News

Middlesex County Hosts Children’s Behavioral Health Event

Supporting youth and families in their homes, schools, and communities

Post Date:05/30/2024

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ – As part of an ongoing County-wide behavioral health improvement initiative, the Middlesex County Department of Community Services, Office of Human Services, in collaboration with the Center for Health Care Strategies and the Middlesex County Superintendent’s Office, hosted a Children’s Behavioral Health event on Wednesday, May 29 at the Professional Conference Center at the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey. The event provided a platform for key stakeholders to address behavioral health challenges and the concerns of families, schools, and other stakeholders.

Speakers included Middlesex County Superintendent of Schools Kyle Anderson; Ruby Goyal-Carkeek, director of behavioral health and child welfare at the Center for Health Care Strategies; Michelle Pigott, PsyD, of the Rutgers Behavioral Research and Training Institute; Alexa Morales, MS, LPC, ACS, of PerformCare-Single Access to Care; Dexter Rennie and Anarai Meza of the Family Support Organization of Middlesex County; Kerry Farrace, MS, LMFT, of Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care-Mobile Response and Stabilization Services; Suzanne Siverio Kreie, LCSW, of Coordinated Family Care-Care Management Organization; Emma Shelby, MA, of the Rutgers Behavioral Research and Training Institute; and Ashley Jasko, program associate at the Center for Health Care Strategies.

“Taking a holistic, person-centered approach to children's behavioral health is essential for our youths’ well-being. This event highlights our dedication to creating supportive environments at home, in schools, and throughout our communities, ensuring children have the necessary resources to flourish,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios. “On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, I extend our gratitude to the Center for Health Care Strategies and the Middlesex County Superintendent’s Office for partnering with us in our mission to establish a sustainable and effective support system for our young people.”

“Enhancing students’ mental health is an ongoing challenge that requires daily effort. The result — students who are happier, more resilient, and better equipped to handle trauma, pressure, and stress — will benefit not only the students and their families but our entire community. I firmly believe that together, we can achieve this outcome,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Claribel A. Azcona-Barber.

“As a board, we understand the critical importance of supporting our students' mental health, and our commitment goes far beyond this event. However, we cannot do this alone,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Chanelle Scott McCullum. “With the invaluable support of key partners like Superintendent Kyle Anderson, we are not only addressing the current mental health crisis but also ensuring a robust support system and resources are in place for the future.”

The event featured presentations and discussions on various topics, including trauma-informed care, the New Jersey Children’s System of Care, and the DREAMS Initiative. Attendees had the opportunity to engage with experts, ask questions, and network, enhancing their understanding and capacity to support children’s behavioral health.

For more information about the County’s ongoing efforts to combat the behavioral health crisis, please visit middlesexcountynj.gov. And visit middlesexcountynj.gov/services for assistance on a range of topics.  

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