Volume 18| Spring 2022
Tri County Community Connections
Youth Success Story
Mia was referred to TCCMO because she was having challenges at home and with virtual learning. Mia had struggled with controlling her anger, anxiety and using coping skills to regulate her emotions. Mia and her family were feeling overwhelmed and desperate for help. With the support of Mia’s Care Manager, Emily; Mia was linked with both individual and family counseling. Emily also assisted with referring Mia to her school district’s Child Study Team to request an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). As many of us know, mental health needs can be life-long. The goal of CMO is to help families develop the tools and resources to manage these challenges independently. With these supports, Mia was able to become more successful at school, improve familial relationships and learn how to utilize coping skills to manage her own mental health needs. Mia also became more involved in her community by joining Jiu-Jitsu, which is a form of Brazilian martial arts. Mia was very successful in Jiu-Jitsu and even won a tournament last year! Mia’s family and Emily are all so proud of the progress that she has made and her accomplishments over the past year. Mia successfully graduated from TCCMO in August 2021 and continues to do well at home, in school and the community. TCCMO wishes Mia and her family the best as they continue to stride forward. 
From the Desk of…
James Parauda, CEO

Recognition for Service
Tri County CMO wants to take time to acknowledge the commitment that Senator Christopher "Kip" Bateman has made to the community. Born in Somerville and then serving Somerset County for more than 38 years, Kip has represented the best in service to Somerset County. He served as a mayor of Branchburg, then moved to Freeholder, Assemblyman and Senator in addition to other positions in Somerset County since 1983. This is the very same community he was raised in and that his father represented in public service before him. We were honored to interview him for a Q&A this January, soon after he left his Senate seat.

On behalf of Tri County CMO, I want to thank you, Senator Bateman, for all your years of service to this community. You have touched the lives of so many people throughout Somerset County and the state of New Jersey.
James Parauda, LSW
Chief Executive Officer
Care Manager Shout OUT!
Last month the Somerset County Department of Human Services celebrated the 2022 Social Work Month with the theme “The Time is Right for Social Work,” which underscored the contributions social workers have made to this nation for more than a century and how the services they provide are needed more than ever as our nation addresses economic inequality, systemic racism, the need for improved health and mental health care, COVID-19 and other issues. Through the Social Work Month Recognition Contest, they asked the community to consider nominating social workers who continuously impact our communities through their work.  TCCMO's Program Manager Stephanie Suriani, with confirmation from Care Manager Supervisor Lindsay Nally, submitted Heather as a leader who exemplifies hard work, advocacy, and compassion. Somerset County created a proclamation to thank her and the other honorees for their commitment and all that they do!
Heather works with youth with significant drug use and high-risk behaviors such as fire-setting and sexual acting out. Despite others who have given up on these youth, Heather truly embodies the wraparound values of "unconditional care" and being "strengths-based". She incorporates the youths' voices into her treatment plans and will come back to the table with compassion and no judgment to develop a new plan, sometimes multiple times if needed. 
Pride in Partnership
           Philip D. Murphy, Governor of the Great State of New Jersey has proclaimed
April 2022 as CASA Child Advocate Month.
Congratulations, CASA volunteers, on receiving well-deserved recognition for your important work on behalf of New Jersey's most vulnerable children.
 
 
CASA recognizes child abuse prevention month and celebrates the strides we are taking with our community partners to educate, discuss and implement solutions for positive impact for future generations.
 
CASA SHaW provides well-trained, trauma-informed volunteers to serve as advocates in court for children living in foster care. Our goal is to ensure that every child served has a safe, permanent home and the resources and services needed to thrive and not just survive adverse childhood experiences. We are committed to educating ourselves and the community about the causes and impacts of child abuse and neglect, the need for racial equity in a disproportionate system, and how to best advocate for and meet the needs of children in foster care in Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties.
 
