Care Plus NJ, Inc. (“CarePlus”) together with elected officials and community members came together today for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of Paradigm Therapeutic Day School (“Paradigm”), a New Jersey Department of Education-approved private school for students ages 12-21. The opening marks an important milestone in providing clinical support and evidence-based curriculum to meet the health, wellness, and educational needs of students in northern New Jersey. Paradigm officially welcomed 12 students for the first day of the 2018-2019 school year on September 5.
As an extension of CarePlus’ Division of School-Based Programs, Paradigm was established to serve students who have been identified by their school districts as benefiting from a more emotionally supportive environment. These characteristics may include mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, history of hospitalizations, school refusal, or substance abuse issues.
CarePlus’ School-Based Program allows schools to contract with CarePlus to provide evidence-based curriculum and clinical support for students directly in schools. Since its start in 2005, the School-Based Program has spread to 24 districts throughout northern New Jersey and was a driving force in Paradigm’s founding.
“After doubling clinical presence in schools throughout the region, we recognized the strong need to establish a school dedicated to providing an educational and therapeutic environment for students in northern New Jersey,” said Tara Augustine, CarePlus COO and Paradigm CEO. “We are grateful to have so many local officials and community members come together today to show support for Paradigm and the vital mental and emotional support this model provides to our students, which can make all the difference in driving their educational and personal success.”
With synergistic linkages to CarePlus, a pioneer in integrated primary and behavioral health care services for adults and children, Paradigm has the added advantage to go above and beyond typical counseling standards, providing a level of mental health services to its students not typically available in schools. As a Department of Education-approved private school, Paradigm has undergone a rigorous approval and compliance process to ensure it is in accordance with state regulations.
“According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five children and teens aged 13-18 have, or will have, a serious mental illness,” said Jeffrey Kahn, Executive Director and Principal of Paradigm. “By taking an integrated approach to care, our goal is to establish a supportive environment for these students that addresses their entire academic, emotional and life skill needs. We are thrilled to have the community support us in this initiative to provide our students with the support and services they need to be successful.”
At the core of Paradigm’s program is EduCare, a transdisciplinary “student-centered model” in which students are given the tools needed for success through competency-based learning, clinical services, and a custom positive behavior support program. This model, based on the most current research and best practices in special education, positive support and cognitive behavioral therapy, integrates the student experience into a seamless continuum of services.
“Many of the students that will come through our doors will have struggled for years with academic, social, and emotional failure, giving them a sense of hopelessness in school. We give them the opportunity to shift that paradigm,” said Kahn.
“Our goal is to establish a supportive and ‘learner-centered’ environment,” added Augustine. “The program will generate sustainable behavioral growth based on the student’s intrinsic motivation to succeed. With strong community connections and expertise in integrating the many dimensions of education and wellness, Paradigm is uniquely equipped to meet the needs of students and their families.”
CarePlus NJ, INC. is dedicated to excellence in mental healthcare and has a commitment to life-long support needed by individuals and their families to ensure that they achieve their full potential and improve the quality of their lives.