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Wellspring Implements Substance Use Navigators in County

Many families, schools, and systems are facing the issue of teen addictions. Often times, when services are needed, those around the teens are unsure of where to get help. The role of the Substance Use Navigator includes:

  • Build inter-system relationships and serve as a resource for system partners and the community at large within one- of the 15 defined service areas (all counties are represented).
  • Focus is on supporting seamless access to and treatment of substance use services including, but not limited to, Children's System of Care services, specialized treatment needs of transition age youth, and helping community partners to recognize indicators of substance use and how appropriate services are accessed.
  • Become fully knowledgeable of the continuum of care within the Children's System of Care, as well as all available substance use treatment services, providers, and advocacy agencies within the defined service area.

Major Functions and Expectations of the SU Navigators include:

  • Collaboration with System Partners
  • Identify, lead, support and inform collaboration among all youth serving systems.
  • Collaborate with all system partners on a routine and ongoing basis.
  • Assessment
    o The Navigator will engage in a two-fold needs assessment process that is the Children's System of Care and the broader stakeholder community to increase knowledge and understanding regarding adolescent substance use needs and available services in the identified community.
  • Consultation Services
    o Planning, implementation and oversight of community strategic plans.

The Substance Use Navigator will work to identify, lead, support, and inform collaboration among all youth-serving systems including, but not limited to:

  • Care Management Organizations (GMO)
  • The Courts
  • Local law enforcement entities
  • NJ DCF Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P)
  • Substance use treatment providers
  • Mental health treatment providers
  • Children's Inter-Agency Coordinating Council (CIACC)
  • County Government
  • Juvenile Justice System including Detention and JOA/
  • Family Support Organization (FSO)
  • Mobile Response and Stabilization Services (MRSS)
  • Local Advisory Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (LACADA)
  • Human Services Advisory Council (HSAC)
  • County Substance Use Coordinator
  • Schools
  • Pediatricians
  • Intensive In Community (/IC) providers

Currently, one individual is on-staff to perform the above duties.

Valerie WrightValerie Wright joined Wellspring Center for Prevention as a Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) in early 2018. She began her career in social services by earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Regent University and her graduate degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University where she focused on trauma and addictions. Over her career, Valerie has served many youth and adults in Somerset County in a variety of local facilities.

Valerie focused her efforts on providing counseling and case management services for those suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders at inpatient and outpatient mental health centers, and hospitals. Most recently, Valerie provided in-home therapeutic services to youth with developmental disabilities. Valerie volunteers as a New Jersey certified Disaster Response Crisis Counselor (DRCC), as well as a certified Emergency Response Team (CERT) member for Somerset County.

To reach Valerie, you can email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call her at 732-353-9075.

The Substance Use Navigator program is made possible thanks to a grant from New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families’ NJ Children’s System of Care.
For more information about the SUN program, please contact Helen Varvi, Deputy Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. program is made available through a grant from the NJ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

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