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NJ: First "therapeutic day school" for students with mental health needs; $68K annual tuition

Sept 29, 2018, For teens, a therapeutic day school combines mental-health care with academics Teenagers who have spent time in a hospital or emergency room for an emotional crisis often need more psychological support than a high school or middle school can give them. This month, those in North Jersey got another option: a new therapeutic day school in Midland Park, where academics and mental health care get equal weight. The Paradigm Therapeutic Day School, a subsidiary of nonprofit Care Plus NJ, accepts students who are referred by their school districts and may have attempted suicide or received a diagnosis of severe depression, anxiety or phobia about school, among other mental-health issues. … One in five people aged 13 to 18 in the United States lives with a mental health condition, and half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, experts say. … The Paradigm School integrates mental-health care with special education. It is the “only state-approved therapeutic day school that is part of a continuum of service of the largest private provider of behavioral and mental health services in the region,” said Jeffrey Kahn, the school's principal and executive director. “We call it EduCare,” said Maureen Kerne, special education coordinator for 13 districts in Bergen County, who helped transform the idea for the school into a reality. She spoke Friday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the school, which welcomed its first students on Sept. 5. As she visited the school, she recognized several of the students from her work in their districts. … Care Plus NJ already has contracts with 24 school systems to embed mental health professionals in the districts to provide clinical support and instruction. As that program expanded, the need for a therapeutic school became apparent, Augustine said. Currently, 12 students — ranging in age from 14 to 21 —- are bused to the school from five counties. The student who travels the farthest lives in Bernardsville, while others are from Hackensack, Dumont, Elmwood Park and Ramsey. Two more, in grades 7 and 8, will start attending next week, Kahn said. The students' home districts pay $310 a day, or $68,400 in tuition for a 10-month school year. …

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