Quick Reference Guide to Social Services and Housing Resources

The New Jersey Department of Human Services has a great resource : Quick Reference Guide to
Social Services and Housing Resources.

Find general overviews, websites and contact information for Mental Health, Addiction Services, Child Care Resource centers, Food Assistance, Health Care, and Housing for New Jersey State.

Also available in Spanish.

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Capitol Care Hires Two New Directors of Clinical Services in Stanhope and Somerset Facilities, Behavioral Health Care Provider Continues to Expand Services in New Jersey

(Stanhope, N.J., August 7, 2012)—Capitol Care, Inc., a behavioral health care provider, recently hired two new Director of Clinical Services, Dr. Sam Pirozzi at their Stanhope facility, and Dr. Dinelly Holder Gibson at their Somerset location.
Sam is a New Jersey licensed professional counsel, marriage and family therapist and licensed clinical drug and alcohol counselor with over 30 years of experience. He has worked in a variety of settings including outpatient mental health and chemical dependency treatment, inpatient treatment centers, hospitals, universities and in private practice. Throughout his professional career, he has gained experience in almost all aspects of behavioral health.
Sam has an EdD in Health Care Education from Nova Southeastern University and degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy, Community Psychology, and Psychology. He has licenses and certifications in mental health, clinical drug and alcohol counseling, and marriage and family therapy.
Dr. Dinelly Holder Gibson is a licensed professional counselor who, over the past 10 years, has worked within the behavioral health care field in substance abuse and mental health arenas including outpatient, methadone maintenance and vocational rehabilitation. She also has experience in clinical settings and working with agencies in promoting client success stories. Under her new position, Dinelly will work with clients who have developmental disabilities and/or mental health disorders.
“Sam and Dinelly's expertise in behavioral and mental health issues and focus on direct intervention and solution-based approaches will be great additions to our team,” said Tina Cooke, chief executive officer of Capitol Care, Inc. "We look forward to learning from their professional work and practices."
Dinelly has his M.S. in Education specializing in Rehabilitation Counseling from Hunter College and a Ph.D. in Human Services with a concentration in Counseling Studies from Capella University.

About Capitol Care
Capitol Care, Inc. is a behavioral health care provider located in Stanhope, N.J. The agency provides a variety of programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from behavioral, developmental and psychological disorders. Each program focuses on improving the emotional well-being and interpersonal relationships of persons served. Staff members are dedicated to providing personalized treatment plans designed to help individuals achieve their full potential. For more information, visit www.capitol-care.org or call 973-426-1440.

Capitol Care Expands to New Location


Media Contact:
Frankie Cervantes
Phone: 303-928-1902, ext 708

Capitol Care Expands to New Location
(Stanhope, N.J., May 18, 2012)—Capitol Care, Inc., a behavioral health care provider, will be moving to a new location to better serve the community throughout New Jersey.
The agency will continue to provide therapeutic services to individuals with substance abuse disorders, mental health ­­­concerns and developmental disabilities.
“We are always striving to provide the highest level of care and cater to the unique needs of each individual,” said Tina Cooke, chief executive officer at Capitol Care, Inc. “With more funding and a new, expanded location it’s really exciting to see how we will be able to grow our programs and offer more to the people we serve and their families.”
Capitol Care has specific programs designed to provide effective and comprehensive treatment at every step in the recovery process for people with various behavioral health disorders. The services range from residential and 24-hour care to weekly support group meetings, and treatment plans are determined by the disorder and the needs of the individual.
About Capitol Care
Capitol Care, Inc. is a behavioral health care provider located in Stanhope, N.J. The agency provides a variety of programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from behavioral, developmental and psychological disorders. Each program focuses on improving the emotional well-being and interpersonal relationships of persons served. Staff members are dedicated to providing personalized treatment plans designed to help individuals achieve their full potential. For more information, visit www.capitolcare.org or call 973-426-1440.

