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January 11, 2023 | Issue 61 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

Important News

Schools Requiring "Psychiatric Clearances" for Children to Return to School 

A growing number of New Jersey schools are requiring students to get mental health evaluations in order to return to class after discipline incidents. Parents and advocates report that more schools are requiring these assessments after in person instruction resumed. SPAN has seen a huge uptick of calls from families since in-person learning has resumed.

New Jersey has almost no rules about how "psychiatric clearances" can be used in schools. Questions include:

  • Who does the evaluation?
  • Who pays for it?
  • How long can a student be removed from school?
  • Does tutoring or virtual learning need to be provided?

Some school districts send students to evaluators they use and they pay for it. Others leave families on their own to go to the emergency room and pay for the evaluation.

Requests for psychiatric evaluations is one way to remove students from class. It is referred to as an "informal removal" because it is not recorded in any way by the state or federal government.

New Jersey Senate bill S3027 would require schools to report how often they are requiring psychiatric clearances for students to return to school. It was passed unanimously by the education committee and is awaiting a hearing before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

SPAN is hopeful that the legislation will be strengthened and/or additional legislation will be developed to provide clarity about the questions from above: who pays, what criteria is used, documentation required and provision of instruction during the period of removal.

Read a comprehensive article by Kelly Heyboer about this issue here

Read and follow progress of S3027 here


Centering, an Innovative Group-Based Approach for Prenatal and Pediatric Healthcare

New Jersey has the fourth highest maternal mortality in the US (although it is among the wealthiest states), and among the worst pregnancy, birth, and infant health outcomes in the country. The situation is especially dire among communities of color.

The New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (NJAAP) announced a partnership with the Burke Foundation to launch the New Jersey Centering Alliance to Transform Healthcare to support expansion of Centering, an innovative group-based approach to delivering prenatal and pediatric healthcare, to 50 new sites by 2026.

Centering is one of the most effective interventions to improve maternal and child health and reduce health disparities. Research found that disparities in preterm births among Black mothers relative to white and Hispanic mothers were almost eliminated for Centering participants.

An advisory group will provide strategic advice, ideas and support around this work. Members include: Deepa Srinivasavaradan, Director of Early Childhood Initiatives at SPAN, as well as Lavonia Abavana and Carl Boyd, SPAN Family Leaders. Other members include state officials, community doulas, clinicians and public health professionals.  

ACA Open Enrollment - Ends January 31, 2023

NJ has its own online health insurance Marketplace where NJ residents under age 65 can shop for and apply for a health plan and find out what financial assistance they may be eligible for. ∙


  • Open Enrollment is November 1st 2022 to January 31st 2023
  • Financial assistance is available for those who qualify and 9 in 10 enrollees receive financial assistance. 
  • This year, net premiums will be lower than ever before – Many households will qualify for nearly free premium coverage.
  • New this year - many more families may be eligible even if you have job-based coverage!

There are 3 ways to enroll:  

  1. Online at
  2. By Phone at (888) 654-3893
  3. In Person   

Free Enrollment Assistance is available. New Jersey Citizen Action offers enrollment assistance.

  • Call to speak to an enrollment assister at: (888) 654-3893 
  • Schedule an appointment for Enrollment Assistance by emailing NJ Citizen Action at 

Learn more by registering and attending one of SPAN's ACA Enrollment webinars highlighted below

Upcoming Events

SPAN offers a variety of learning opportunities for families and the professionals who work with them.

Highlighted Event This Week

ACA Open Enrollment Informational Webinars

January 17, 2023 - 6:00 PM


January 18, 2023 - 12:30 PM

In collaboration with New Jersey Citizen Action, SPAN is offering an opportunity to learn more about ACA Open Enrollment for health insurance in New Jersey. Open enrollment ends on January 31, 2023 and assistance is available. Join us to learn more!

Register now by clicking here

See all of SPAN's upcoming events with details and registration links here 

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haga clic aquí para suscribirse

2023 Resolutions

It’s a new year and many people are eagerly making their 2023 plans. New Year’s resolutions are the perfect opportunity for those looking to continue good actions, start new ones, or complete personal goals. Read on in this week's youth blog to learn about the most common Resolutions, and how to best maintain them. 

Click here to read the blog

Share your SPAN testimonial story! CLICK HERE

Join the SPAN Team - View Open Positions here

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