Several years ago, we at CASA SHaW realized the importance of trauma informing our staff, advocates, and board about the impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on children. We’ve been actively engaged in this initiative and expanding this knowledge to our communities in efforts to prevent the perpetuation of ACE’s.
The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study findings represent a paradigm shift in human understanding of the origins of physical, social, mental, and societal health and well-being. We now know that leading causes of disease and disability, learning and productivity problems, and early death have their roots in the cumulative neurodevelopmental impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). 
Addressing intergenerational and historical trauma is going to take a lot of creative solutions and approaches. It takes a collaborative approach involving all the community organizations to start making a significant impact towards building a self-healing community. To make this possible, we need to build a common language and understanding about ACEs and the related research as a starting point. We provide these trainings within the community at no cost. Please invite us to present to your group.
 
Our goal is to build resilient and self-healing communities. We can do this together by teaching and facilitating positive views, self-regulation, and self-efficacy. Working together on caring and competent relationships which focus on strength-based approaches. Together, we can foster thriving communities which encourage empowerment, spirituality, and culture.
 
In celebration
CASA has teamed up with the Somerset Patriots for a GO Blue for CASA Event.
YOU can support our GO BLUE for CASA awareness events. 
¨    Join us on May 5th email for more details
¨    Host a virtual fund raiser on your social media with the goal of raising $1390
¨    Place our Go Blue frame on your social media profile during the month of April
¨    Use a Go Blue for CASA virtual background during the month of April during your virtual meetings
¨    Coins for CASA Involve your local school by having classrooms collect coins. Reward the class that raises the most money with a pizza party.
¨    Follow us on social media
¨    Sign up for our newsletter
To learn more email: ellen@casashaw.org or visit our website www.casashaw.org
Written by Ellen Davis, Director of Development for CASA of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren.
Upcoming Family Success Center Events
TCCMO's Growing Greatness
Developing Resiliency with Engaging Approaches to Maximize Success
An Update on Progress

Throughout the 2021-2022 school year, the Tri County CMO (TCCMO) and Family Support Organization (FSO) Nurtured Heart Approach DREAMS mentors have been working closely with the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District, Warren Hills Middle School and Warren Hills Regional High School on implementing the approach into the lives of their staff and students. The Nurtured Heart Approach has been widely infused throughout the Children’s System of Care and now, through the DREAMS initiative, schools across the state will also be utilizing the approach. Since September, the DREAMS mentors have been meeting twice a month with staff members, including guidance counselors, teachers, school psychologists and administration. Through this initiative, each district was able to send two to three staff members to the weeklong Certification Training Intensive (CTI) with the founder of the approach, Howard Glasser, where they were able to become Certified Nurtured Heart Approach Trainers. Since the beginning of the initiative in September, both school districts have been planting the seeds of Nurtured Heart with their staff. North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District has been working with the art teachers to identify students that will assist with creating a “My Why Tree” in the counseling offices and they have “3-Stands” cards to attach to their IDs as a reminder to utilize the approach throughout the day. The Warren Hills School District has been brainstorming ways to adapt the approach to meet their needs of not only students, but of their staff. Both districts are in the planning stages of creating greatness walls and reset rooms to ensure that their staff feel valued and seen. The DREAMs mentors are looking forward to continued work and collaboration with both school districts!
9-8-8
You might remember having read a previous article on TCCMO’s Advocacy Committee. If you don’t, you might be wondering what a social service agency that focuses on behavioral health has to do with legislation. As we say in social work, though, policy informs practice. We feel it is crucial to be vigilant about pending legislation that might impact the quality of services we provide to youth and families and advocating accordingly. We often post on our agency’s social media or email our families and provider network to join us in this work. One such effort that is coming to fruition is the creation of 9-8-8, a federally designated hotline for mental health emergencies and suicide prevention.
 
The NJ Assembly Health Committee advanced bill A2036 to support the state’s rollout of the nationwide 9-8-8 Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline. The bill passed on March 7th, and would establish a core statewide behavioral health crisis system, including call centers, mobile crisis response teams, and stabilization services. It would provide an appropriate emergency response for mental health crises with licensed mental health professionals and certified peers versed in the linguistic and cultural norms of their communities.
 
