Community Service Project Grant

The NJPA Foundation identifies exemplary programs that provide psychological services to those who cannot afford it and trains doctoral students to work with these underserved populations. We invite applications from programs across the state of New Jersey, with the goal of identifying and supporting model programs from each county.  If you are interested in applying for a Community Service Project Grant, click here for the Community Service Project Grant Application.

YOUR TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS help fund these programs.   If you would like to support our Community Service Project Grants, donate here.

Currently funded for the 2018-2019 academic year:

Rutgers Tourette Syndrome Clinic

The Tourette Syndrome Clinic was developed in partnership between Rutgers' Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) and the NJ Center  for Tourette Syndrome (NJCTS). The Rutgers-NJCTS Therapeutic program is offered through the Psychological Services Clinic at GSAPP, which provides a variety of psychological services to the public. There are an estimated 7,000 people in New Jersey believed to have full-blown TS and very few resources available to assist them. Through this partnership with NJCTS, we have created specialized treatment programs to address the needs of individuals with Tourette Syndrome and their families. While providing a unique, hands-on learning experience for advanced graduate students, we also strive to increase awareness of TS in the professional community.

The Doctoral Student Clinicians in the clinic are an enthusiastic team of students from the doctoral programs in clinical and school psychology at Rutgers University. The high quality of the Rutgers programs, along with the intensive level of training and supervision provided, allows the students to become experts in the evaluation and treatment of Tourette Syndrome and its co-occurring disorders. The students are the future practitioners for individuals with TS, a specialized area of psychological care with alarmingly few experienced practitioners accessible to the community. The students’ ability to provide relief and assistance to families in need has built the reputation of the TS Program, allowing it to become a premier location in New Jersey for the behavioral treatment of TS-related issues.

The Rutgers-NJCTS Tourette Syndrome Program offers individual and family therapy for individuals affected by Tourette Syndrome, emphasizing evidence-based treatments for TS and related conditions. All of our therapists are trained in Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT), which includes Habit Reversal Training (HRT), as well as cognitive behavioral approaches for common comorbid conditions such as ADHD, OCD, ASD, and anxiety and mood disorders. Individual  and  family  therapy may also include supportive, psychoeducational, and skill-building interventions (e.g., social skills training). In addition to individual and family therapy, we offer socio- emotional skills groups for school-aged children and teens. Finally, the Rutgers-NJCTS Tourette Syndrome Program also offers a variety of additional supportive services including diagnostic evaluation, consultation on TS and associated disorders for practitioners, physicians, educators and students, assistance with referrals for physicians, and access to additional resources and services for the TS community.

Supervisor - Graham Hartke, PsyD
Funded Student - 
Shaindl Schnaidman 

Trinitas Regional Medical Center - Adolescent Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Program

The Child and Adolescent Outpatient Unit (COPU) at Trinitas Regional Medical Center offers a full array of psychiatric and behavioral health services for children and adolescents (ages 3.5-18 years old) and their family members.  Chris will be participating in a range of clinical experiences at the COPU, including conducting intake evaluations (two evaluations/ month); providing individual cognitive-behavioral and family therapy to children, adolescents, and families with anxiety, mood, and disruptive behavior disorders (four cases at a time); and engaging in case management with schools, psychiatric providers, and outside case managers.  There may be opportunities to provide group therapy services, in addition to individual/family treatment.  Furthermore, Chris will be trained in providing Dialectical Behavior Therapy to adolescents and their families, who exhibit symptoms of borderline personality disorder and comorbid conditions.  He will be required to carry a caseload of two DBT cases and co-lead a weekly multi-family DBT skills group, as well as provide phone coaching and participate in a weekly consultation team.  Finally, Chris will have the opportunity to participate in unit-wide treatment meetings, as well as seminars offered to psychology interns participating in the APA-accredited predoctoral internship at Trinitas.

