Dear Editor,

For the past 32 years, Hunterdon Healthcare’s School-Based Youth Services has provided critical mental health counseling, youth development, substance abuse education, and prevention, learning support, healthy youth development, crisis intervention, and information and referral to local community resources for the students at Hunterdon Central Regional High School. 

As of October 1st, Governor Murphy has proposed in his budget to defund the School-Based Youth Services Program under the Department of Children and Families for the fiscal year 2021.    This is an enormous loss to the students at Hunterdon Central and our community. In a time where stress, anxiety, social isolation, and depression are at an all-time high, cutting such a vital program for our youth will be devastating.  School-Based Youth Services is a safety net for these teens and allows them to speak to a therapist at their school in an environment where they feel safe. 

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Hunterdon Central is our largest high school in Hunterdon County. They cannot afford to lose such critical resources at this time as they struggle to deal with COVID-19, and navigate remote and safe-in-classroom learning. 

Hunterdon Healthcare strongly opposes the defunding of School-Based Youth Services.  We are asking Hunterdon County residents for their support.    You can write letters, call or send emails to Governor Murphy  https://nj.gov/governor/contact/all/ and the local Assembly and State leadership  https://nj.gov/governor/contact/all/ asking for them to reinstate funds for School-Based Youth Services.

The students of Hunterdon Central do not deserve to be without this important service.  

Sincerely,

Patrick Gavin
President and CEO
Hunterdon Healthcare