Christine Karapalides-Scalise NJ Mental Health Tsar
Christine Karapalides-Scalise, daughter of Jerry A. and Andrea Karapalides, was born and raised in southern New Jersey, and grew up in a typical Greek-American household where she worked at her parents’ diners and attended church at St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. She married Michael Scalise over forty years ago, and they have a daughter, Rosemary Evangelia Scalise.
In 1989, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Magna Cum Laude) and in 1991 her Master of Arts in Student Personnel Counseling Services from Rowan University. She has over twenty-five years’ experience in behavioral health and currently manages the State of New Jersey’s Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services Special Initiatives, Women and Families Unit, where she is responsible for managing multiple programs and services with a combined annual budget of $25 million. She is a New Jersey Licensed Professional Counselor, a Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and a Disaster Response Crisis Counselor. Prior to her state government career, Christine worked for a private non- profit children’s social service agency where she designed, developed and implemented program services for at-risk families.
During her tenure with the State of New Jersey, she has been instrumental in implementing New Jersey’s Child Welfare Reform substance use disorder treatment recommendations and establishing a collaborative partnership with child welfare to ensure the provision of treatment services. She has designed initiatives with other State Departments to address the opioid crisis, with a specific focus on women and families. In 2015, she was selected to be a member of SAMHSA’s Women’s Addiction Services leadership Institute and many other professional organizations, including the New Jersey Task Force on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder; New Jersey Statewide Strategic Planning Team for the Elimination of Perinatal HIV Transmission; New Jersey DCF Statewide Infant Child Health Committee Member; and, New Jersey Fetal and Infant Mortality Review HIV State Case Review Team. Christine is also a lecturer at many State conferences and conventions.
Christine is a recipient of many New Jersey State and Service awards, and Cumberland County Child Assessment Resource Team Service Award 2004. She is contributing author of “Child Welfare 94 Years of Excellence 1922 – 2015” Special Issue Families in Child Welfare Affected by Substance Abuse, and “A Collaborative Approach to the Treatment of Pregnant Women with Opioid Use Disorders.”
Submitted by Harry Karapalides, Christine’s brother