Supervisor - Atara Hiller, PsyD
Funded Student
- Christopher Hughes

Foster Care Counseling Project (FCCP) - Rutgers GSAPP Psychological Clinic
Rutgers University, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP)

The Foster Care Counseling Project has been providing comprehensive mental health counseling and preventive services to children in resource care for 29 years, with more than 800 children having been served to date. This year FCCP has expanded to provide mental health services to any child with a trauma history, regardless of whether or not he/she is in resource care. FCCP mission is to increase access to evidence-based trauma treatment for underserved populations and to train students to be clinicians with expertise in providing trauma treatment. All student clinicians are provided training in evidence-based trauma treatment interventions (e.g. Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the Attachment, Regulation and Competency Framework) and receive weekly individual and group supervision.

Amanda Elliot and Maria Alba are both student clinicians and recruitment liaisons at the FCCP.   Both of these students were funded by NJPA and have partially used the funding to be able to attend conferences on trauma and provide education to the community.   The attached picture was taken on May 4th at the "Let's Talk Adoption Conference" where both students presented on Trauma Informed Care.  

All FCCP student clinicians provide individual, family and dyadic therapy to youth and young adults, ranging in age from 3 to 19 years old, with significant histories of trauma. Biological parents, adoptive parents and resource parents are involved in each child’s therapy, whenever possible, to maximize the success of treatment. FCCP attempts to overcome treatment barriers by providing in-home parent management training and family sessions when treatment barriers prevent the client’s family from attending sessions at the clinic. Additionally, FCCP provides mentors to clients to increase the opportunity for positive peer interactions and provide transportation to appointments. Many of the clients served at FCCP come from economically disadvantaged communities where treatment barriers minimize access to care.

In addition to providing individual and family therapy, student clinicians also provide group therapy to clients with trauma histories. Next year, FCCP will be providing a group for adolescents involved in resource care, children (ages 5-7) with sexual abuse histories, and children (aged 8-11) with sexual abuse histories. While providing treatment, student clinicians offer training and consultation to caregivers, DCP&P caseworkers, community organizations, school personnel and other professions. They also complete thorough intakes and post-treatment assessments at the beginning and end of treatment, respectively, and make recommendations based on findings to optimize each child’s functioning. FCCP and those student clinicians admitted to the program are passionate about improving outcomes for children with trauma histories, specifically those from socio-economically disadvantaged environments, and reducing the gap in services for this vulnerable population.

Supervisor - Lindsay Liotta Anderson, PsyD
Funded Students -
Maria Alba, Russi Soffer, Amanda Elliott, Katherine Bailey

Rutgers University, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP)
Psychological Services Clinic, Group Psychotherapy Services

Group Psychotherapy Services (GPS) is a specialty clinic and training opportunity for graduate students at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) at Rutgers University, which provides therapy groups for a diverse range of clients.
Groups are led by student clinicians in the doctoral clinical psychology training program at GSAPP. These services are offered as part of a comprehensive training model in group psychotherapy. Group leaders receive supervision from GSAPP faculty as well as professional psychologists in the community. Unlike other programs, these groups are run entirely by student co-facilitators, who are in turn supervised by expert clinicians. The combination of coursework and supervised experience creates an accumulation of expertise and experience that is rare in other graduate training programs, but typical of GSAPP.

What makes GPS a unique program is its student-centered model. The program was initiated almost a decade ago by eager students. It continues to be maintained by the involvement of students who genuinely care about the provision of group therapy services to a diverse range of community members. In addition, because GPS serves the community at large, and not just the student population at Rutgers, the GSAPP doctoral students are able to run groups over an extended period of time. As a student-run program, the GSAPP students also have the opportunity, which is unique among psychology graduate school training programs, to take on administrative responsibilities under the supervision of Dr. David Panzer. GPS relies each year on two GSAPP doctoral students, who run groups and act as clinic coordinators and provide administrative support that is critical to its operation. The students also gain important clinical experience attending disposition conferences to provide guidance as to who would be a good candidate for a group, and they provide outreach services into the community. This application is to address financial need for two doctoral students as the clinic coordinators in 2018-2019. In this role, these students receive invaluable experience leading groups and running a Group Psychotherapy Services clinic and ensure to the ongoing success of this student-run program, as the clinic cannot function without their support.

