Hope. Heal. Thrive.

aka Preferred Behavioral Health Group   |   Lakewood, NJ   |


Mission Statement: Our Mission is to change lives and save lives across the state of New Jersey. Vision: Our Vision is to be the first choice for individuals, families, communities, and organizations in need of care. Values: Our Values are compassion, quality, and belonging through innovative, integrated care. Promise: Our Promise is to remain rooted in our mission through a trauma-informed culture.

Notes from the nonprofit

Established in 1978, Preferred Behavioral Health of New Jersey was formed to provide outpatient therapy and mental health services to individuals of all ages. Today, our 501(c)(3) nonprofit provides comprehensive behavioral healthcare to include substance use and mental health disorders and offers a full array of programs and services to meet the needs of children, adolescents and adults, including individual/family/group therapy, senior-specific programs, transitional residential and independent living facilities. Our programs are geared to specific populations, substance use and mental health advocacy, education and prevention. We offer outpatient substance use treatment as well as employee assistance programs. PBHG has partnered with the largest behavioral health pharmacy provider in the country (Genoa Healthcare) to provide quality pharmacy services to our consumers.

Sources of financial support include provider fees from government (Medicare/Medicaid) and private health insurance organizations, state, county and local departments/agencies and consumers, as well as grants and donations.

In early 2014, the leadership of nonprofit affiliate organizations Prevention First, Preferred Behavioral Health of New Jersey, Preferred Children's Services and Preferred Behavioral Health Foundation concluded that families, children and individuals are best-served when quality healthcare services are available in a seamless, continuum. To that end, we joined forces to create one flexible, integrated organization to enhance lives and envelop their missions. In June 2014, Preferred Family of Services, Inc., doing business as Preferred Behavioral Health Group, was born.

On January 1, 2017, Preferred Behavioral Health Group became an affiliate of Oaks Integrated Care, with the State of New Jersey and the Boards of Trustees of both organizations approving the affiliation. While becoming a member of the Oaks family of services, Preferred Behavioral Health Group remains an independent company under the leadership of CEO Mary Pat Angelini.

This new affiliation will enhance our mission, expand services and strengthen our ability to succeed in the changing healthcare environment. It has unified two clinically strong, financially healthy organizations with a shared mission of improving the quality of life for individuals and families living with a mental illness, addiction or developmental disability. Together, we will strengthen service delivery, maximize efficiencies and most importantly, give more people access to compassionate, quality care.

For more information, visit

Ruling year info



Dr. Tara Chalakani

Main address

PO Box 2036

Lakewood, NJ 08701 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

The Northern Ocean Counseling Service, Inc.



NTEE code info

Mental Health Treatment (F30)

Family Counseling, Marriage Counseling (P46)

Alcohol, Drug and Substance Abuse, Dependency Prevention and Treatment (F20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Serving the community for nearly 50 years, Preferred Behavioral Health Group has been an invaluable resource for those experiencing the challenges of behavioral health, including Substance Use and Mental Illness. Preferred Behavioral Health Group offers 70 comprehensive programs that provide prevention, education, and treatment services. In addition PBHG has successfully collaborated with local schools, law enforcement, and other community organizations. PBHG has over 350 certified and professional staff members that include psychiatric prescribers, APN's, clinical social workers, substance abuse counselors, case manager, nurses, and psychologists. With over 20,000 individuals served every year, our philosophy is to encourage, promote and facilitate empowerment and hope for those we treat, as well as expectations for recovery and wellness. We strive to continuously augment our programs and advance the quality of our services. We are changing lives and saving lives every day,

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?


The SAIL program serves adolescents 13-18 years old who are at risk for out-of-home placement due to behavioral or emotional issues. The milieu focuses on maximizing learning, growth and daily living skills through the following services: intake assessment, psychiatric evaluation, medication monitoring, substance abuse education, individual, family and group counseling, case coordination, educational support and liaison services, life skills training, therapeutic recreation, socialization, respite care, crisis intervention, meals and transportation.

Population(s) Served

Healthy Families serves to prevent abuse and neglect of children under three years of age by providing early risk identification and intervention to families at risk. Assistance to at-risk parents is provided to promote positive child development for their infants and young children. The program staff ensures that families at risk for child abuse and neglect recieve appropriate health and supportive services as well as identify and build on family strengths and support parents as the primary caregivers and nurturers of their children.

