What do you do for students who are unable to participate in school because of anxiety and school refusal problems? First Children Services has a solution with our Transitions Program, an educational program for students with anxiety and school refusal.

Students who refuse to attend school because of anxiety, depression, fears, social skill problems, or family related difficulties present a considerable challenge for school personnel and parents. The longer a child remains out of school and on home instruction, the more difficult it becomes for the child to return to school.

The Transitions Program offers an intervention program for school avoiding students in elementary, middle and high school.  The educational program for children with anxiety challenges consists of academic and emotional support for students who need to return to school.  As students progress through the program, our professional staff will assist students, parents, and school district with a re-entry plan into school.

We are an approved Clinic and Agency with the New Jersey Department of Education for home instruction and counseling.

First Children’s Transitions Program Facts


  • The Transitions Program is an educational program for children with anxiety and school refusal.
  • We are a New Jersey Department of Education approved clinic and agency.
  • Program hours are: Full Day-8:45 am-2:45 pm.
  • The Transitions Program employs only New Jersey Department of Education certified teachers.
  • Our Curriculum follows the NJ Student Learning Standards.
  • Counseling is provided in an individual and group setting by school social workers.

  • Our counseling has an emphasis on Mindfulness to help the students cope with anxiety.
  • Transportation is the responsibility of the sending district or parent.


Transitions Program Locations:

South Jersey Location

1256 Marlkress Road

Cherry Hill, NJ 08003


Central Jersey Location

569 Abbington Drive

East Windsor, NJ 08520


Contact the Transitions Program:

Valery Bailey

Phone: (856) 888-1097 Ext. 315

Email: vbailey@firstchildenservices.com


First Children Services also offers several home instruction programs for students who are not able to attend the Transitions Program.

Transitions Program in the News!


12 ways to help kids cope with school anxiety

Published 4:27 p.m. ET Aug. 8, 2017 by Candy Grande, For the Courier-Post

The first day of school is approaching and Melissa Langford knows some families are dreading its arrival. Not because warm summer days filled with swimming and barbecues are dwindling, but because school-related anxieties begin to surface – and she can empathize.

Langford’s son, Tim, 15, and getting ready to enter ninth grade, has been struggling with his school fears since third grade.

“It is very difficult,” says Langford, director of transitional educational services at First Children Services in Cherry Hill. “My husband and I would take Tim to elementary school kicking and screaming. It was like trying to pry a frog off the wall just to get him out of the house. And then once he got to school, he would start throwing up. I’d feel like a bad parent and I was only trying to do what was best for him.”

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Transitions Academy Makes A Difference For Students Suffering From Anxiety DisordersSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 By Stephanie Stahl CBS Philly news reported by Stephanie Stahl

“It’s a unique kind of school in New Jersey, that’s designed specifically to help students with anxiety disorders. For students with mental health issues school can be a nightmare, every day is a struggle, and it causes an alarming amount of absenteeism” reports Stephanie Stahl of CBS Philly news.  Stephanie spent the day visiting Transitions Program former student, Simon Michel, and his family and then First Children’s Transitions Program where she got to know our program for students for with anxiety challenges and school refusal.  After meeting with our staff and students, Stephanie was able to create a brief news piece that told the story of a small school in Cherry Hill that has transformed the lives of  many local students who suffer from anxiety that prevented them  from attending their public schools.  Please take a moment to view our story as told by Stephanie Stahl, Channel 3 CBS new reporter.

View News Clip


Education alchemy: Turning school from feared to favorite place 

Updated: APRIL 24, 2016 — 11:59 PM EDT by Rita Giordano, Staff Writer, Philadelphia Inquirer

With her friendly smile, firm handshake, and stylishly oversize glasses, it’s hard to imagine Eva Haydu, 17, not fitting in, let alone feeling unbearably sad.

Yet not long ago, that was so. She didn’t want to go to school. She gave up running track; she was too stressed, too easily tired. She was taken to a hospital because she felt like hurting herself.

Some people at Gateway Regional High School “didn’t understand how it feels to have anxiety,” the junior said. “I was depressed.”

But then the Westville girl learned about Transitions Academy, a small program in Cherry Hill that works with young people such as Haydu. Finally her problem was given a name:

“School refusal.”

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