FAMILYConnections has announced the closing of its StartStrong Therapeutic Nursery as of July 1. State funding is not being renewed and the agency is not able to support the program without this funding. StartStrong operates 5 days a week, serving children 2 ½ to 8 years old who have challenging behaviors or difficulty managing their emotions.
“The Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Children’s System of Care (CSOC) has concluded that the therapeutic nursery model (StartStrong) is not a model that can be replicated and funded in each county given fiscal constraints at the State level,” says FAMILYConnections Executive Director Jacques Hryshko. “CSOC intends to implement a less expensive statewide network of care which they believe will meet the needs of NJ children and families while saving money. Everyone we have spoken with at DCF has recognized StartStrong as a quality program and emphasized that defunding is not due to dissatisfaction with service delivery but a need to implement a less costly program”.
“We are very saddened to share this news as StartStong has provided exceptional services to young children and their parents since 2010. Our staff is now working with each impacted parent and child on a discharge plan in support of the referral process to other services,” says Hryshko. “At the same time, it’s important to note that our partnership with DCF remains strong and all other contracts for the July 1 fiscal year have been renewed. FAMILYConnections has been serving the community for 137 years and we will continue to do so with the help of our community partners, funders and donors.”
FAMILYConnections is a growing family of 35 specialized programs delivering professional counseling, skills-building, training and prevention services to over 4000 children, adults and families in 7 NJ Counties including Essex, Hudson, Morris and Passaic.
To learn more please visit www.familyconnectionsnj.org or call (973) 675-3817.