November 23, 2021

Rep. Jamaal Bowman Leads CARES Program Briefing

NEWS: Rep. Jamaal Bowman Leads CARES Program Briefing

NEW YORK – Today, Congressman Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) led a briefing on the CARES program as part of his “Week of Healing” to collaborate with local leaders on how best to use community resources and healing tools to support youth in New York’s 16th Congressional District and beyond. 

Comprehensive Adolescent Rehabilitation and Education Service (CARES) is a program available for youth aged 14-19 who need dedicated support and resources for mental health, as well as overcoming substance use disorder. The program employs various types of therapy to teach students how to handle their emotions and in turn reduce violence or self-harming tendencies. Students in CARES also access the benefits of a full curriculum through the New York City Department of Education’s ReStart Academy (District 79). 

“This pandemic has left many of our youth in precarious situations and in environments that are not conducive to their mental health and overall well-being. Many of the harsh realities our youth face were also exacerbated by the pandemic’s effect on moods and emotions as students returned to school in-person this year,” said Congressman Jamaal Bowman. “The CARES program has transformed students’ lives and is an excellent example for local leaders to draw from for inspiration as we seek more solutions to heal our communities. We cannot ignore that our young people are suffering and hurting. The increase in violence and substance use we have seen more recently needs to be addressed. If we give young people the tools to care about themselves and others more, we can change the trajectory of their lives and our world. I implore every community leader to join me in that effort.”

“CARES plays a critical role in the lives of the young people we work with because of the deep integration of intensive psychological treatment with a complete high school education,” said Dr. Shilpa Taufique, Director, CARES, Mt. Sinai Morningside. “All too often, falling behind in school can make mental health and substance use issues worse, which is why the therapeutic interventions are so much more effective when coupled with the day-to-day experience of going to school with peers. We are incredibly grateful to Congressman Jamaal Bowman and his colleagues for acknowledging and supporting our program, and we are excited for the societal change this model could bring if implemented more broadly.”

CARES works to reverse the trauma students face that often plays out in the classroom and on school grounds by addressing the root of substance use, behavioral problems, and mood-related disorders. In a Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety, violent deaths and school shootings on average increased over the past decade, significantly rising between 2017 and 2020. The rate of students being exposed to illegal drugs also seemed to remain consistent for the past decade. As a community and a nation, we must work to change our school environments and improve the ability of our youth to cope with trauma and seek productive solutions to the challenges they face.