Capitol Care Expands to Open Two New Group Homes


Media Contact:
Frankie Cervantes
Phone: 303-928-1902, ext 708

Capitol Care Expands to Open Two New Group Homes
(Stanhope, N.J., May 18, 2012)—Capitol Care, Inc., a behavioral health care provider, opened two new group homes to offer more extensive therapeutic services to New Jersey residents in need of constant support and care.
The group homes are a 24-hour supervised residential option for adults with developmental disabilities, and those dually diagnosed with a developmental disability and mental illness.
“We are constantly striving to give our individuals the support they need and ultimately live self-sufficient and empowered lives,” said Tina Cooke, chief executive officer of Capitol Care, Inc. “Sometimes residential services and the consistent support that is offered by that type of environment is necessary for the transition in the recovery process, and we are excited to be expanding on these services.”
Capitol Care designs specific treatment plans to cater to the needs of individuals with substance abuse disorders, mental health ­­­concerns and developmental disabilities.
About Capitol Care
Capitol Care, Inc. is a behavioral health care provider located in Stanhope, N.J. The agency provides a variety of programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from behavioral, developmental and psychological disorders. Each program focuses on improving the emotional well-being and interpersonal relationships of persons served. Staff members are dedicated to providing personalized treatment plans designed to help individuals achieve their full potential. For more information, visit www.capitolcare.org or call 973-426-1440.

The Proposed Reasons behind the closing of many Mental Health Buildings in AL and NJ

Mental health hospitals are facing closure in Alabama and New Jersey. Government officials in both states believe they can provide the needed mental health services by reorganizing catchment areas, redirecting new mental health admissions and assessing the placement options for new and current mental health patients in both states. The cutback in services includes autism NJ clients.

New Jersey
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has accepted the recommendations of the Department of Human Services. This includes closing the Senator Garrett W. Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital in June, 2012. What this means for affected populations is that mental health services, including autism NJ will be reassessed and delivered in different ways. Patients who formerly had been admitted for inpatient services will now be served through outpatient services.

Addiction and mental health services are beginning to send patients to psychiatric service providers in new catchment areas. To save on funds, these patients are being provided with outpatient services such as day treatment programs.

Capitol Care, Inc., which operates in New Jersey, adheres to the philosophy that requires each mental health patient to own his or her progress toward recovery. Capitol Care achieves this by helping each patient to look at their own situations and respond to difficulties, using positive actions and healthy psychological actions and thoughts. The company also embraces mutual respect and trust of every individual admitted to their care programs. Management and staff makes a commitment to each patient and works to help them work through their individual mental health issues using positive thought. Finally, Capitol Care uses its accumulated knowledge and experience as it guides every patient through treatment to recovery.

Capitol Care holds several beliefs central to its treatment philosophy. These include:

v Encouraging patients and families to make informed choices through education;
v Leading each patient and their family to empower themselves in connection to their diagnosis;
v Including all patients and family members in planning and implementing treatment – this, believes Capitol Care, is the right of all;
v Every counselor and staff member responds to patient needs, building flexibility into its documented outcomes.

Every counselor works with his patients to identify health conditions, both mental and physical, that may be blocking recovery. Staff is encouraged to use treatment methods shown to be the most effective in academic, medical and clinical research.

Peer groups are utilized, including autism NJ, which enables each patient to build safe, healthy friendships and trust others in their social living and establishment of trust.

Changes in Alabama

State government officials in Alabama have decided to slow down the closure of mental health hospitals throughout the state. A September deadline, which had been previously set, has now been lifted, which will keep some mental health hospitals open.

Alabama governor Robert Bentley still supports the plan to transition patients out of mental health hospitals and into community outpatient treatment centers. The plan to close mental hospitals came about because of a budget crisis in the state. Tony Thompson, Department of Mental Health in Alabama, believes “true recovery” can happen in individual communities.

Put on the Puzzle Ribbon and support Autism Awareness Month

What is Autism Awareness Month? How does a puzzle ribbon figure into celebrating this event? Autism Awareness Month is celebrated every April, allowing families impacted by autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to say they are affected by autism. The Autism Society, along with DDD NJ is working to increase the public's awareness of this condition.

The puzzle ribbon is one of the most visible symbols people can put on their clothing. It symbolizes the daily life of people with autism, as well as the successes they achieve. “How does pinning on a puzzle ribbon help those affected by autism?” This is a good question. By wearing the puzzle pin, those who wear it help to increase the public’s awareness of autism, one by one. Because of its recognizability, they show their support of children with autism when they pin it to their clothing.