Supervisor - Andrea Quinn, PsyD
Funded Students -
Saul Beck, Adam Gladstone

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Center (RDTC) 
Game-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Externship (GB-CBT)

The doctoral students in this application will be providing treatment and assessment services for an at-risk, underserved trauma population, as part of GB-CBT externship track at the Metropolitan Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.  The Metro RDTC is one of four RDTCs in New Jersey committed to providing medical and psychological evaluations and care for survivors of child abuse and neglect.  It is housed in a Child Advocacy Center that bears the distinction of being the first and only fully co-located Child Advocacy Center in New Jersey with all partners onsite.  Onsite partners include the Essex County Prosecutor’s (ECPO) Special Victims Unit (SVU), Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s (NBIMC) Metropolitan Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Center (RDTC), the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), and a team of not-for-profit professionals, including a Family Advocate.  Providing services in this multidisciplinary setting allows for an integrated and coordinated response to abuse and neglect for a community in-need of significant services. Families served at the RDTC are predominantly from economically disadvantaged, urban communities.  

The RDTC provides forensic evaluations when child maltreatment is suspected, psychological screenings for children recently placed in foster care, and various mental health services including group, individual and family therapy using multiple orientations (e.g. trauma focused-cognitive behavioral therapy, game-based cognitive behavioral therapy, eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), play therapy, and psychodynamic psychotherapy).  The mission of the RDTC is to provide a sensitive and caring setting for children and their families in which they can receive professional and compassionate assessment and therapeutic interventions.  

In addition to receiving extensive training in childhood trauma and treatment, the doctoral students in this application will be involved in all aspects of the Game-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (GB-CBT) program at the RDTC.  GB-CBT is a unique and integrative approach which fuses cognitive behavioral therapy with structured play therapy.  Externs will be providing GB-CBT treatment using individual, family and group modalities, while receiving supervision in order to ensure that treatment is delivered in a culturally competent manner to our predominantly low SES, African-American and Latino population.   The GB-CBT program provides research based treatment in an accessible and convenient format for families involved in child protective services in the greater Newark area.  Additionally, as we are housed within the Child Advocacy Center, we are able to help link families with community resources.   The program contributes to the advancement of the field by preparing doctoral students to provide culturally competent and effective treatment, while also allowing them to collaborate on applied clinical research.

Students in this application will also receive extensive training on the assessment of child maltreatment, trauma-related symptomatology, and functional impairment using evidence-based strategies.  They will then use this training to conduct maltreatment psychosocial evaluations.   Each student will receive supervision prior to and after each evaluation.  Students will not be engaging in forensic evaluations to be presented before the court.

During the externship application process, the aforementioned externs communicated their commitment to serving underserved families and individuals with trauma histories.  Many of our students attend doctoral programs outside of New Jersey and opt to travel in order to gain experience working with our population.   Funding for these doctoral students would represent a token of gratitude for their service to a community in-need of dedicated professionals, while also communicating NJPA’s commitment to supporting students in their training to provide evidence-based practice in underserved, at-risk communities.  

Supervisor - Barbara A. Prempeh, PsyD
Funded Students - 
Stephanie Anismatta, Courtney Clark, Maria Poston, Tamara Quezada

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Center (RDTC)
General Track Externship

The Regional Diagnostic & Treatment Center General Track psychology doctoral students will be providing psychological treatment and assessment services for the mostly at-risk, underserved population of children involved with the child welfare system in Essex County, NJ.  The Metro RDTC is one of New Jersey’s four state-designated specialty centers for the evaluation and treatment of abused and neglected children. The RDTC provides forensic evaluation when child maltreatment is suspected, psychological screenings for children recently placed in foster care, and a mental health services including individual and group therapy. Each of these services is explained in detail below.  The mission of the RDTC is to provide compassionate, expert medical and psychosocial services for suspected victims of all types of child abuse and neglect, including physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and emotional abuse and emotional trauma. We also provide family education and therapeutic programs as well as clinical training, and community training about child maltreatment.

