CarePlus Courage Awards to Honor Assemblywomen Vainieri-Huttle for Mental Health Advocacy

April 20th, 2017

The CarePlus Foundation will hold its 19th Annual Courage Awards Gala on May 10, 2017 at the Venetian in Garfield, benefiting the clients and programs of CarePlus. This year’s list of honorees includes Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle for her legislative motion to establish thorough oversight of the funding transition for the community mental health system.

The Gala celebrates those who tirelessly work on behalf of the mental health community. Proceeds fund educational scholarships, housing and medication assistance, substance abuse services, outpatient treatment and therapy for children and adults who are enrolled in CarePlus services, as well as advocacy and community education.

Assemblywoman Vainieri-Huttle, chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, sponsored bill A-4146. This legislative motion was in response to the united voices of mental health providers throughout New Jersey asserting that the proposed funding transition would destabilize the community-based mental health system, and put thousands of individuals at risk of losing essential services from chronic conditions.

“Our primary concern is to ensure that the transition to a fee-for-service payment system doesn’t end up having a negative impact on the delivery of treatment by forcing service providers out of business and effectively limiting treatment options,” Vainieri-Huttle remarked after the bill A-4146 passed the Assembly. “We need to ensure that the administration is not recklessly toying with a system that could end up cutting off treatment for many people who suffer from severe mental illnesses or have developmental disabilities – those who need it most, but can least afford it.”

Despite bipartisan support and emphasis on the importance of the community mental health system, authorities confirm that providers are being met with resistance from the state. With the firm decision to dissolve state funding contracts, providers are being put in a situation where they will have to limit access and discontinue services for thousands of New Jersey residents.

“Due to the importance of this topic, we wanted to be sure it was highlighted during the Courage Awards,” explained Caitlyn Yerves, Advocacy Specialist at CarePlus. “We want to celebrate those who are working with us on this, such as Assemblywoman Vainieri-Huttle. We also want to stress the critical issue at hand: without putting an immediate plan into action, we will experience a community mental health crisis that we are not prepared to handle.”

The CarePlus Foundation asserts the importance of community fundraising to support family, friends, and neighbors that will be impacted by these funding cuts. Those who will feel the greatest impact will be low- to middle-class working individuals and families on insurance plans that do not provide coverage for behavioral health conditions.

Registration for the Courage Awards includes a cocktail hour, dinner, live and silent auctions, and a 50/50 raffle. Individual tickets are available at $175 each, with full tables of 10 offered for $1,500.

For more information, to sponsor, or register, please visit www.CarePlusNJ.org/2017Gala or contact the Foundation Office at 201-986-5070.