United Way of Central Jersey logoFCCP uses a multisystemic, community- based treatment approach with children in foster care and their families to alleviate suffering from traumatic stress, separation and loss, abuse and neglect, often seeing some of the most complex cases.  We provide direct services to children and families, including needs assessment and short-term and long-term therapeutic interventions through play therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and therapeutic parent guidance as well as consultation and collaborative work with child protective workers, school personnel, and other professionals.   We also provide training to caregivers, agency workers, school personnel and other professionals in topics such as adjustment to foster care, impact of trauma and loss, behavior management, sexual abuse, and stress management for caregivers.

Children in foster care are some of New Jersey's neediest and most vulnerable individuals.  Many come from chaotic home environments where they have experienced profound neglect, psychological maltreatment, physical and sexual abuse, and have been exposed to parental drug abuse, incarceration and domestic violence.  They have often switched homes and schools several times, never able to feel settled and secure.  There are approximately 500,000 children in foster care across the United States and approximately 10,000 of these are in New Jersey's foster care system.  For 20 years, the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology through its Center for Applied Psychology has provided counseling and prevention services to nearly 700 children in foster care and their families with the support of the New Jersey Division of Youth & Family Services.

Our group therapy program is designed to reach more youth in foster care, more efficiently, and often with more successful outcomes.  Groups allow several individuals to receive mental health services at once and thus get children off waiting lists at a faster pace.  They bring children together who feel extremely isolated and give them the opportunity to experience a sense of universality.  These group services are especially important to adolescents who are contemplating college, careers and independent living.  They give children with trust issues and attachment difficulties a safe and supportive place to make connections.

Few university-based training models in foster care for psychologists exist in New Jersey and tri-state area.  Our well trained clinicians are better prepared to help children and families most at-risk.  In addition to graduate student training, we provide a fieldwork course for undergraduates, many of whom go on to graduate school and/or careers working with these at-risk populations.

Here's what some of the participants in the adolescent girls group have said:

  • “I thank God that I joined this group and opened up to helped me point blank.”;
  • “I'm so glad that this group was created...Now I know I'm not alone in this world anymore!!”;
  • “I love group and I am so thankful that I got to meet such wonderful and strong people.”;

One girl, who seemed to be on a trajectory into the juvenile justice system, is heading off to college this fall.  Another disclosed a sexual abuse history which led to the investigation of a predator of generations of children in the family.   FCCP's services impact individual clients, their families, and communities.

For more information contact: 
Lindsay Liotta Anderson
Assistant Clinic Director, Center for Psychological Services
Director, Foster Care Counseling Project