As of the time of this article, autism impacts one in 88 children – in America. Impact of Autism on Families Children with autism are not always aware of safety issues or how they can protect themselves. Capitol Care, a behavioral health program for individuals with mental health disorders works to make safety a major part of the residential services offered to families affected by autism. DDD NJ knows that some of the behaviors related to autism may increase the level of danger to children with autism. If a child experiences a behavioral melt-down in public, those who have never had to deal with autism may not know how to deal with the behaviors or what to do to keep the child safe. For this reason, staff members work with family members, teachers, neighbors, caretakers and extended family to develop safety-related actions as responses to possible situations in the community. 

In the home, children are at increased risk of accidents and injuries. For this reason, the Autism Safety Project has developed strategies aimed at children and adults with autism. One of these resources is a video and related workbook that young adults, older teenagers and parents use. Called “Safe Signals,” the program teaches fire safety and burn prevention. Children with autism learn to respond to vinyl clings as they learn safety messages in the home. Because autism impacts the entire family, it is important for the general public to learn about this condition so they can take positive action and spread the message, increasing awareness throughout the community.

Everyone who learns about autism can contact their state and federal representatives, asking them to “vote 4 autism” when bills are presented. Men, women, youth and older teens can also participate in autism awareness-related events alongside DDD NJ during Autism Awareness Month. Because children with autism are not always able to sit in a darkened theater to watch a movie, this is one way of increasing awareness of this condition. The Autism Society has begun to work with AMC Theatres to present movies that are sensory-friendly to these families – a way for children with autism to take part in a simple pleasure.

Why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Monitors Developmental Disorders

State Funded Organizations to Help Individuals with Developmental Disabilities A developmental disability is characterized as a chronic mental and/or physical disability diagnosed prior to 22 years of age, and impact activities like learning, mobility, language, independent living and self help. Good news is that such individuals can also live healthy, happy lives. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) monitors and keeps track of the population estimate of school aged children facing any type of developmental disabilities.

Several disorders coming within the periphery of developmental disabilities are:
· Cerebral palsy
· Autism spectrum disorders
· Intellectual disabilities
· Spina bifida
· Epilepsy
· Traumatic brain injuries
· Neurological impairment

 The CDC’s monitored results help in supporting the funding of state and local schedules conducted especially for developmentally disabled children. Such children usually need financial assistance, and also medical and educational services throughout their lives. CDC makes the going more productive and healthier for them by conducting specific schedules. DDD NJ since its origin in 1959 has grown significantly and is funding services to thousands of individuals facing developmental disability. The DDD NJ provides funding for facilities like community residences, group homes, and supervised apartments to the eligible individuals. Capitol Care, Inc. is funded by the Division of Developmental Disabilities in New Jersey. Capitol Care in New Jersey and Alabama aim to meet the comprehensive behavioral health needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. They believe that mental health plays a crucial role in an individual’s quality of life and hence has developed a comprehensive recovery program for individuals having developmental disabilities and/or mentally illness. Using the strength of the individual, this agency tries to enhance his/her personal development and aims to achieve the highest level of wellness possible.

 In New Jersey, Capitol Care offers residential treatment in natural surroundings. Individuals enrolled for their developmental disabilities get therapeutic, clinical and person centered residential treatment from a caring and skilled team. The staff is well trained in the different clinical areas needed to provide assistance in the health and well-being of the individuals. It aims to make them independent through its compassionate, patient, dedicated approach. Its focus is on helping the individuals to develop skills in personal development, life management, goal setting, and community integration.

 To request more information about screening, eligibility and admissions at the New Jersey, visit www.capitol-care.org and www.capitolcaresouth.com for Alabama.

How the New Autism Safety Project can Affect You and Your Family

Personal Safety is a primary concern for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as well as for those around them, whether family, friends, or the general public.
In New Jersey, Capitol Care integrates safety in its residential care programs. It advises families affected by Autism to incorporate it into their own daily activities to ensure that everyone remains safe. Below are some safety tips that can be used by those providing care to persons with Autism:

Safety in the Community
For those families who care for a member with Autism at home, going out into the community can sometimes be challenging. Behaviors accepted at home may not be generally accepted in public and may bring about unwanted and unanticipated results. Family members are the best advocates to prepare themselves and the individual with Autism for forays into the community. Those that work with the person with Autism, such as school personnel, daycare providers, neighbors, caretakers, and extended family, should gather to discuss possible scenarios and plan appropriate actions. Some resources, such as the Autism Safety Project, will directly address strategies to help individuals with Autism get transportation, ask for help, use public restrooms, interact with Law Enforcement, deal with cellphones and money, play in the neighborhood, and avoid victimization.
Safety in the home
Accidental injury in the home is potential for everyone. The Autism Safety Project offers a workbook and video designed for parents, older teens and young adults called Safe Signals. It focuses on burn and fire safety and incorporates the use of vinyl clings to reinforce safety messages in every room of the house.
Sexual Abuse
The prevalence of sexual abuse and violence among young persons with disabilities is higher than among those without disabilities, making those with ASD an especially vulnerable population. Some expert advice would include:
• Talking about sexuality with family members
• Preventing sexual abuse
• Recognizing the warning signals of sexual abuse
• Getting help for victims
Information for First Responders
Educating family members to respond productively to various events involving those with ASD is the first step. The second step is to educate those who might respond to an incident involving the family. These might include fire fighters, Law Enforcement, 911 call centers, emergency medical personnel, search and rescue personnel, judicial system employees, and teachers and administrators. Working with people with Autism is not necessarily an issue addressed in their professional training so it is a good idea for families to proactively provide training resources for those who might come in contact with the family during an emergency.

For more information about safety suggestions and tips for families of persons with Autism NJ contact, Capitol Care, Inc. would be able to point you towards the best resource.

New Proposed Updates to the Definition of Autism

An estimated million plus adults and children have been diagnosed with autism or a similar disorder. The proposed definition adjustments are slated to consolidate three different disorder diagnoses under the same category: Autism spectrum disorder – which would eliminate both:
• P.D.D.-N.O.S. (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified); and
• Asperger syndrome from the D.S.M. manual.
The panel is faced with the challenge of where to draw the distinction between abnormal and merely unusual behavior. The decisions made will impact not only the people evaluated by the new definition, but a great number of social, medical and other health professionals.
Under the current autism definition criterion, qualification for a diagnosis requires that an individual exhibits at least 6 of the listed behavior criteria. The new autism definition requires an addition of 5 more aspects:
• At least 6 or more of the 12 listed behaviors;
• At least 3 communication and social interaction deficits; and
• A minimum of 2 repetitive behaviors.
There is concern by social activists that the new autism definition, which proposes far narrower parameters, will drastically affect how those struggling with symptoms will receive, without undue discrimination:
• Education
• Services
• Treatment; and
• Social service benefits they require.
In fact, some doctors believe that new changes could severely curtail the autism definition such that it will ultimately end the surge of diagnoses.

Experts at the Psychiatric Association have reportedly expressed that they strongly disagree about how the proposed changes will impact society. Those organizations serving persons with Autism have been advised, through the panel’s previous projections, that the definition changes would actually cause far fewer people to be excluded. This contention, however, has not yet been confirmed.
It has been 17 years since a major revision has been done on the manual that drives the treatment, insurance and research decisions of mental illness. Providers have learned that most experts believe the autism definition revision may greatly narrow the criterion for what constitutes autism.
While the new analysis is preliminary, many autism providers believe that the new proposed adjustments to the official meaning of autism could drastically affect the rate at which, and ultimately the number, of people who are diagnosed with the disease.

The new autism definition could incite some heated discussions, as millions of people receiving state-funded services could find themselves affected by new decisions as to eligibility. Proposed changes could exclude those diagnosed in the higher functioning category.

Disagreement about the actual effect after the new definition is finalized is expected to increase scrutiny of the psychiatric association panel’s proposed adjustments to the D.S.M. Autism NJ providers have learned that the revisions are slated to be completed and finalized by December of 2012, and published in the spring of 2013, according to a spokesperson for the University of Pittsburgh.

Capitol Care, Inc. in NJ and Capitol Care South in AL are agency's that provide Autism NJ and Autism AL services to those with Autism and their families. Capitol Care, Inc. and Capitol Care South are a distinguished name in behavioral health programs and services.

What About The Siblings of Children with Autism?

Children that have a sibling with autism in NJ may show any broad spectrum of attitudes on their relationship, and research has shown a variety of reactions of the siblings. How a sibling reacts often depends on where they fall in the birth order, the severity of the disorder, and general family behavior. 

A parent would love for the siblings to develop a strong bond, but it could be difficult to develop that type of a relationship. A child with an autistic disorder will demand special attention from the parents, and so the siblings may often compete for that parental attention. There is the possibility of tantrums and unexpected behavior from brothers and sisters of children with autism. However, one of the most positive things that siblings can learn is empathy and understanding at an early age. 

