August 17, 2017--FY2018 New Jersey State Budget
FY2018 New Jersey State Budget includes an allocation of $5M for a statewide pediatric collaborative care program. These funds will extend the current collaborative care pilot that is operational in eleven counties to the entire state. This decision by New Jersey Lawmakers marks the culmination of 10 years of advocacy work by the New Jersey Council of Child & Adolescent Psychiatrists (NJCCAP) and other stakeholders focused on improving children's mental health services. NJCCAP's membership is nearly 250 members strong. Your collective commitment to your regional organization has made this victory possible!

July 27, 2017--Tuition Reimbursement Legislation
Your advocacy representatives in NJCCAP leadership ensured that eligible child and adolescent psychiatrists are specifically included in recent tuition reimbursement legislation. This legislation covers psychiatrists working in under-served areas or state psychiatric hospitals. The original language of the bill inadvertently excluded child and adolescent psychiatrists because the longer fellowship training requirement was not contemplated by the legislature while structuring the program. Through your advocacy representatives' efforts, the oversight was noted during legislative review. Revised language given to bill sponsors that specifically included child and adolescent psychiatrists was incorporated. The full text of the bill that was signed into law by the Governor can be found here. NJCCAP remains ready to continue its advocacy efforts on your behalf! If you would like more information about this work and joining us as we fight to protect our patients and our members please contact Debra Koss, MD, Advocacy Liaison, at

March 7, 2017--The growing trend toward legalization of marijuana is linked to decreased perception of harm and increased marijuana use. These trends are particularly alarming for children and adolescents. Studies show that marijuana is harmful to the developing brain. The New Jersey Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (NJCCAP) is committed to engaging and informing legislators and other decision-makers about the adverse effects of marijuana on children and teens. We emphasize employing evidence based research to inform legislation. To this end, the NJCCAP has recently developed a Policy Statement on Marijuana to guide our efforts in advocacy and education.
A planned course of treatment is the result of thoughtful deliberation and collaboration between patient and physician. Yet patients and physicians often face significant barriers to implementing evidence-based, patient-centered care. Utilization management programs, such as prior authorization and step therapy, create obstacles for patients and place onerous administrative burdens on physicians that divert time and expertise from direct patient care. In January 2017, the American Medical Association, joined by 16 coalition partners including the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, released a document entitled Prior Authorization and Utilization Management Reform Principles. This document outlines 21 specific principles on utilization management programs in order to reduce the negative impact they have on patients and providers. The NJCCAP has signed on as a supporter of this document and will collaborate with NJ stakeholders to bring these principles to the attention of NJ legislators and decision-makers. Any questions or comments may be directed to Debra E. Koss, MD, FAACAP, NJCCAP’s Advocacy Liaison, at

January 15, 2017--In Governor Christie's State of the State Address this week he announced $5 million for expanding the Pediatric Behavioral Health Hub in NJ. NJCCAP's effort to establish a statewide pediatric collaborative care program began almost ten years ago when it was the recipient of two AACAP Advocacy & Collaboration Grants. We, along with many stakeholder groups, have been advocating ever since and have had members directly involved in the pilot programs as co-principal investigators, consultants and care providers. This is a team victory for CAPs and for children and youth in NJ. More information will follow on the Advocacy page of our website at

Jill Brafford, AACAP Director of Meetings; Representative Leonard Lance (R- NJ 7th District); Debra Koss, MD, FAACAP; Jessica Bayner, MDThe New Jersey Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (NJCCAP) has a longstanding commitment to mental health advocacy. Protecting scope of practice for child and adolescent psychiatrists and promoting improved access to mental health care for children and youth is central to NJCCAP’s mission. Today, our advocacy efforts are fully integrated with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), allowing unprecedented access to resources and services. NJCCAP is actively involved in federal and state level advocacy initiatives educating legislators about the importance of children’s mental health.

NJCCAP is a member of the AACAP Advocacy Liaison Network. As part of this network, NJCCAP Advocacy Liaisons (ALs) participate in monthly conference calls facilitated by staff from the AACAP Government Affairs. These calls provide an opportunity to receive updates on federal legislative and regulatory priorities as well as review strategies to organize grassroots advocacy efforts. Learn more about the role of an AL

At the federal level, NJCCAP members participate in the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s annual Legislative Conference. This event is an opportunity for members, and family and youth advocates, to promote children’s mental health on Capitol Hill. Please consider joining NJCCAP in Washington DC at the next conference: May 11 – 12, 2017. To learn more about this advocacy event, please visit the AACAP Legislative Conference webpage.

At the state level, NJCCAP has partnered with the NJ Psychiatric Association and the Medical Society of NJ to oppose legislation that would grant psychologists full prescribing privileges after completing only a 400 hour on-line course in psychopharmacology. This legislation fails to require sufficient education and training and does not require any specialized training or clinical supervision in pediatrics, thus placing children and youth at risk. Learn more about this bill.

Additionally, NJCCAP remains committed to promoting integrated care models as a way to improve access to mental health care and promote collaboration between mental health care professionals and primary care providers. NJCCAP continues to support legislation that will advance the role of psychiatrists in these models and create payment models and funding mechanisms that will foster sustainability of pilot programs.

Members may contact Debra E. Koss, MD, FAACAP for additional information at