CarePlus NJ Awarded $500,000 Grant to Develop Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Program in Northern NJ

Paramus, N.J. (September 18, 2023) – Care Plus NJ, Inc. (“CarePlus NJ”), a pioneer in integrated primary and behavioral health services for adults and children, announces it has been awarded a five-year grant totaling $500,000 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to establish an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health program serving Bergen, Hudson and Passaic Counties.

CarePlus NJ’s Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health program will fill gaps in direct behavioral health services by addressing the need for greater training within the densely populated northern New Jersey region. The program will address the lack of early identification and appropriate intervention of mental health disorders for infants and children under 12 years old who are at risk of, showing early signs of, or having been diagnosed with a mental illness, including a serious emotional disturbance (SED), as well as children with a history of in-utero exposure to substances that may impact development.

Through the grant, CarePlus NJ will provide infant and early childhood mental health training to at least 100 child and family-serving professionals, including direct support for integrating infant and early childhood mental health assessments across their diverse disciplines and roles. CarePlus NJ will provide 100 outreach and community engagement trainings to child and family-serving professionals to promote community education and prevention. Through the grant, 50 trainings and consultations will be supplied to other disciplines and organizations, such as schools and care providers engaged with the target population. Additionally 50 specialized training and consultations will be given over the lifetime of the grant period to mental health clinicians providing treatment in infant and child and early childhood mental health. The goal is to train 700 individuals in the course of the grant.

“Many people don’t consider young children when they think about those dealing with mental health issues. But CDC data shows that children as young as age two are experiencing mental health challenges, with 17.4% of children two through eight being diagnosed with mental health disorders,” said CarePlus NJ Program Director, Olga Vasquez. “Children’s mental health is an ongoing crisis, yet nationally we lack the resources to properly treat it. The CDC reports only about 20% of children with mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders receive treatment from a specialized mental health care provider. With this grant, we will be able to increase access to mental health treatment for infants and children who need it.”

For more information, or to make a referral, please contact Admissions at 201-986-5000.

About CarePlus NJ

For more than 40 years, Care Plus NJ, Inc. (“CarePlus NJ”) has been a pioneer in integrated primary and behavioral health services for adults and children in northern New Jersey. Based in Paramus, New Jersey, CarePlus NJ is committed to providing the most comprehensive integrated treatment options through 80 programs designed to meet the full spectrum of health and wellness needs for adults and children in the communities it serves. Specializing in acute care, CarePlus NJ provides immediate, high-quality health services and support programs for individuals in crisis. Nationally ranked for excellence in customer satisfaction by the Mental Health Corporations of America, CarePlus NJ is mission driven ensuring that anyone who needs it has access to specialized care. To learn more about CarePlus NJ and its wide range of programs and services, visit

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