Our History & Mission
Care Plus NJ, Inc. was originally established on January 5, 1978 as Mid-Bergen Community Mental Health Center, Inc. (a 501(c)(3) corporation) with a goal of providing “high quality, low cost” mental health services. 35 years later, CarePlus now serves the entire Northern New Jersey quadrant with a complete care continuum focusing on “healthy minds, healthy bodies”.
As Mid-Bergen Community Mental Health Center we became a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grantee and built upon our vision for providing individualized mental health services. The organization later developed into a New Jersey Division of Mental Health Services contract agency and adopted the name of Mid-Bergen Center, Inc.
In 1988, we developed and initiated the Psychiatric Emergency Screening Program (PESP) for Bergen County. As time progressed, specialized programming was developed for dually diagnosed individuals suffering from substance abuse and emotional problems.
In 1994, in-home services for children and their families were added to our services.
1995 marked the time when we received Accreditation with Commendation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), a nationwide symbol of quality that reflects our organization’s commitment to meeting performance standards.
Integrated Case Management Services (ICMS) were developed and initiated in 1997 to provide intensive case management services on a countywide basis. During that same year, nine residential facilities were integrated into surrounding communities, with staffing up to 24 hours a day to meet client needs.
A January 1998 merger with Fair Lawn Mental Health Center resulted in the expansion of our program offerings, particularly in the area of services for children, and a new identity as “Care Plus NJ, Inc.” Growth in services for adults with persistent and chronic mental illness continued with the development of the Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) in Bergen County. Services for children and youth also grew significantly with the addition of the statewide Adoption House program and designation as the Children’s Mobile Response and Stabilization System in Bergen County.
Expansion into Essex County occurred in 2002, when the Mental Health Resource Center merged with us. Specialized services addressing client trends were also implemented, including an expanded capacity to meet co-occurring substance abuse needs, medical care that many clients require, and criminal justice expertise for individuals with chronic mental illness. The latter Jail Diversion services were implemented to help those involved with the criminal justice system benefit from needed mental health care, advocacy and support to live stable lives without re-offending.
In early 2004, we implemented new and enhanced acute care services through the Bergen County Extended Crisis Intervention Services (ECIS) and Advance Practice Nurse services for adults with acute symptoms of mental illness. The Children’s Services Department expanded with two new services: a School-Based Youth Services Program (SBYSP) called Falcons’ Lounge at Manchester Regional High School in Haledon, Passaic County; and aftercare housing services for young adults aged 16-21 who were re-entering the community after being a part of the residential Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) population.
Growth continued into 2005 with the addition of our multi-county program, Supportive Assistance to Individuals and Families (SAIF). Intensive case management was now available to clients in Bergen, Hudson, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties. Services were also expanded to Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) participants, to help those individuals and families who have been on welfare for 60 months or longer, yet not able to close their case due to mental health care barriers that prevented them from finding work.
A grant award in later 2006 allowed us to meet the need for culturally sensitive and competent mental health care services to the Korean-American population of the Bergen County area. This allowed us to provide bi-lingual outreach, direct clinical services, and case management for this previously underserved population. Acute care services were also expanded this year, including PESP and ICMS.
Later that year, we developed STRIVE for Independence which allowed us to provide the much-needed supportive housing, case management, and skill building programs to Essex County youth that were aging out of the children’s system of care. An agreement with HOMECorp, an affordable housing program based in Montclair, resulted in apartments for the youth.
The NJ Division of Mental Health Service funded our Supportive Housing Initiative in late 2007 as part of a statewide effort to reduce the census in state inpatient psychiatric institutions. Our hands-on approach, case management model allowed us to coordinate services with community providers, along with extended-stay supportive housing and a plan for successful community reintegration. The program was expanded in 2009 and 2010.
2008 saw the development of CarePlus Workforce Solutions (CPWS), a social enterprise that creates employment opportunities to the disabled and disadvantaged. Seed funding was provided through the Division of Vocational and Rehabilitation Services. CPWS offers professional janitorial and laundry services to area businesses as well as laser imaging products.
Crossroads to Wellness – our intensive outpatient treatment and support services model (IOTSS) – was introduced in 2009 to offer services to adults with acute mental health care needs. The program provides rapid access to comprehensive and intensive services while integrating a wellness and recovery philosophy.
Our case management expertise was expanded to help serve homeless and incarcerated adults. Individuals connected with the Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center are now referred to us through the Housing Works Initiative to ensure their success in independent living. Through funding from the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing (HPRP) we began to offer case management and housing search services to individuals and families at-risk from Bergen County.
2009 was a hallmark year as we were one of 13 organizations nationwide selected to receive a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which paved the way for four years of funding for Integrated Primary and Behavioral Health Care Services. In 2010, we opened the doors to our new facility in Paramus – The Center for Primary and Behavioral Health – the first of its kind in New Jersey. This is an innovative approach that coordinates and integrates care across all elements of the health care spectrum — both behavioral and physical. A team of medical and behavioral health professionals work together to address the physical and behavioral health needs of patients living with serious mental illnesses.
CarePlus once again ranked first nationally in the 2011 Mental Health Corporations of America, Inc. (MHCA) Customer Satisfaction Survey. This is the third time we have received a first place ranking amongst all other participating organizations in the country. Over the past nine years we have participated, we have consistently ranked within the top three.
In 2012 we announced an affiliation with Turning Point, an alcohol and substance abuse treatment center headquartered in Paterson, NJ. This is a unique affiliation of services for the northern New Jersey area and helps to address the need for a complete continuum of care for co-occurring disorders of mental illness and alcohol and/or substance abuse.
To this day, we continue to take the lead in the development of new and innovative programs to meet the complex, changing mental health needs of our community. For more information, please contact us.