Salem County Board of Chosen Freeholders
94 Market Street. Salem, N.J. 08079

CONTACT: Rita Shade Simpson,
Clerk of the Board/Administrator

September 16, 2002

SALEM – Freeholder Director Dave Sparks, concerned over the state’s apparent change of heart, today urged the N.J. Department of Health to keep a commitment to build a long-term residential facility for teenagers that can serve Salem County and South Jersey.

"Right now, when a Salem County teenager requires a long term residential facility for severe alcohol or drug abuse, we must place this adolescent three hours away in Morris County," said Sparks. "This distance obviously discourages family involvement in counseling sessions, and can result in the teenager being dropped from the program."

Freeholder Mike Facemyer, chair of the Freeholder Judiciary Committee, said the South Jersey Initiative called for a long term residential facility in the southern part of the state because resources here are limited.

"On average, Salem County places six to eight teenagers a year at Daytop in Mendham, which is the only available facility that can provide residential treatment for up to12 months," said Facemyer. "I am now advised by the Salem County Youth Services Commission that the state may table the facility for teenagers so it can expand services for adults aged 18-24.’

Facemyer said the South Jersey Initiative was a collaborative effort that prioritized the needs of southern counties.

"We hope that the state will not abandon the plan that was agreed to in the South Jersey Initiative," said Facemyer.

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