The New Jersey Department of Children and Families recently sent a letter to local educational agency leads and the directors of nonpublic schools to provide additional information about the New Jersey Statewide Student Support Services  network, otherwise known as NJ4S.

A hub-and- spoke model of services and resources to support youth mental wellness, the network has 15 regional hubs that will provide specialized prevention and brief intervention services to students and parents/caretakers. It will also provide consultations to school faculty and public schools that apply. Universal prevention interventions will benefit students throughout the state and will include workshops, webinars, assemblies and training at no cost, and without the need for an application.

The hubs will be mobilized to deliver services locally, when and where they are requested, both in school and community settings. They will utilize the School District Needs Index, a ranking of districts, to prioritize service provision and manage requests and capacity issues. In addition, hub staff will have the ability to connect students and their parents/caregivers with other community resources beneficial to social, emotional, and mental health and well-being, including clinical and nonclinical supports.

The letter also provides additional information, such as how schools will access NJ4S services and details about future training opportunities.

Those opportunities include webinar sessions at 10 a.m. Aug. 23 and at 2 p.m. Aug. 24.  Register for the webinar session on Aug. 23, or register for the session on Aug. 24.

DCF will also be taping the presentation to post online and share with interested stakeholders at a later date.

Follow-up Letter Offers More Guidance

On Aug. 16, the DCF sent an additional letter reminding public high schools, middle schools and the upper grades of K-8 schools (6-8 grades), that they may soon apply for evidence-based prevention programs and brief counseling interventions through the NJ4S network. The electronic application for these tiers of services must be made through the NJ4S Information System, set to go live at the end of the month.

To access the NJ4S Information System, schools interested in participating must identify and submit a school representative’s contact details. Superintendents must register themselves or a delegate to access the dashboard that shows the districts’ applications/services. Principals must register themselves or a delegate, AND a backup, to request services through the NJ4S information system.

To facilitate the collection of user contact information, DCF has developed an online survey that can be accessed here. The survey will ask whether you are a principal or superintendent. It will then take you to a district/school list-based on the county your district is in. You will need to find your school in the list and provide first name, last name, title and email address of your primary and secondary representative.

Stakeholders are also encouraged to visit the New Jersey Statewide Student Support Services website for more information and other news.