The New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus and Latino Caucus issued the following statement on Governor Murphy’s decision to maintain funding for the School Based Youth Services Program (SBYSP) through the 2024 school year:
“Today, both the Legislative Black Caucus and Latino Caucus commend the executive decision by Governor Murphy to maintain the dedicated funding of the statewide School Based Youth Services Program through the 2024 school year. It was alarming to learn of the potential dismantling of life-saving programs that has been built upon since 1986. These programs are currently in 91 schools and provide students with safe spaces; settings where they are comfortable and have built trusted relationships.
“The New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus and Latino Caucus worked jointly to shine a spotlight on the potential grave harms that would result if a proposal submitted by New Jersey Department of Children & Families (DCF) were implemented to eliminate the long-standing and successful School Based Youth Services Program (SBYSP) at the end of this school year. In fact, the New Jersey Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Public Schools convened recently to hear hours of testimony on the value and benefit of these programs for our most vulnerable students.
“We all acknowledge that our students experienced some of the deepest, most protracted effects of the pandemic. We also agree that today there is an opportunity to expand access and equity in support of youth mental wellness and health. However, these efforts should not destabilize existing programs or create further structural barriers to accessing mental wellness and health.
“We look forward to working collaboratively with the DCF and Governor Murphy to enhance the mental health system of care for all children and youth in New Jersey.”