The Challenge Program
The Challenge Program is a partial hospitalization program
for children ages 5-17. Children in this program, typically,
have had histories of psychiatric hospitalization or residential
treatment or are at risk for such treatment.
Depending upon the severity of the presenting difficulties
youngsters may attend either a full or half day program.
The full day program (8:30AM to 3PM) includes
both a clinical and education component. The clinical component
provides four hours of psychiatric and therapeutic services.
The educational component meets all state requirements for
out of school instruction and is typically two hours per
day. At present the full day program is offered exclusively
to children in the kindergarten to third grade range of
The half day program is in operation five
afternoons per week (2PM-5:30 PM) and offers three hours
of psychiatric and therapeutic services. In the half day
program children are assigned to one of four age groupings
(5-7, 8-9, 10-12, adolescent).
The clinical services for both the full and half day components
include individual and family therapy with a primary clinician
(social worker or psychologist), and group therapy by age
group. Daily milieu activities are led by mental health
specialists. Within the context of a behavior modification
program, children have opportunities to develop social and
adaptive skills, while stabilizing acute symptoms. All children
are examined psychiatrically prior to admission to the program,
and are followed by a psychiatrist regularly throughout
their course in the program.
Referrals to the Challenge Program are made by professionals
by calling the Access Center (1-800-969-5300). Children
may also be referred to the Challenge Program from Child
and Adolescent Outpatient Services, by consulting with the
child’s primary therapist. Services must be authorized
by the NJ Contract System Administrator for partial hospital
level of care and children attending the full day program
must be authorized by their sending education district to
receive out of school instruction.
For further information you may contact the Clinician Supervisor
for the Challenge Program, Dr. Wanda Edwards, 973-972-1084.
Behavioral Health Sciences Building
183 South Orange Avenue
Newark, New Jersey 07103