Positive and enduring relationships can most certainly develop between children with autism and their siblings. To best accomplish positive relationships and outcomes, a family must focus on open communication among everyone involved.

1) Jealousy is expected

It’s natural for a child to be jealous of the amount of attention given to an autistic sibling. Parents must reassure the child that thoughts of anger and embarrassment will run through their mind toward their autistic sibling and they shouldn’t feel guilty. You must explain that this will happen, but they will also begin to understand why this occurs and they will learn how to handle unique situations.

Some parents have enrolled their children into autistic sibling workshops where they can meet other children living under the same circumstances. Quickly, they will understand that they aren’t alone. Remember, some children may never connect with their autistic sibling, as they cannot handle witnessing tantrums and unexpected public outbursts. Usually, this type of a relationship turns out to have more compassion and care than an average sibling relationship.

2) Getting Siblings to Relate to One Another

Parents must find ways for siblings to relate to one another. Often, finding shared interest could be something of a simplistic nature. Once you find that common interest, then it’s your job to continually nurture and foster this relationship.

Also, don’t forget to set time aside for some personal one-on-one contact with all of your children. Developing a hobby with them is a great way to share private moments with them. 

3) The Outspokenness of Your Child

Expect your child to become more outspoken and outgoing than other children of their age. Often, they will announce to strangers that their sibling has autism and they have special needs. In certain circumstances, they will become an "expert" in explaining their sibling’s behavior.

Other children will find it tough handling the added responsibility of helping to care for an autistic sibling, as parents must judge what role each child will play. Help them understand that their help is grateful, yet remember they still must live their life as a child.

Parents should only initiate conversations with their child on the future care of the autistic sibling once they’re mature enough to understand such a dialogue. Some will grow up and devote themselves to careers in autism awareness and research development to help find a cure for this disorder. 

Developmental Disabilities Services in NJ and AL - What Is Available

Coping with developmental disabilities can be very difficult. Having to send a loved one to receive extra attention is something which needs to be weighed with a great amount of thought and rigor. When you’re faced with this prospect, you should choose a trusted name that is going to let your loved one move at their own speed to optimal recovery. DDD NJ and Behavioral Health AL destination, Capitol Care and Capitol Care South are a distinguished name in behavioral health programs and services.
  • Philosophy
Capitol Care has facilities in New Jersey and Capitol Care South in Alabama. At both locations the treatment philosophy is simple; to help every individual take ownership of their life by empowering them in their recovery. Whether it’s out-patient treatment, residential care in their New Jersey facility of a lifelong condition, or other treatment, the team at Capitol Care looks at everyone as individuals with their own story. This breath of individualized care is a refreshing and upbeat attitude towards those with developmental disabilities.
  • Core Beliefs
The core beliefs guide the mission of Capitol Care and Capitol Care South. It’s these values which allow individuals to harness their own strength and re-discover life. These core beliefs include informed choice and empowerment; two things which individuals and their families receiving their care cherish. Another important core belief is that inclusion is the right of all people. This attitude is reflected in Capitol Care’s success. Finally, the team at Capitol Care strives to achieve responsible and flexible supports with outcomes. Capitol Care and Capitol Care South want all individuals to be able to live their lives with happiness and independence.
  • Residential Services
Having to choose a residential services provider for your family member can be tough; you want them to be taken care of the same as they would at home. People of all ages with developmental disabilities often need special care. You want to be sure that the space your loved one will be living will work towards their recovery and happiness in living out their days.
Capitol Care has DDD NJ residential services located in a natural setting for the developmentally disabled. Their setting offers patient focused care for all their residents. With up to 24 hour staffing and a hands on approach to daily living, the Capitol Care team has been instrumental in creating individualized paths for residents with developmental disabilities. In a safe and secure setting, the therapy and treatment teams help set realistic, attainable, measurable goals which each individual can look to and be proud of.
  • Adult Day Services
The adult day service portion of treatment at Capitol Care provides DDD NJ approved treatment for folks with developmental disabilities. Monday through Friday from 9AM-3PM individuals are assigned with a clinical specialist who will help them develop skills in community integration. Adult day services treatment at Capitol Care assists individuals in personal development, life skills, and goal setting.