Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) Substance Abuse Initiative and Behavioral Health Initiative (SAI/BHI)
Recognizing the prevalence of substance use and mental health disorders and the impact on individuals receiving General Assistance (GA) or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the New Jersey Department of Human Services – Division of Family Development (DFD) developed the Work First New Jersey-Substance Abuse Initiative and Behavioral Health Initiative (WFNJ SAI/BHI). This contract was awarded to NCAAR-BH in 1998. Fifty-four credentialed Care Coordinators conduct comprehensive assessments, make referrals for treatment, and coordinate care for this complex high-risk population. Care Coordinators have conducted approximately 149,000 assessments and made referrals resulting in approximately 80% treatment placements.
The WFNJ SAI/BHI model offers a single-point of care coordination focused on the individual’s current and changing needs with the goals of sustained employment and autonomy as the guiding values. Critical barriers to treatment are addressed to meet clients’ interrelated medical, housing/environmental, transportation, and financial needs in order to improve their overall health, and social and economic conditions. Successful outcomes occur when clients are actively engaged in the entire process and in accordance with their immediate needs and preferences. Continuous clinical utilization review with substance use and mental health treatment providers occurs to ensure clinically appropriate delivery and collaboration of all services. The steadfast efforts of the WFNJ SAI/BHI over the last two decades have created an accountable managed care behavioral healthcare system that has significantly assisted with the State’s goals for quality care, accessibility of care, eliminating gaps in service, and cost effectiveness.
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Work First New Jersey Family Violence Option (FVO)
The New Jersey Department of Human Services – Division of Family Development (DFD) awarded NCAAR-BH the Work First New Jersey – Family Violence Option (FVO) initiative, implemented on January 1, 2018. The Family Violence Option (FVO) was designed to help survivors of domestic violence more easily secure income support and safety without placing them at risk of further abuse. The FVO makes recommendations to the statewide County/Municipal Welfare Agencies (CWA/MWA) to grant waivers that include extensions to their time limit and housing benefits, and exemptions from the work activity and child support requirements. Family/domestic violence victims will also be referred to available supportive services, as appropriate. Six Risk Assessors provide a standardized Risk Assessment and work closely with the statewide CWA/MWA s to review assessment recommendations and to ensure safety planning.
Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) Contract
Since 2003, NCAAR-BH has been contracted to provide comprehensive assessments for adolescents under the supervision of the Department of Law and Public Safety- New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC). Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LCADC) provide these assessments at the detention centers, parole offices, and JJC residential program sites. (Due to COVID-19 public health emergency, they are currently conducted by phone). The youth are assessed to determine the presence and extent of substance use and/or co-occurring mental health disorders and a level of care recommendation is provided, if applicable. Providing a clear and comprehensive assessment summary with specific recommendations assists youth offenders to achieve successful reentry back to their communities.
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