Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) announced that South Jersey public schools will receive over $3.8 million in federal grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to strengthen mental health resources in their schools. Collingswood Public School District and Camden County Educational Services Commission (CCESC) will each receive $1,940,000 to implement services for students in need.
“These resources will help our public schools deliver critical support to our kids and help save lives,” said Congressman Norcross. “I have long applauded our educators for their tireless commitment to young people affected by mental health issues. If this funding helps them save one kid’s life, it will have been worth it. I will continue fighting to see more federal dollars come back to South Jersey’s schools and break the stigma surrounding mental health.”
“The grant award is the result of a strong collaborative effort between the CCESC and Oaks Integrated Care to solve the mental health crisis in K-12 schools,” said CCESC Superintendent Daniel Del Vecchio.
“As the demand for youth mental health services in our communities continues to increase, we’re excited for the opportunity to partner with CCESC to provide students and staff members with trauma-informed support services,” said Oaks Integrated Care Vice President Michelle Carlamere, which is partnering with CCESC to deliver the services.
HHS provided these grants through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Part of SAMHSA’s mission is to address mental health and substance abuse prevention through state and local grants, which can help build the capacity of response programs and provide training and technical assistance. With this grant funding, Camden County school leaders will be able to hire and retain licensed clinicians to provide crisis response and compassionate care for students in need. Read more about this grant here.
In 2022, Congressman Norcross secured the passing of the Parity Enforcement Act through the House, which makes sure health plans adequately cover mental health and hold insurers accountable. He also secured $175,000 in federal funding for Garden State Equality to address adverse childhood experiences among LGBTQ+ youth in South Jersey.