Population(s) Served

This program is designed to give adolescents ages 16-21 a head start for responsible living as young adults. Each participant is given a comprehensive independent living skills assessment to determine life skills proficiency levels. Intensive training is then provided through both educational groups and individual skills training sessions. Participation in the program is at least six months long but can continue as long as the youth's commitment to obtaining the goal is evident.

Population(s) Served
Young adults

The School-Based Youth Services Programs address the social and health needs of teens in a comprehensive, one-stop shopping, non-stigmatized manner in their school setting in order to promote healthy youth development. These programs provide a full array of behavioral health and social services to the students and their families within the Lakewood and Brick school districts. These services include, but are not limited to: individual, group and family counseling, case management, substance abuse services, college exposure, job readiness training and recreation.

Population(s) Served

Children's Mobile Response and Stabilization Services are available to families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, when a child is in crisis. The severity of the crisis cannot warrant psychiatric hospitalization or arrest by the police department. This in-home intervention is available in order to diffuse and stabilize the child and family in their home.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Al's Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices
Beginning Awareness and Basic Education Skills (BABES)
Drug Jeopardy
Footprints for Life
Forest Friends
Project Oz (for students with special needs)

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Children and youth

Keys to Innervisions
LifeSkillsTM Training
Safe Dates
Anti-Bullying 101
Courageous KidsTM
Cyberbullying Assembly
It Takes CourageTM
What If?TM

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Our Substance Use Services provide recommendations and referrals designed to help individuals and families make informed decisions about the next step.

Substance Use Services are provided by licensed addiction counselors, licensed social workers, licensed family therapists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners and nurses who collaborate and develop tailored treatment. These are all evidence-based services making sure that everything we do, we do with quality and high standards for better outcomes.

Population(s) Served

Behavioral Modification Support, Psychological & Psychiatric Evaluations,Senior Counseling Services,Individual & Family Counseling and Therapy

Population(s) Served

We offer a full-service EAP with a variety of options tailored to specific companies or organizations. We have been providing EAP services in New Jersey for over 25 years. We employ licensed professional clinicians with diverse specialties who are available to provide assessment, short-term problem solving and referrals to long-term providers or other resources in the community.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Best Practices Award 2018

CIANJ Commerce Magazine

Employer of the Year Award 2019


59 Best Women In Business - CEO, Mary Pat Angelini 2020


Behavioral Healthcare Provider of the Year 2020

NJ Crisis Intervention Team

Font Line Leadership Award 2020


Advocacy of the Year Award 2020

Mental Health Association of New Jersey, Ocean County

Silver Gull Community Award 2021

Monmouth Ocean Development Council (MODC)

Leadership and Advocacy Recognition Award, CEO, Mary Pat Angelini 2021

New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, (NJAMHAA)

Hero Award, Danielle Farrell 2021

Mental Health Association in New Jersey

Inspiring Leader, Nicole Dorrity 2021

New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA)

Pivotal Leader in Children's Services 2021

New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA)

Supervisor of the Year, Anna Kline 2022

New Jersey Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association

Healthcare Heroes Award 2023


Empowering Women Award 2023


Athena Finalist, Dr. Tara Chalakani 2023

Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce

Futuristic Leader in Children's Services Award 2023

New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA)

Outstanding Leader in Chldren's Services Award 2023

New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA)

Affiliations & memberships

Oaks Integrated Care 2017

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of individuals receiving services for mental health and substance use disorders.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth, At-risk youth

Related Program

Mental Health Services

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

As the premier behavioral health organization in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, we proudly support the needs of the local community with the following strategies, key differentiators and unparalleled strengths:

For nearly 50 years, PBHG has been an integral and trusted community partner, able to quickly respond and adapt to the ever-changing health needs of the community, by providing integrated care with the highest levels of compassion and quality.

PBHG is a trauma informed organization that promotes integrated health
and self-care through an empathetic perspective that recognizes and embraces cultural differences

PBHG offers a full spectrum of comprehensive health services starting with preventative and educational programs to the highest level of integrated care for all ages and stages of life.

