The Morris County Board of Freeholders this week passed a resolution asking Gov. Phil Murphy to intervene in a situation that has endangered the continued operation of the Daytop Mendham adolescent substance abuse treatment center.
The 70-bed center, which is the last remaining addiction specialty long-term residential care facility available to at-risk youths in New Jersey, is in imminent danger of closing this spring
The freeholders are urging the Governor to offer flexibility in state funding options for facilities like Daytop, to allow them to continue to operate and assist youth in our communities.
“We are respectfully asking for the Governor’s intervention so these life-saving services for our youths will not disappear,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Deborah Smith.
For 30 years, Daytop Mendham has enabled thousands of young people to transform their lives by leaving drug addiction behind to become productive adolescents and young adults.
Many counties, including Morris County, have partnered with Daytop, providing funding and facilities to maximize the life-saving services it provides. County officials understood that treatment, education, and social structure provided by facilities like Daytop is significantly more beneficial than warehousing children in juvenile detention centers or putting them in out-of-school suspension.
In 2014, the state transferred oversight of adolescent substance use disorder treatment providers from the State’s Department of Human Services to the Department of Children & Families.
Adolescent residential services at Daytop, Integrity House, Newark Renaissance House, New Hope Integrated Behavioral Healthcare, Straight and Narrow and the Lighthouse began operating under the DCF.
In 2016, DCF implemented policy changes that resulted in a significant reduction of referrals to New Jersey’s state-funded, long-term specialty treatment programs for youth with substance use disorders.
While certain specific aspects of these policy changes were constructive, they have in effect resulted in the closing of five of the original six residential substance abuse disorder treatment facilities in the state, with Daytop Mendham now facing closure.
The Morris County freeholders believe the solution to this situation is to have DCF recognize Daytop as a Specialty Adolescent Residential Treatment Provider along with the development of both a cost-based reimbursement mechanism, coupled with the blending of other funding methods to enable this critical program to remain viable.
The Board of Freeholders, in its resolution, is asking for the Governor’s intervention and encouraging legislators and mayors from across Morris County to express their support of intervention so these life-saving services to youth do not disappear.