Did you know NJ has multiple student support hubs to help aid our youth’s mental wellness

Posted on May 14, 2024


By Isaiah Fudge Director, Positive Youth Development

For more information on this topic, contact Isaiah at ifudge@acnj.org.

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Nestled in 15 locations throughout New Jersey are hubs rich with professionals to help support mental wellness for NJ’s youth. The NJ Statewide Student Support Services (NJ4S) model is a hub and spoke one, where mental health professionals and other staff are deployed throughout communities to provide wellness services and referrals for youth. The recently engineered plan has three tiers of support, all of which encourage partnership, coordination, and collaboration among various stakeholders. Each hub serves a specific region, with staff working with several schools and other community members in each school’s vicinity.

What NJ4S Is:

NJ4S is a preventive approach to youth mental wellness. Each hub offers three tiers of support:

    • Tier 1. All-aged wellness information centered on prevention. Students, caregivers, and schools can request workshops, virtual and in-person presentations, and assemblies from pre-K through high school without their child’s school being an NJ4S participating school. Community providers are eligible for these services, too, if they are open to the public.
    • Tier 2. Prevention groups for students in grades 6 to 12 based on varioius areas of need. In Tiers 2 and 3, a referral application must be submitted for the student(s) by the designated representative at the participating NJ4S school.
    • Tier 3. In addition to all supports from Tier 2, Tier 3 also provides a brief assessment and counseling to students and their caregivers. Clinicians help connect to other resources including work readiness agencies, education supports, and ongoing mental health providers. Services are provided in the schools, community locations, homes, and through telehealth.

What NJ4S Is Not:

NJ4S hubs are not long-term outpatient centers; they are not designed for long-term ongoing treatment of mental health-related issues, nor do they provide crisis intervention.

How You Can Get Involved:

NJ4S hubs host several info sessions and other events throughout the calendar year. These events range from sessions around study skills to events on grief. These are Tier 1 events, meaning they are open to the public, and can be held in-person or virtually. Even though Tier 1 events are open to the public, each offering is dedicated to a specific audience—i.e. middle school students, elementary students, parents, etc. Students and families can access a list of these events here. Accessing Tier 2 and Tier 3 services will require applications from the schools already officially partnered with local 4S hubs. Youth and their parents can speak to administrators, guidance counselors, social workers, or teachers at their school and request for their school to sign up to participate with NJ4S if the school has not already done so.

For more information on NJ4S and the services it offers, visit https://nj4s.nj.gov/s/.

To access information about the hub in your county, see below. Print or download the list here.

Atlantic and Cape May Counties: Acenda, Inc.
Bergen County: Children’s Aid and Family Services, Inc. (CAFS)
Burlington County: Legacy Treatment Services
Camden County: Center for Family Services, Inc. (CFS)
Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties: Acenda, Inc.
Essex County: Family Connections, Inc.
Hudson County: Partners in Prevention
Hunterdon, Somerset, and Warren Counties: Center for Family Services, Inc.
Mercer County: Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton
Middlesex County: Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC)
Monmouth County: Preferred Behavioral Health Group
Morris and Sussex Counties: Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, Inc.
Ocean County: Preferred Behavioral Health Group
Passaic County: New Jersey Community Development Corporation
Union County: Prevention Links