With innovative programming, new technology, and strategic partnerships with major health systems and universities/colleges, PBHG is proud to be a site for numerous pilot programs of trailblazing behavioral health initiatives never before offered in NJ.

Strategic Organization: Preferred Behavioral Health Group (PBHG) shall embrace a culture which identifies for its workforce a clear stable foundation based on the organization's Mission, Values, Promise, and Strategic priorities. It is upon this foundation that the organization is flexible and dynamic, rapidly adapting and “rolling" with changes in the environment. Our ability to adapt and evolve will ensure our long term viability so that we can provide the services and support critical for the health and well-being of our clients based in our community.
In 2019, PBHG became a Trauma Informed organization. Trauma Informed Care is an organization-wide initiative which includes all employees and has been integrated in all programs in the four Centers of excellence. As a Trauma Informed Care organization, we have bolstered our treatment and support of clients by understanding the profound neurological, biological, psychological, and social effects trauma has on individuals. The current data indicates that 90% of all individuals with a mental illness have experienced a trauma at some time during their lives. Our plan is to continue to be the lead in Trauma Informed Care in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, as well as throughout New Jersey.

Preferred Behavioral Health has focused on meeting the growing need for exceptional behavioral health services for individuals of all ages since its inception in the 1970's. During 2020 -2022, we had unprecedented years of challenges, resilience and healing. The critical need for behavioral health care support and treatment had not only continued, but had increased significantly. With the onset of the 2020 pandemic, we immediately adopted a new business model with has been very effective in managing our clients' needs. We changed the way in which we are staying connected with our clients and the community, using telehealth and telepsychiatry applications. This uncertain time takes a toll on all individuals, from children to seniors. PBHG is here to protect, support, and treat the most vulnerable in our community. Individuals with preexisting mental illness or substance use are extremely susceptible to exacerbation of their conditions or possible relapses. We continue to see an upsurge with our clients and many new clients who are coming to PBHG for counseling and treatment. Communication, counseling, and therapy are critical in maintaining treatment and recovery practices.

Today, the organization provides comprehensive behavioral health care and offers a full array of programs and services to meet the needs of people of all ages, including individual, family and group therapy, programs designed for senior citizens, transitional residential and independent living facilities, advocacy, education and substance use treatment.

Our professional clinical and administrative staff are highly trained and educated with a diversified array of credentials. PBHG has partnered with the largest behavioral health pharmacy in the country (Genoa Healthcare) to provide quality pharmacy services to our clients and staff.

The challenges are great, our resilience is strong, and healing is progressing. Whatever the future holds, we are committed and driven to supporting our mission, so no one who comes to us ever feels isolated, lost, or alone.

Last year, Preferred Behavioral Health Group provided services for over 20,000 individuals through 70 specialized and customized programs. We serve individuals from birth 104 years old at our 15 locations, as well as in many of the local schools. Preferred Behavioral Health Group has over 400 staff members that include advanced practice nurses, clinical social workers, professional counselors, substance abuse counselors, case managers, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, residents, and interns. The challenges of mental illness and substance use do not discriminate. They impact individuals of all ages, all races, all genders, and from all socioeconomic groups. It requires a united effort to address these challenges, so we collaborate with local schools, law enforcement and other community organizations. We also have strong working relationships with the local major health systems, offering complementary programs for their patients who need co-occurring treatment, longer term, or intensive outpatient programs; for people with or without insurance. Together, we are providing the best treatment options.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Board of directors
as of 12/21/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Randy Minniear

Mercury Public Affairs

Term: 2023 - 2024

Board co-chair

John Maldjian

Stevens & Lee, P.C.

Term: 2018 - 2026

Tara Chalakani

Preferred Behavioral Health Group

Benjamin Waldron


Craig Coleman

Retired Educator

David Salewski

Oaks Integrated Care

Derry Holland

Oaks Integrated Care

Grace M. Hanlon

Jersey Shore Partnership

Stephen E. Trimboli, Esq.

Trimboli & Prusinowski LLC

Philip R. Beachem

NJ Alliance for Action

Randy J. Minniear

Mercury Public Affairs

Charles Melita

Integrated Financial Concepts

Lynn Maurer

TD Bank

Michael Kokes

Kokes Properties

Suzanne Parchment

ARC of Monmouth County

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/12/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latina, White/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/11/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.