The Christie Administration has announced the state will use almost $5.5 million in federal funds for school and community-based psychosocial intervention programs to help kids cope with social, psychological and family stress caused by Superstorm Sandy.

Homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy in Point Pleasant
Homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy in Point Pleasant (Dennis Malloy, Townsquare Media NJ)

"The storm's psychological impact on children can negatively influence behavior and increase emotional stress, potentially affecting the rest of their lives," said state Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Allison Blake. "By intervening to help and support these children that are struggling, we aim to keep families strong and provide the programs and tools necessary to help their children return to a life of normalcy."

Risk and needs assessments conducted by the DCF indicate increases in mental health issues, domestic violence, child abuse, and an erosion of family life due to stress associated with recovery in Sandy affected areas.

It is estimated that roughly one-third of New Jersey's primary and secondary school-aged children resided in the Sandy-impacted counties at the time of the storm.

To ensure that children have access to the help they need, services will be available to children year round, including during summer, winter and spring school recess periods.

Families with children that need assistance may call Diana Walker at the Department of Children and Family Community Partnerships at 609-888-7409.

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