Summer 2015
In This Issue 

Dean's Corner
The Bergen's Promise family continues to learn and grow together.  As the number of children and families increases, so do the number of team members. We continually strive to provide a total wellness approach to the care of our families.  We continue to identify new providers that espouse our Wraparound approach to care and effectively collaborate with all of our providers and the community to best support you - our children and families of Bergen County.

Remember...We Want to Hear From YOU!  Please be sure to let us know what topics you are interested in covering in future issues of this newsletter by providing your feedback in the linked form at the end of the page. 

As always, thank you for reading and we value your partnership. 

Dean Pastras, ACSW, LCSW
Executive Director

What's New at Bergen's Promise?
An Interview with Amy FausBHH

What is your role with Behavioral Health Home?

I educate and work with youth who not only have behavioral/mental health issues, but also chronic disease. It's so important to address both behavioral and physical health issues because they are incredibly inter-related.

How are behavioral and physical health issues inter-related?

It's looking at the whole person. For example, I'm working with a youth with asthma and anxiety. Managing her asthma was a huge source of anxiety for her, and her anxiety in turn exacerbated her asthma. We worked together on skills and techniques she could use to manage her asthma triggers. The skills she learned to better manage her asthma have also helped ease her anxiety.

Do you have any other stories that stand out in your mind?

I'm working with another youth who has anxiety which causes sleep issues. She has been sleeping with her parents and it's very disruptive for the whole family. We decided to work on goals to help with that. Right now the goal is to sleep in her own bed for at least two nights per week. We've also been working on good sleep hygiene and a bedtime routine. Small goals equals incremental progress.She has been sleeping better in her own bed and this has been improving the sleep habits of the whole family.

What do you like best about the BHH program?

Seeing the families make progress and the youth becoming more confident is what brings me in the office every day. It's very rewarding. It's inspirational to see how far a family can come by embracing a few small changes. We celebrate success and that's the best part of my job.

Anything else you'd like to add about BHH?

It's preventative medicine. There is so much we can do for families to prevent a health crisis and to increase their awareness about navigating the health system. Overall, it really helps families have a better quality of life.

Positive Story
Integrating Wellness: Kent's Story positivestory 


Kent is an eighteen year old with an intellectual disability, weight issues and a lack of verbal communication.  He tended to struggle with physical therapy and he was resistant to exiting the school bus upon arrival at destinations.  It took months to make an appointment with specialists such as a nutritionist and orthopedist. He had tremendous support through his family, however lacked a structured schedule and therefore filled his days playing Xbox. 


Kent had a well formed Child and Family team (CFT) that saw his challenges as presenting an opportunity for a more holistic approach to care.  The CFT decided the integration of a Health/Wellness Educator would be a valuable addition to the team.  The Health/Wellness Educator discovered he was willing to try different fruits and vegetables. The team members also found value in his passion for Xbox, and the fact that he was a big Michael Jackson fan. 


The Care Manager was able to link Kent and his family with intensive in-home services, respite and a Family Support Partner from the Bergen County Family Support Organization.  The Health/Wellness Educator also worked with Kent and his family to establish some wellness goals.  She helped the family learn some practical strategies for healthy eating like how to compare food labels to make healthier choices at the grocery store. It was also discovered that Kent was having knee pain so his CFT was able to connect him with an orthopedist.  The orthopedist was able to help manage his knee pain. 


With the collaborative approach of his CFT, some of Kent's medical and behavioral issues showed improvement.  He lost over 20 pounds, at an average of one pound per week! Once Kent's knee pain was managed, some of his behavioral issues started to subside, for example, exiting the school bus was no longer an issue.  He also started to stand while playing Xbox games, walk daily, and dance while listening to his music.  His family improved portion sizes and now Kent eats one breakfast each morning instead of two breakfasts. He and his sister have become advocates for healthier eating among the entire family!


We hope that YOU will consider letting us share YOUR positive story sometime in the future! 

For Families By FamiliesFamily
Introducing a new section in our newsletter dedicated to our sister agency, the Family Support Organization of Bergen County (FSOBC) 

There is something powerful about having families support families.  The FSOBC employs staff that has 'been there' to work as Family Support Partners.   FSO Family Support Partners provide one-to-one support, education and advocacy to families enrolled with Bergen's Promise. 

FSOBC Parent Partners work as full partners on your Child and Family Team offering a unique perspective gained from experiences with various systems and providers.  FSOBC Parent Partners share in the development of strategies that may assist your family.  We are here for you!

