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The fight to save Pathways

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Over the past few days, we were alerted to the fact that the governor's new budget proposal featured a complete cut of the School Based Youth Services Program (SBYSP.) While we understand that during these challenging times, we know that tough budgetary decisions need to be made. But we are asking our friends and partners and urge you to please help restore funding to the SBYSP.

The SBYSP is a collaboration between the N.J. Department of Children and Families, the Carteret Board of Education and Wellspring Center for Prevention. SBYSP is a comprehensive student-centered health and wellness program that provides direct services to all students on-site. The goal of the SBYSP is to help young people navigate their adolescent years, finish their education, obtain skills leading to employment or continuing education, and graduate healthy and drug free. All services are provided free of charge and require a signed parental consent form signed by his/her parent/legal guardian.

This COVID-19 pandemic has caused so much trauma to children and families. Many have experienced the loss or serious illness of loved ones, financial and food insecurity, a disruption in structure that school provides, (especially for those children with developmental disabilities who struggle with a change in routine), and other environmental stressors. The cases of abuse and neglect and symptoms of mental health and addiction are predicted to rise as this health crisis continues.These children have challenges including behavioral and mental health, substance use and developmental disabilities.

Many of our efforts have resulted in media hits in print, on the radio and TV, and of course on social media. Here are but a few examples:

In order for this program to continue to work effectively, please help us ensure the state's SBYSP remains intact and properly funded, especially in this time of health and financial crisis.

Children and families must have the security of knowing that we can help them address the many challenging issues these traumatic times will present to them. We hope we can count on you to support and advocate for the children and families of our state.

Here are a few things you might be able to do to help:

  • Signing the petition – Click here to sign the petition, posted on 8/27/20, and it has over 29,000 signatures as of this writing
  • Call/email/write your State Legislators, the Governor's Office, Senate and Assembly Budget Committee members, and Legislative Leadership
  • Template letter to legislators and the Governor (You may want to work a link to this DCF September 2018 Report on the SBYSP into your own letter.)
  • Write and call your State Legislators - you can send your individualized version via email or via regular mail. Find your local legislators' contact information by name, locality or district. (Once you know your district, it is best to use that link as you then can click on "Legislators for District #" that will have one page with your Senator and two Assembly Members and all their contact information.)
  • This document provides social media links for The Governor and the Legislature (for groups by Party and Senate/Assembly)
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