Spring 2015
In This Issue 

Thank you for reading our newly created quarterly e-newsletter, "PROMISE-ING TIMES: The Newsletter of Bergen's Promise." We hope that this will help you better understand what we do - providing a Wraparound Model of Care through our Child and Family Teams to best support our children and families.  We plan to highlight some of our positive stories in each issue. You will also learn about new team members and provider partners.

Review our program and events calendar and submit your programs/events for cross promotion!

We are pleased to launch our e-newsletter, and are very excited about adding a special newsletter for our children and families as well.  As always, we look forward to your continued collaboration and feedback so we can maintain Healthy Families, Safe at Home!

Thank you for reading,

Dean Pastras, ACSW, LCSW
Executive Director

Dean's Corner Deans

Bergen's Promise started strong in 2015! We continue to grow and our number of children and families we are serving is increasing every day. We have almost three times the number of staff we had two-and-a-half years ago, and are helping three times the number of families.

Last year we were the recipient of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association's (NJBIA) Award for Excellence. We were selected as the pilot program to introduce a Behavioral Health Home component to the agency. We have been pre-certified, and have already started serving children by providing a Nurse and Wellness Educators in the homes of several of our children that we are working with.

Bergen's Promise is evolving and we are now highly focused on a total wellness approach both internally and externally. We are confident this will make a tremendous difference in our perspective and in turn greatly affect outcomes with our families.

As always we are grateful to your support as our community and provider partners.  We are also grateful to our families. We look forward to continuing to learn and grow together. Most importantly, we are always striving to improve the way we collaborate to support our children and families of Bergen County.

  What's New at Bergen's Promise?

Level of Service

Currently serving 903  youth as of 5/12/2015.
Bergen's Promise Introduces Behavioral Health Home Healthhome
Thanks to the innovative leadership of New Jersey's Children's System of Care and the Department of Children and Families, Bergen's Promise was the first designated care management organization to include medical expertise and health/wellness education. 

What is a Behavioral Health Home (BHH)?
  • It provides fully integrated and coordinated care and health/wellness activities for children who have designated chronic conditions.
  • Care coordination is embedded in the Wraparound Model of Care to facilitate access to a full range of treatment and support services for children and families.
  • BHH team members work within the Child and Family Team to develop individualized plans of care, building on current services to provide a holistic approach to care.
  • This process provides direct face-to-face care coordination and Wraparound Care planning for children and families with complex needs.
What are the overall goals of the Behavioral Health Home?
  • Improve health outcomes.
  • Promote better functional outcomes (such as improved school attendance).
  • Further enhance family functioning through the development of skills and abilities to actively manage the child's chronic medical and psychiatric conditions.
  • Decrease overall costs (including the costs associated with the use of acute medical and psychiatric services).
Does it work?

In the words of a parent whose son was enrolled into BHH due to an obesity diagnosis:
"Since working with BHH my son has lost a lot of weight. The Wellness Educator has great ideas and it makes me feel empowered because I have learned many tools to help me manage his weight through diet and exercise. I can't believe he's losing weight. I love working with BHH!"

How do I determine if a child may be eligible for BHH services?


Eligible youth must be a Bergen's Promise family and have a behavioral health challenge and a chronic medical condition.  These conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Eating Disorders
  • Obesity
  • Sickle Cell
  • Kidney Disease
  • Seizure Disorders
  • Cystic Fibrosis

 To access Bergen's Promise services, have the family call Perform Care

at 1-877-652-7624; they are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Working Together to Support Families Post-Sandy postsandy

Bergen's Promise is pleased to partner with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) New Jersey Chapter for the Pediatric Partnership Initiative (PPI). This newly formed initiative is comprised of several learning opportunities for pediatric and family practice providers who serve children and families in communities that were hardest hit by Super Storm Sandy.

The Social Services Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (SSBG-DR), the Department for Children and Families (DCF), and the AAP New Jersey Chapter have partnered to support pediatricians, family physicians and other health care providers as they care for children and families recovering from the impact of Super Storm Sandy.

PPI offers participants, at no cost to them, information on how to manage post-Sandy stress, recognize and assist with children and families in distress and access community resources. 

Bergen's Promise hosted two learning collaborative sessions at Bergen County Community College for pediatricians and other health care providers. The first session held last winter featured speaker Lisa Nalven, MD, MA, FAAP who presented on children's adjustment reaction to toxic stress and ways to help build resilience. The second session, held in the spring, featured Manuel Jimenez, MD, MS presenting on motivational interviewing, a technique for counseling patients. Sharon Barron-Seabrook, MD, FAACP, also presented on coding and documentation for mental health issues for pediatric offices.  

Positive Story
Overcoming Anxiety: Maria's Story positivestory

Today, Maria walks down the hall of the social services building at the local community college, greeting people she passes with an air of confidence. Quite a difference from the girl, who one-and-a-half years ago, was unable to regularly attend high school because of debilitating anxiety.

Maria, her mother, and two younger brothers had been living in a New York City shelter for nine months before moving to New Jersey. A few weeks after moving, Maria began her first year of high school like any freshman, eager to learn and find her niche. However, pre-teen anxiety and social phobia began to resurface and she missed 40 days of school.

Maria's concerned mother called for help and was connected with Bergen's Promise. The Bergen's Promise Care Manager began meeting with Maria and developed a Child and Family Team to provide informal and formal supports to help her meet her goals to manage her anxiety.

Maria returned to high school as a sophomore the following fall, confident in her strengths and abilities to use exercise and reading to manage her anxiety. She completed the GED program and entered college. Maria continues to receive therapeutic support from her in-home therapist, as well as care management services through Bergen's Promise.

She is now looking forward to her college graduation - just a few years from now.

Who's New?
New Members of the Bergen's Promise Team:

Ramona Batista, BA  
Care Manage 
Janet Tessaro, RN, MA, BSN 
Health Home Nurse Volunteer
Donnisha Green, BS  
Care Manager
Kathryn Werheim, MA, MPA 
Community Resources Director

Patricia McAleavy, LCSW, BCD

Care Manager Supervisor 
Nicole Wondergem, MSW, LSW 
Care Manager
Diana Quiles  
Administrative Assistant 
Jenna Vance, MA  
Care Manager

We Are Hiring! 
Join Our Dynamic Team to Wraparound our Families!  
CLICK HERE to see our current career opportunities!

Welcome to Our Newest Providers

Thank you for partnering with us to serve the children and families of Bergen County! Click on the links below to learn more about their services.

Stay Connected With Us!


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