Hicksville, NY - October 21, 2015 - Addressing the exceptional difficulty in maintaining personal relationships faced by people with mental health and substance use disorders, Nassau County will be among several select communities nationwide to receive and deliver a new kind of help, thanks to a substantial federal grant.
Disadvantaged Nassau County residents who live with mental health and/or substance-use-related disorders will soon begin receiving coaching, skill-building, and other support in developing sustainable trust and in repairing broken relationships with partners, family members, and local employers. Project FORWARD (Facing Obstacles in Relationships and Work with Action, Resources, Direction) is a newly announced federally funded partnership to be led by Central Nassau Guidance & Counseling Services (CN Guidance), a leading nonprofit. The pioneering set of services, fueled by $4.6 million in grant funding from the U.S. Administration for Children and Families over the next five years, will be delivered by a combination of local organizations with paired expertise in behavioral health, family violence prevention, criminal justice, economic stability, and job development. The program will help challenged and at-risk adults and youth boost needed skills in relating to others. Via the delivery of evidence-based interventions, program participants will experience much stronger opportunities to reconnect with their partners, improve family harmony, boost self-esteem, find and keep meaningful employment, and live in greater overall happiness and healthfulness that can transfer also to the next generation. Further, some teens via this program will receive evidence-based education designed to prevent unhealthy relationships and family violence early on.
“The unifying factor of this unprecedented program in our community,” said Jeffrey Friedman, CEO of CN Guidance, “is its sharp focus on helping at-risk or struggling individuals to build and maintain the strength of their relationships—with spouses, partners, family, employers, and even with their own confidence—so that they become and remain equipped over a lifetime to experience both strong family functioning and economic stability. The bottom line is: healthier relationships will mean a higher quality of life for the participants and their families.”
The program will deliver a combination of prevention education in high schools, outreach to people facing mental health and/or other challenges, age-tailored skill-building workshops, individual case management, and economic stability interventions coupled with job development resources in order to promote the growth and stability of self-selecting participants. The program places special emphasis on reaching young adults in the 16-29 age group and partners with the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, among others, to reach this group.
"Untreated mental illness and substance addictions are a frequent precursor to criminal activity, and this funding will get help to those in our communities who need it the most,” said Nassau County Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas. “I congratulate CN Guidance for winning this grant and look forward to continuing our fruitful partnership in keeping our communities safe and healthy.”
Adelphi University will conduct an ongoing, independent evaluation of the program and its results as it is delivered between 2015 and 2020. “We are pleased to be collaborative partners on this exciting new initiative. CN Guidance is to be commended for recognizing the importance of evaluation and the potential to generate new knowledge and promote best practices for this vulnerable population,” said Dr. Peter Chernack, Associate Dean of Adelphi’s School of Social Work and Faculty Director of its Center for Nonprofit Leadership.
Key community partners delivering Project FORWARD under the leadership of grantee CN Guidance—the region’s leading nonprofit in serving people with co-occurring mental health and substance use—are: The Safe Center L.I. (family violence prevention specialists), Abilities, Inc. (nonprofit experts in economic stability and job development), the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office (a public resource well connected to troubled youth who will benefit from this program) and Adelphi University (experts in program evaluation).
This grant was the only award of its kind on Long Island announced in 2015 and one of only five such grants awarded across all of New York State.
About CN Guidance
Central Nassau Guidance & Counseling Services (CN Guidance) is a nonprofit organization that provides clinical treatment, rehabilitation, housing opportunities, social and support services, counseling, and guidance to individuals, families and the community affected by mental illness, developmental disabilities, psychological difficulties, addiction, and/or dependency problems. Since its inception in 1972, service has expanded beyond Nassau County to include areas of Suffolk County. CN Guidance delivers its services via 100+ full-time staff and dozens of part-time and relief employees, joined by student interns and volunteers. In addition to providing substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, and case management services, CN Guidance offers clients a “Drop In” center for services and operates social enterprises including the Starry Night Café—which serve and support the organization’s mission and the growth and thriving of CN Guidance’s clients.
About the Primary Partnering Organizations
Abilities, Inc. is a community-based nonprofit organization that helps individuals facing challenging conditions to find and maintain employment. The Safe Center L.I. is a nonprofit organization that provides domestic violence services, rape & sexual assault resources, prevention education to adults and youth, and a 24-hour hotline. The Nassau County District Attorney’s Office delivers criminal prosecution while partnering frequently with other organizations in the community to help reduce violence, increase safety, and diminish the causes and effects of substance use-related tragedies. Adelphi University is a nationally ranked, doctoral research university where students succeed by gaining the skills, knowledge and exposure to thrive as professionals and active citizens in an interconnected and fast-paced global society.