health diagnoses. We hope to better understand the experiences of our children during this difficult time. Your participation involves completing an online questionnaire which will take about 15 minutes to complete. You must be a parent or caregiver and at least 18 years old to participate. The first 20 people to take this survey receive a $15 Dunkin Donuts gift card! Your participation is voluntary, and you may withdraw at any time. If you need additional information, you may call 908-994-7471 or email info@njparentcaucus.org with any questions. Thank you. Here is the link to complete the survey https://www.questionpro.com/t/ARNDTZjCXR

The New Jersey Parents Caucus (NJPC) is conducting an online research study about children’s mental health diagnoses and prescribed medication. We hope to better understand the experiences of our children during this difficult time. Your participation involves completing an online questionnaire which will take about 5 minutes to complete. You must be a parent or caregiver and at least 18 years old to participate. The first 20 people to take this survey receive a $10 Dunkin Donuts gift card! Your participation is voluntary, and you may withdraw at any time. If you need additional information, you may call 908-994-7471 or email info@njparentcaucus.org with any questions. Thank you. Here is the link to complete the survey https://www.questionpro.com/t/ARNDTZjQEI .

Childhood Mental Health – Items of Interest – Fall 2020

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Limited Spots: Social Skills Groups!

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Hi NJ Parents Caucus,

I hope all’s well with you. We have a limited number of spots left in our social skills groups, which are kicking off soon! We have a co-ed group of 5-8-year-olds, and girls and boys groups for 11-14-year-olds. The group addresses a variety of potential concerns, such as how to help children make and maintain friendships, develop self-confidence, engage in active listening, manage angry or negative feelings, deal with bullying, and more. Each group is focuses on both individual and group goals throughout the course of the cycle. You can learn more about the groups here, or contact us for more information!

We are happy to answer any questions you have any help your families soon!

Best,
Jordana Merkin, Operations and Communications Director

FOCUS Children’s Therapy Center, 120 County Road, Suite 101, Tenafly, NJ 07670

201-894-5800 Fax: 201-894-5990

The Parents’ Empowerment Academy : Professional Parent Advocacy Training

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Empowering the Parent & Family Team

NJPC is offering a FREE five-week Professional Parent Advocacy Training program for parents, grandparents, foster parents, adoptive parents, and other caregivers raising children with emotional and behavioral challenges who are involved in the mental health, juvenile justice and/or child welfare system.  Parents and caregivers attending the training are given the opportunity to strengthen their knowledge of the systems that serve their families, their rights and responsibilities within those systems, and the advocacy, professional, and collaborative skills needed to successfully negotiate those systems. Parents and family members will become better able to advocate for themselves and their communities, resulting in increased access to appropriate care and treatment for all children. The Professional Parent Advocacy Training is approved for foster, adoptive and kinship training credit through NJDCF.  Lunch will be served and early registration is recommended. 

Register online by filling out the form below and clicking on the REGISTER button. For additional information, call Pamela at 908-994-7471, 888-548-6572 (NJPC)

Location: Marriott Residence Inn, 3 Gatehall Dive, Parsippany, NJ 07054

Time:        10AM to 3PM

Instructors:

  • Pamela Benjamin, Parent, NJPC Board Member, Director of Operations;
  • Karen Helmstetter, MA, Certified Teacher, Parent, PPAT Graduate;
  • Jose Andres Rosario,  NJPC Youth Legislative Advocate, NJPC Youth Caucus Member;
  • Kathy Wright, MS, Parent, NJPC Executive Director, 2014 NJJN Fellow.
  • Karen Helmstetter, MA, Certified Teacher, Parent, PPAT Graduate;
  • Jose Andres Rosario,  NJPC Youth Legislative Advocate, NJPC Youth Caucus Member;
  • Kathy Wright, MS, Parent, NJPC Executive Director, 2014 NJJN Fellow.

April 18, 2020

  • Introduction to Professional Parent Advocacy
  • Empowering the Parent Voice: Motivation & Assertiveness
  • Conflict Resolution Skills & The Power of Persuasion
  • Empowering vs. Enabling
  • Professionalism & Communication Skills

April 25, 2020

  • Navigating the Special Education System & the IEP Process

May 2, 2020

  • Understanding Childhood Mental Health Challenges & the DSM V

May 9, 2020

  • Navigating the Juvenile Justice System in NJ
  • Understanding the Child Welfare System:  NJ DCP&P
  • Ensuring Cultural Competency & Diversity in the Child-Serving Community
  • Collaborating with Agencies Dedicated to Children & Families

May 16, 2020

  • Introduction to Collaborating with Policymakers in NJ
  • Train the Trainer – Empowering the Parent Trainer
  • TBA
  • Graduation

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to use their newly trained skills to deliver Parent Advocacy Workshops in their local community with the support of NJPC and other certified parents throughout the state.

Two Free Webinars on Autism Services for Youth

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The National Institute of Mental Health is sponsoring two free webinars this week on services for youth with autism. 