Bill A2036 will establish a “9-8-8 System and Response Trust Fund Account” and would require DHS to establish a monthly statewide 988 telephone bill to support the costs of maintaining 24/7 call centers (consumers already pay for local 911 services). While A2036 and S311 have passed the Assembly and Senate Health Committees, they will need to clear the finance committees in their respective houses to receive a full vote. We will keep our community posted via Advocacy Alerts!
-Source NAMI press release
Celebrating Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

             This year Tri County CMO and the Family Support Organization would like to invite you to join us in celebrating Children's Mental Health Awareness Day on May 5th . The event will be held at Dreamweaver Equine in Ringoes, NJ. The program will include presentations from Susan Gibbs, MS, LPC and Deb McKernan-Ace, MOT/OTR, COTA. The evening will include food, door prizes, guest speakers and an optional tour of the Dreamweaver Equine facility. The event will also honor Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli for his work in mental health on the Assembly. Please see the below flyer and click on the registration link for more information on the event and our guest speakers. Please register no later than **April 25th**.
For Your Information...
April
April is National Alcohol Awareness Month
What is alcohol awareness month?
Alcohol Awareness Month is a health awareness campaign that was formerly sponsored by the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). It took place every April and was established in 1987 with the aim of raising awareness for communities and to help understand the causes and treatment available for one of the nation's biggest health issues. The campaign also aimed to reduce the social stigma associated with alcoholism and to educate people on how the disease can be addressed; offering help and advice for families as well as direct engagement with those afflicted with alcohol addiction. 
Why is alcohol awareness month important?
Alcohol addiction and abuse is not only a considerable burden on government spending, it also claims thousands of lives across the country each year. Some notable statistics on alcohol addiction include [1]:
  • More than 65 million Americans report binge drinking or heavy drinking in a one-month period, which is more than 40% of those who drink alcohol
  • In 2018, there were 10,511 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, totaling 29% of all traffic fatalities for the year 
  • Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year, more than all illegal drugs combined.
  • By making people more aware of the situation and the viable solutions, alcohol awareness month aimed to reduce the pain and suffering alcohol abuse causes to people's lives.
Who participates in alcohol awareness month?
Anyone who is interested in raising awareness about the risks of alcohol abuse were invited to take part. Organizations such as schools, healthcare facilities, general practitioners, community coalitions, faith-based organizations, law enforcement, and substance abuse treatment organizations were encouraged to create initiatives that would help educate communities about alcohol addiction and invite them to take part in campaigns and activities that would be inclusive to all.
SOURCES: The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
May
National Dental Care Month
During the month of May, National Dental Care Month takes time to remind us of the importance of caring for our pearly whites. Thaddeus P.Hyatt promoted preventative dental care in the early 1900s.
Remember to brush twice a day, floss, keep the sugary snacks to a minimum and see your dentist twice a year.
A healthy smile requires continued healthy habits. Maintaining those habits reduce not only the risks of cavities and infection but the costs associated with long-term dental repairs.
Review your dental care habits. Remember, dentistry isn’t expensive, neglect is. Check in with your dentist to ensure you are maintaining a healthy smile. Make the recommended adjustments to your routine or keep up with the healthy ones you already have! Use #NationalDentalCareMonth to share on social media.

Visit your local dentist TODAY!!

June
National PTSD Awareness Month
There are currently about 8 million people in the United States with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD don't get the help they need. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Help us spread the word that effective PTSD treatments are available. Everyone with PTSD—whether they are veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life.
Take the pledge today to spread awareness.

Resources and Upcoming Events
Our Board Members
Leslie Brusser – Board Chair
Daniel Kerr- Vice Chair
Don Atkinson-Treasurer
Erin Karl – Secretary
Dana Goodman
Lynne Eaton
Lesly Schwarzman
Melissa Fowler
Pam Jacobs
Dave Yazujian



How to Get Referred to Tri County CMO
PerformCare can help a parent or guardian connect their child to Children’s System of Care services. PerformCare staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide assessment and guidance to families facing challenges to their functioning and well-being.

PerformCare / Contracted Systems Administrator (CSA)

1-877-652-7624


Branchburg Office
3040 Route 22 West, Suite 210
Branchburg, NJ 08876
Phone: (908) 526-3900
Washington Office
315 West Washington Avenue, Suite 1
Washington, NJ 07882
Phone: (908) 526-3900
Tri County Care Management Organization | info@tricountyresourcenet.org | tricountyresourcenet.org