Here are some comments from families who have had the opportunity to have a Family Support Partner on their team: 

  • My Parent Support Partner is there just for me; and understands what I am going through, where I'm coming from, and my frustrations.
  • With my Partner's support, I learned to do things on my own; advocate for myself.
  • Someone is always there for me when I call.
  • I don't know where I'd be without my Family Support Partner.
  • My Family Support Partner informed me of programs, classes that I don't know about that can help me and my family.
  • My Family Support Partner showed me how to see my situation from a different perspective.
  • My Family Support Partner attended an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting with me and my Care Manager and was absolutely phenomenal!  Her experience working with the school system allowed her to assist and provide significant suggestions on how to enhance my child's academic success.  I never had this type of support before and I am ever so grateful. 

The FSOBC's Fair Lawn office location provides a family friendly environment for families to come together for mutual support, education and sharing at our weekly groups.   FSOBC also provides various educational programs.  Their recent newsletter lists upcoming groups and programs starting in the fall!

If you have a positive testament to share about working with your Family Support Partner, please email it to:

Click here to learn more about the Family Support Organization of Bergen County 


Wellness News You Can UseWellness
Celebrate Social Wellness Month!

laughing-quad-friends.jpg July marks Social Wellness Month, and it's a great time to nurture your relationships. Social wellness is just one of many dimensions of wellness and refers to our ability to relate and connect to people, and to establish and maintain relationships. Studies show that people with strong support systems handle stress better and are healthier emotionally and physically. This summer try one of these small steps to improve your social wellness: 
  • Call or write a friend you haven't talked to in awhile.
  • Visit a friend, family member or neighbor.
  • Join a club or organization that interests you.
  • Volunteer and give back to the community.
  • Accept invitations for social gatherings with family and friends.
  • Start a conversation with one new person this week.
Stay Healthy this Season with Summer Food Safety Tips

The warm weather may be perfect for barbecues and picnics, but can also create graphic-bbq-dad.jpg conditions for bacteria to grow which create food borne illnesses. With these tips from the USDA, keep your barbecues fun, and your family safe.
  1. Cook food thoroughly. Food tends to brown faster on the outside while on a grill. Use a thermometer to make sure all raw meats are cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Raw ground meat should be cooked to at least 160 degrees and poultry to 165 degrees.
  2. Make sure cold foods stay cold. Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. When using a cooler, make sure there is plenty of ice and keep it out of direct sunlight.
  3. Marinate meat in the refrigerator. Do not re-use sauce that was used on raw food. 
  4. Keep plates separate. When taking food off the grill, do not put cooked food on the same plate that held raw food unless the plate has been thoroughly washed.
  5. Store leftovers timely. Leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours.  If the temperature outside is 90 degrees or hotter, the leftovers should be refrigerated within one hour.
  6. Wash your hands. Be sure to wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after preparing food.

Source: USDA

Resource Spotlight

Upcoming Event: 2015 Youth Conference! Limited Seating! Register Early!

New Jersey's Children's System of Care is offering a FREE workshop for youth ages 13- 21. Workshops! Talent Show! And More!

Date: Saturday August 1, 2015
Time: 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Location: Rutgers University- Busch Campus Center
                 604 Bartholomew Rd, Piscataway NJ 08854

Leadership Opportunity for Youth ages 14-22 - Join the NJ Youth Advisory Council! 

Join a group of dedicated young leaders that gather to identify and discuss challenges that impact all youth in care in NJ such as bullying, drug use, etc.  The Advisory Council:

  • Speaks to Department of Children and Family leaders directly, twice each year.
  • Meets 4 times each year
  • Takes trips
  • Receives leadership and professional training

Transportation assistance is available!

For information or to join, contact: Elizabeth Salerno, 908-202-0762


New! Autism Research Study Seeking Participants

Are you interested in helping research for autism spectrum conditions? NeurAbilities is looking for children and adults between the ages of 6 and 30 years old with ASD and associated intellectual disabilities and/or epilepsy to participate in a study. Findings from this research project may discover new biological causes of ASD as well as assist clinicians in developing new treatments. For more details, visit the Clinical Trials page of the Clinical Research Center of New Jersey

What Information/Resources Would You Like To Have Covered In Future Issues?

We seek to tailor our newsletter content and website resources to meet the needs and interests of our families.

CLICK HERE to share your needs and interests with us!

Stay Connected With Us!

Bergen's Promise
218 Route 17 North, Suite 304
Rochelle Park, NJ 07662
Phone: (201) 712-1170 | Email: