In This Edition:
2018 Courage Awards Gala Announcement
Annual Conference for Children Featuring Rachel Simmons
Heroin Addiction Recovery Team - Program Update
Speaker Series - Continuing Education Workshops 
Celebrating Our Community - Stigma-Free & CIT
Advocacy: Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic
Please Join Us at the 2018 Courage Awards Gala 
to Celebrate 40 Years of Leading the Change
This year marks 40 years since Joseph Masciandaro began his journey as President and CEO of Mid-Bergen Mental Health Center in 1978, which evolved into CarePlus in 1999 during the merger with Fair Lawn Mental Health Center. Throughout the years, the many programs and services of CarePlus have addressed various needs in the community for adults, children, and families from every walk of life.
As the organization's largest fundraiser of the year, the Gala celebrates those who tirelessly advocate on behalf of the mental health community. The 2018 Courage Award recipients reflect the organization's annual theme of "Leading the Change".  
This year's honorees include:
  • Joseph Masciandaro for his exemplary leadership and service at CarePlus for the past four decades, setting the standard and raising the bar for excellence and compassion in behavioral healthcare.
  • County Executive of Bergen James J. Tedesco III for his dedication to the community and his commitment to transforming New Bridge Medical Center into a national model for integrated healthcare.
  • Marie-Alice Stout for courageously facing her own addiction, and for using that strength to guide others through the process of recovery.
Proceeds are disseminated for several purposes, including: educational scholarships for those enrolled in CarePlus services, housing and medication assistance, substance abuse services, outpatient treatment and therapy for children and adults, as well as advocacy and community education.
S ponsorship and registration opportunities are available online at For additional information, please contact the Foundation Office at 201-986-5070.   
CarePlus Brings Rachel Simmons to Bergen County to Address Youth Social Issues at Annual Children's Conference

On March 2, 2018, New York Times bestselling author, Rachel Simmons, will be speaking at Bergen Community College for the 2018 CarePlus Foundation's Annual Conference for Children. The presentation, entitled "Enough is Enough: Cultivating Wellness and Respect Online, In Schools and In the Home", will enlighten professionals, parents and community members on  the causes and forms of psychological aggression in person and online, along with strategies to reduce existing levels of aggression and intervene during acute bullying situations

Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. As an educator, Rachel works internationally to empower young women to be more authentic, assertive and self-aware. The conference will debut Simmons's research for her new book Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy, and Fulfilling Lives.

"Social media is changing the landscape of youth wellness, and it's important that adults understand the impact that it is having. We are seeing these issues come up more regularly in our local school districts. We hope that our community members agree that we have picked a topic worthy of considerable attention and that they will support our efforts in bringing this valuable opportunity to Bergen County."

The registration price of $75 includes refreshments and a resource fair that will feature local exhibitors in related fields of interest. Sponsorship and registration is available online:

To pay by Purchase Order, or if you have any questions about continuing education hours, registration, or sponsorship opportunities please contact the Foundation Office at or 201-986-5070.

Heroin Addiction Recovery Team (HART) Program Update 

What is the HART program?

The Paramus HART program was launched in May 2017 through the collaborative planning and efforts of Care Plus NJ, Integrity House and the Paramus Police Department, with support of the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.

This innovative and preventative approach to addressing the opioid epidemic established an open door at local police stations. Individuals and families struggling with addiction can walk in and be connected to an addiction specialist for information, assessment, referral, resources and treatment plans. Follow up services are also offered once an individual is linked to treatment.

The program is designed to maximize the opportunity for an individual to connect with services while they have the intrinsic motivation to seek recovery. An additional benefit is that it counteracts perceived conventions that have existed for years. Not only does it help to address the stigma against addiction, but it can also transform negative views of law enforcement professionals by cultivating a sense hope, compassion and community within the station.

Under a directive from the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, pilot programs were launched in two other Bergen County municipalities: Mahwah and Lyndhurst. Efforts to unify the programs under one umbrella are currently underway.
 Where and when are the HART services available?

Paramus Police Department
Walk-In Wednesdays 9-5

Lyndhurst Police Department
Walk-In Tuesdays 10-6

Municipality of residence does not restrict access to this service; individuals can seek support at any of the identified access points. Individuals from other counties are also encouraged to utilize this service. It is important to note that individuals with warrants for their arrest will have to address those issues before being connected to services for treatment and recovery.

How has it worked?

The Paramus Police Department collaborated with Care Plus NJ to staff an on-site clinician available for walk-ins every Wednesday from 9am-5pm. Since inception, the Paramus HART program has linked 19 individuals to detox and recovery services.

The Lyndhurst Police Department has leveraged their connections within the community, specifically with the Bergen County Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources and Children's Aid and Family Services, to respond to walk-ins every Tuesday from 10am-6pm. Since inception, the Lyndhurst program has linked 10 individuals to detox and recovery services.

The Mahwah Municipal Alliance secured funding to staff a 24/7 service, in which a clinician is on call to respond to individuals who walk-in to receive services. Since inception, the Mahwah program has linked over 20 individuals to detox and recovery services . ** Please note: the 24/7 on-call service offered through the Mahwah Municipal Alliance is a separate initiative that operates independent from the HART programs.
What is the next step?

The Bergen County Prosecutor's Office has set the goal of unifying these services into one HART program. This includes streamlining communications, marketing, and data collection, while also maximizing resources and partnerships within the community.

Under the Support Team for Addiction Recovery (STAR) federal grant awarded to Children's Aid and Family Services, housed in New Bridge Medical Center, two new staff resources will be created: Patient Navigators and Recovery Specialists. The supervision provided to these professionals can help in establishing a unified approach to assessment, treatment, data collection and analysis of those served through the HART program.

This support can allow for Lyndhurst to have a clinician on-site during walk-in hours, which will allow for the same procedure as in Paramus: assess the need, make the most appropriate linkage, and provide follow up for the necessary ongoing recovery services.

It is noteworthy that the Lyndhurst Police Department accomplished their service linkages and follow up without the on-site clinical support. This fervor demonstrated by the Lyndhurst Department is exemplary of the commitment to service that Bergen County Law Enforcement Professionals have made, especially when it comes to addressing mental illness and addiction in our communities.

The Recovery Specialists employed through the STAR program may also be able to play a role as an essential peer-to-peer resource in the follow up, contributing to the sustainability of the HART program and its potential expansion. It is promising that with more funding, this program can be duplicated throughout other municipalities and counties.

In the meantime, the Prosecutor's Office has inspired the vision of having the three municipalities act as geographical resource throughout all of Bergen County, encouraging neighboring Police Departments to establish a collaborative effort.

What does this mean for...

Individuals Seeking Recovery: This program is working to create compassion and develop a better understanding of the nature of addiction. By creating this new point of access, and by establishing an opportunity to decriminalize those who struggle with addiction, those who are seeking recovery can feel more comfortable reaching out for help and can have more success staying engaged through the stable support of a community team.

Families and Friends Seeking Information and Support: While the program was initially launched as an opportunity for those struggling with addiction to turn in their paraphernalia and be linked to treatment services, we have had family members and friends of those who are struggling walk in to talk with the clinicians about how they can help their loved one. This program is meant to address any level of addiction or experimentation, and it is not exclusive to heroin or opioid addiction.

For Bergen County Law Enforcement Professionals: All of the municipalities in Bergen County can benefit from the services being offered in Paramus, Lyndhurst and Mahwah. We are working to create materials such as fliers and posters, as well as referral cards, that Bergen County law enforcement professionals and community members can distribute accordingly.

Please stay tuned for a new logo, branding, website and social media for the Bergen County HART program!

CarePlus Speaker Series : Continuing Education Workshops

Celebrating Our Community & Leading the Change! 
On Tuesday, January 9, Bergen County held it's third annual County-Wide Stigma Free Symposium. The morning was filled with a variety of excellent presentations, including our own Amie Del Sordo and Jaime Arlia presenting on Bergen County Crisis Response for children and adults through our Children's Mobile Crisis Response & Stabilization Services, stationed in the CarePlus Fair Lawn location, and the Psychiatric Emergency Screening Program, housed in New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus.

Jaime Arlia, CarePlus Associate VP of Children and Family Services & Amie Del Sordo, CarePlus VP of Hospital and Community Services. Photo courtesy of Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco Facebook Page.

After the Symposium, the Bergen County CIT steering committee met to celebrate all of the accomplishments this past year...
  • Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal was recognized for all of his support, dedication and active  involvement with Bergen County CIT. The team wished him well in his new role as Attorney General.
  • Our own CEO and President, Joseph Masciandaro, was  recognized for holding space for trainings, and for supporting Bergen County CIT coordinator and CarePlus VP of Hopsital and Community Services, Amie Del Sordo. 
  • Chief Lawrence Suffern of Englewood Police Department was recognized for the departments continued participation and support in Bergen County CIT.
  • Kristine Pendy of New Bridge Medical Center was recognized for supporting Amie's vision and passion to bringing CIT to Bergen County, and for her continued participation in the program with her new role at the hospital.
  • Amie Del Sordo also recognized Sergeant Mike Devine of the Bergen County Sheriffs Department, the Bergen County CIT Law Enforcement Coordinator. The dynamic duo has done an incredible job implementing  CIT in Bergen County. 

Bergen County CIT Training Scheduled for 2018:


February 26 - March 2

CarePlus in Paramus


May 7-11

Bergen County Law & Public Safety Institute in Mahwah


September 24-28

CarePlus in Paramus


December 3-7

Bergen County Law & Public Safety Institute in Mahwah

Thank you all for your dedication to our community!

The Advocacy Continues...
Extend Funding and Expand Program to more states: Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics 
At the end of 2017, we sent some special holiday packages to our local Congressmen in DC - letters of advocacy from over 100 of our staff members, encouraging our Representatives and Senators to support "The Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act" (HR3931 and S1905).

Many thanks to the National Council for Behavioral Health for helping to organize and unite our nation-wide efforts to preserve and improve our community based mental health system.  
We are looking forward to learning more at #NatCon2018!
Excerpt from the letters sent from our staff:
Currently, more than 850 New Jersey residents are enrolled in the CarePlus Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC), all of which are actively monitored by a team of director level management, ensuring the individual's treatment options are maximized. Participating in the Excellence Act demonstration as a CCBHC has given CarePlus an opportunity to remain at the forefront of the industry by redesigning service delivery to New Jersey residents and shifting the focus of treatment to outcome management.
The Excellence Act demonstration gives CarePlus the ability to address population health; reduce wait times for services; increase access to specialized services and evidence-based therapies while monitoring transitions in care from hospitalization to outpatient services.
The Excellence Act demonstration is transforming our ability to serve people in our communities more than fee-for-service could ever support. Unfortunately, without Congressional action, we will be forced to stop in our tracks when the program ends in 2019. The Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act would extend our activities for an additional year and expand the program to include the 11 other states that applied but were not accepted.  

With so much fog in the funding atmosphere, the CCBHC payment model is the only clear opportunity for community-based mental health providers to stay afloat.
We would like to recognize the NJ Representatives that have supported this important bill:
Making a Difference in the Lives of People
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Find out what a difference CPWS can make...
 Click here to contact CPWS or call us at 888-362-8700.
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Enhance Your Wellness with myStrength Online!

CarePlus is excited to announce that our community and supporters have access to the tools and resources available via our partnership with myStrength, Inc.
myStrength offers a range of personalized web and mobile resources to improve mental health and overall well-being. Each user's myStrength experience is unique, based on the individual's wellness assessment and personal profile. The program includes: eLearning to help overcome stress, depression, anxiety, chronic pain and substance use disorders; simple tools and exercises as well as trackers and daily inspirational quotes and videos -- in an online environment that's safe and secure.

myStrength uses proven, evidence-based materials grounded in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Positive Psychology and other empirically validated therapeutic approaches. myStrength is designed to be used independently or in conjunction with other care.  
Moving into the summer months, we are looking to further engage and benefit our whole CarePlus community with the resources available through myStrength. Create your personal account now: Click Here and use access code: CarePlusHealthyMinds 

**CarePlus staff and those receiving service have separate access codes, contact Caitlyn if you have any questions about getting started!
Stay tuned with the News & Events section on our website. 
Obligatory disclaimer ("the gray area"): This newsletter is compiled by humans, and you know how humans are: we make occasional mistakes - not too many, but they do happen. Please do not consider a rush in judgment. We - "the humans" - apologize in advance for any omissions, inaccuracies, misspellings, and flagrant discombobulations. Should you desire to suggest a correction or addition, please email