Transportation and Mobility Options to Support Postschool Transition for Youth with Autism
Wednesday, December 11, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET
This webinar is intended to help youth with autism who are transitioning out of high school, their caregivers, and human service providers learn strategies to leverage mobility resources and develop connections with transportation providers and services.
Learn more
 
Making Health Care Transition Work for Youth with Autism
Friday, December 13, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET
This webinar will feature a parent and daughter discussing their experiences and perspectives about making the health care transition from pediatric to adult health care.
Learn more

The Effects of NJPC Professional Parenting Advocacy Training on Children’s Mental Health in N.J.

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New Jersey is in the midst of a silent mental health crisis concerning some of its youngest residents. These residents are living in some of the most underserved areas of the state. Requisite services are not available in all the areas and this is exacerbating the mental health issues of these children and youth. While the state of New Jersey has taken steps to rectify the lack of accessible mental health services for children, parents continue to struggle with access and there are still little to no public educational programs in our communities for parents who must navigate these systems.

The Parents Empowerment Academy is the flagship program of the New Jersey Parents Caucus (NJPC). The Academy offers a myriad of free workshops, trainings, and certifications to parents and caregivers on a variety of topics related to improving the quality of life for families raising children with emotional and behavioral challenges. The New Jersey Parents’ Caucus believes that to help underprivileged children with mental health challenges, many parents and caregivers must first learn how to advocate for their children and families.

In addition to the challenges of raising a child with special needs, parents and caregivers must navigate a complex web of child-serving agencies to access appropriate information and services for their children, in order to ensure that they remain safe at home, successful in school, and in their local communities. The Professional Parent Advocacy Program (PPA), under the umbrella of NJPC’s Parents Empowerment Academy, gives parents and caregivers the information and understanding needed to negotiate with government agencies and other system partners, through the development of leadership skills and professional advocacy abilities. A small percentage of parents and caregivers who are trained are referred by child serving organizations, most notably our child welfare and criminal justice systems. However, the majority of parents and caregivers that register for the training are through self-referral, past trainees and outreach.

The PPA training comprises 15 modules including:

  • Professional Parent Advocacy
  • Professionalism and Communication Skills
  • Empowering vs. Enabling
  • Conflict Resolution Skills & the Power of Persuasion
  • Understanding Childhood Mental Health Challenges and the DSM 5
  • How Knowledge of the Brain Influences Adult/Child Interaction
  • Navigating the Special Education System and the IEP Process
  • Developing a Transitional Plan • Zero Tolerance & IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • NCLB – No Child Left Behind
  • Understanding the Juvenile Justice System in New Jersey
  • Infusing Family Involvement in DCP&P – NJs Child Welfare System
  • Cultural Competency and Multiculturalism in the Child-Serving Community
  • Collaborating with NJ Child-serving Organizations
  • Train the Trainer

Supporting Employment for Young Adults Living with Mental Health Conditions

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This tip sheet from the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research has information on how to cultivate motivation toward employment goals, ways to promote work experiences, tips on helping young adults with mental health conditions get a job, and more.

Suicide Ideation and Completion Among High School-Aged Youth

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This blog from Child Trends provides a summary of suicide data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. These data show that, overall, the percentage of high school students who report seriously considering suicide has increased since 2009.

Bullying and Trauma Facts

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This infographic from the National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network provides facts about the relationship between bullying and trauma, as well as how being bullied can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Join “Stop It Now! ” for Circles of Safety Training

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Join Stop It Now! on December 5 in New Britain, CT for a live full-day Circles of Safety training opportunity, with an optional second day of a Train the Trainer session to support programs and institutions addressing children and youth’s sexual safety. Circles of Safety is primary sexual abuse prevention training introduces key sexual abuse prevention concepts and skills. It prepares staff and professional caregivers to confidently and knowledgably speak up and take actions to address children’s sexual safety – before they are sexually harmed or harm others. Through lecture, reflection exercises and group activities, participants will learn how to support children’s healthy and safe sexual development; identify and respond to warning signs in children and adult’s behaviors; and design safety plans to address safe boundaries, privacy, consent and respect. The optional Train the Trainer program offers community and youth-serving organizations the training and tools they need to train their own staff and professional caregivers. CEUs available. For more detailed information and to register, visit www.stopitnow.org/dec18.

World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10.

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 It’s a time to remember those affected by suicide, to raise awareness, and to focus efforts on directing treatment to those who need it most.  Thank you for all your efforts in preventing suicide.  Although New Jersey is the lowest ranking state when it comes to deaths by suicide, we agree that one life lost,  is one too many.   Suicide is a public  health issue  and we need to work together to connect those who may be struggling. 

Read more HERE

Video on School Responder Model

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From: The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice

The School Responder Model is a strategy for meeting behavioral health needs to keep kids in school and an alternative to exclusionary discipline policies. This animated video was prepared by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice with support from the University of Maryland, Baltimore as core partners of the National Technical Assistance Network for Children’s Behavioral Health under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Our schools are in a mental health crisis.

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They also provide a remarkable opportunity for transforming the lives of millions of children struggling with mental health and learning disorders, if we are willing to make a commitment to them and to creating meaningful change in our schools. The 2016 Child Mind Institute Children’s Mental Health Report explores the magnitude of the mental health problem in schools and potential solutions

Christie Administration’s Effective Reform Of New Jersey’s Child Welfare System Results In Historic Agreement

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Christie Administration’s Effective Reform Of New Jersey’s Child Welfare System Results In Historic Agreement To Transition From Federal Oversight

Exit Plan Provides For Responsible, Attainable End Of Federal Oversight Building On Record Of Improving Services, Care and Positive Child Outcomes.

Read the press release HERE

Speak Up For Kids 2015

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Creating change in children’s mental health requires that many people and organizations work together for a common cause – helping the millions of children facing mental health and learning challenges get the care and support they need and deserve. The Child Mind Institute is part of a diverse community of organizations, advocates, and activists dedicated to transforming children’s lives and to creating change in children’s mental health.

We invite you to learn more about us and to get involved by sharing accurate information, starting a conversation and helping create a better world for our children.

The Change Maker Awards are made possible through the generous sponsorship of our national partner, Hunter.

Vice President Biden Announces $100 Million to Increase Access to Mental Health Services

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As part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to help individuals experiencing mental health problems, today Vice President Biden announced that $100 million will soon be available to increase access to mental health services and improve mental health facilities. “The fact that less than half of children and adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need is unacceptable. The President and I have made it a priority to do everything we can to make it easier to access mental health services, and today’s announcements by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture build on that commitment,” said Vice President Biden. Over the past several years, the Administration has taken steps to reduce the stigma associated with seeking help for mental illness, and to ensure that millions of Americans have access to health insurance that covers mental health and substance abuse disorder services at parity with medical and surgical benefits. Also, the President has proposed an additional $130 million in his FY 2014 Budget for efforts such as helping to ensure teachers and other adults who work with youth can recognize signs of mental illness and connect children and their families to the treatment they need.

Walk to “change the face of addiction,”

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FRANKLIN – Sometimes, through tragedy, opportunity presents itself. That is exactly the case for a pair of Sussex County mothers who after losing their sons came together to plan a walk to “change the face of addiction,” with each having a different definition of what that means.

“I was thinking it meant for people to understand addiction. To understand it’s a disease. And I thought maybe if I stepped forward more people would be able to face addiction head on and say, “I”m an addict. I have a child who is an addict and move forward” said Elaine Tizzano, of Franklin, whose son George died last year at the age of 27.

Read More from the New Jersey Herald

Growing Up With Addiction and/or Mental Health Disorders: Prevention by Targeting Troubled Families

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Prevention by Targeting Troubled Families is the newest video from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Road to Recovery Television Series, delving into the relationship of addiction and trauma, acknowledging the long-term impacts on children and families. This episode features strategies for identifying and working with troubled families to break the cycle of addiction. Watch the trailer for the show below and download the complete program:

 

ADHD Diagnoses Increased More Than 50% in a Decade

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Posted courtesy of Federation of Families of South Carolina:

In 2011, eleven percent of school-age children had been diagnosed with ADHD. That’s sixteen percent more than in 2007 and 53 percent more than a decade ago, according to a New York Times analysis of new data from the Center for Disease Control.

This comes out to a grand total 6.4 million children in the US, up to 4 million of whom have prescriptions for Adderall, Ritalin, or other medication, a class of drugs that brings in an estimated $9 billion in sales annually. The Times found that boys, particularly teenage boys ages 14-17, have the highest rates of diagnosis, though no one knows why:


The New York Times

The director of the CDC told the New York Times that “The right medications for A.D.H.D., given to the right people, can make a huge difference. Unfortunately, misuse appears to be growing at an alarming rate.” The CDC estimates that we spend $31.6 billion annually in health care and work absence costs for children and adults with ADHD and their families.

Clearly, more and more kids are being diagnosed with ADHD. What the new study doesn’t tell us is whether more and more kids actually have it. Another recent CDC study, that both surveyed parents and screened children, suggested doctors are over-diagnosing ADHD in some kids while overlooking the condition in others. The survey, which focused on South Carolina and Oklahoma, found that of children taking ADHD medication, only 40 percent in South Carolina and 28 percent in Oklahoma actually met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD.

In other words, the current system for diagnosing kids with ADHD is probably not working very well. Meanwhile, as another recent story in the Times demonstrated, concerns over the potential side effects of ADHD medications – which can include addiction and anxiety – are mounting.

Sesame Street’s – “Little Children, Big Challenges,”

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New resource that is intended to help parents and educators to build resilience in young children. This initiative provides “free resources designed to help children navigate everyday challenges such as separating for the day, sharing, and overcoming mistakes.” The website features links to material including guides for families, lessons for educators and activities for children.

Click HERE for the website which has a wealth of information and links.

Mental Illness Risk Higher for Children of Older Fathers, Study Finds

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Children born to middle-aged men are more likely than those born to younger fathers to develop any of a range of mental difficulties, including attention deficits, bipolar disorder, autism and schizophrenia, according to the most comprehensive study to date of paternal age and offspring mental health.

In recent years, scientists have debated based on mixed evidence whether a father’s age is linked to his child’s vulnerability to individual disorders like autism and schizophrenia. Some studies have found strong associations,while others have found weak associations or none at all.

Read New York Times article HERE