Psychosocial Evaluations are specialized forensic assessments focused on evaluating child abuse (usually sexual abuse but also physical abuse). Students received extensive training on how to conduct these evaluations; topics covered include the following: APSAC guidelines for child abuse assessment, assessment of child-on-child sexual behavior problems, suggestibility with young child, developmentally-appropriate ways to question children about abuse and the child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome.  In addition, guest speakers conduct trainings on becoming an expert in child abuse, medical aspects of child abuse and the legal prosecution of child abuse cases.  Of note, students will not be engaging in forensic evaluations to be presented before the court.   

CHEC evaluations are comprehensive (psychological + medical) evaluations for children who have recently been placed in an out-of- home placement (e.g., relative care, foster care or in a shelter) to ensure they are receiving the psychological services and medical services they need.  CHEC evaluations allow for multidisciplinary collaboration with our medical staff.  Students are also trained to assess for high risk situations that might require the child’s/adolescent’s removal from their foster home (e.g., in cases where there is suspected abuse in the foster home or where the child is suicidal, homicidal or psychotic).

Externs will also provide individual and group therapy with children who have experienced various forms of maltreatment.  Students will carry a caseload of 4-5 therapy cases and they will be engaged in weekly supervision for a minimum of 1 individual hour with a licensed psychologist.  Students also receive on-site supervision following each evaluation (totaling approximately ½ hour – 1 hour/each week). Didactics/group supervisions is also a weekly 1.5 hours of supervision by a licensed psychologist weekly.  Total supervisor hours is approximately 2 ½ - 3 hours a week. RDTC mental health clinical staff (psychologists, social workers, licensed practical counselors) come from a variety of theoretical orientations (e.g. cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic psychotherapy, DBT) and students are exposed to multiple orientations.  All mental health staff and students are trained in the empirically supported/evidence-based model of Trauma-Focused CBT model developed by Ester Deblinger. Externs are also provided training and the manual for John Briere’s Integrative Therapy for Complex Trauma for Adolescents (ITCT-A).

During the externship application process, each of the aforementioned externs communicated their commitment to serving individuals with complex trauma histories in need of services.  Funding for these doctoral students would be a tangible symbol of gratitude for their service to a community in-need of dedicated, specially trained professionals, while also communicating NJPA’s commitment to supporting students in their training to provide evidence-based practice in underserved, at-risk communities.   

Supervisor - Karyn C. Smarz, PhD
Funded Students
Joshua Cohen, Melissa Jermann, Christina Diaz,  Molly Dafner


FDU Center for Psychological Services, Hackensack, NJ
Each year the doctoral students on externship at our low-fee clinic are invited to submit proposals for the development and implementation of an independent project – completed under the direction of Dr. Stefanie Ulrich, PsyD – that will enhance clinical services for one or more specifically underserved populations of patients.  The work that the student dedicates to the project is over and above the student’s full time (20-30 hrs/week) clinic externship here at the Center for Psychological Services where we serve those most in need. 

The CATCH Program, Orange
Initiated by Dr. Helen Strauss.  An in-school group program for at risk adolescent girls. Graduate students were funded for training to facilitate weekly groups that addressed the family, social, and interpersonal concerns of these girls.  This model has now been replicated by graduate psychologists in other communities with an elementary population.

The Youth Development Clinic, Newark
Initiated by Dr. Melissa Rivera Marano.  Bi-lingual graduate students were funded to work with the Family Support Team to provide treatment for at-risk children in an inner city school two days per week. 

The York Street Project, Jersey City
Supervised by Sr. Maureen D’Auria.  This is a transitional residence for disadvantaged women and their infants where they receive psychotherapy, a high school education, job training, parent education, and day care.