In response to Governor Phil Murphy's state budget proposal to defund School-Based Youth Services, Freeholder candidates Brendan Sciarra and Liz Casey released the following statement urging the Governor to reconsider the decision and restore the funding:
"New Jersey's School-Based Youth Services are a nationally recognized mental health counseling program operating in 100 school districts across New Jersey including the Lower Cape May Regional and Cape May County Technical School districts here in Cape May County," said Sciarra. "The timing of these cuts could not be worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the need for these services as teen deaths by suicide are on the rise and students increasingly deal with depression, anxiety, and difficulties at home. I implore the Governor to restore the funding."
The Office of School Linked Services within the Department of Children and Families funds nearly 100 school-based youth services programs such as mental health counseling, employment counseling, recreation, substance abuse prevention, suicide prevention, pregnancy prevention, and sexual assault prevention.
"The School-Based Youth Services Program is a nationally recognized model on how to reach at-risk youth who otherwise slip through the cracks," said Casey. "Many of the students utilizing the programs have nowhere else to go to feel safe or welcomed. The elimination of SBYSP's will have a devastating impact on kids' social and emotional development, skill-building, and academic success and will inevitability impact low-income and minority populations at disproportionate rates. I urge the Governor to reconsider his proposal and restore the funding."
Ordered and paid for by Sciarra and Casey for Freeholder PO Box 1551 Wildwood, NJ 08260.