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Listed below are a few examples of successful cross-systems practices.
The NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) in July 2010 announced a comprehensive solution to address the chronic need for community-based mental health alternatives in Brooklyn for children and their families, and the lack of intensive residential treatment in New York City for court-involved youth with mental health problems.
This plan will:
This investment is made possible through the reconfiguration of OMH services and the shift of OMH and OCFS resources. This expansion is responsive to the goals of New York State's Children's Plan. The Children's Plan was developed with input from thousands of New Yorkers and endorsed by all of New York's child-serving agencies. It recommends the proactive involvement of all stakeholders to intervene earlier, improve access to care, shift resources toward community-based services and improve the quality of service provision and delivery. Learn more about this exciting OMH/OCFS collaborative effort.
Nationally recognized practices for school success are being piloted in New York State through an initiative known as the Promise Zones. Promise Zones are a framework and not a specific prescription to create learning environments that engage students so that they are on-task and ready to learn. Promise Zones include three major components:
Promise Zones are one of the many cross-system initiatives of The Children's Plan. In recognition of the multiple and complex needs of children and their families, representatives from education, health, labor, child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, substance use, and community stakeholders from not-for profits and philanthropic organizations invested in children are all at the table devoted to building a model for success. Supporting these efforts is the Council on Children and Families and its Executive Director Deborah Benson, who states “Promise Zones reflect the intent of The Children's Plan and the cross-systems commitments made by state agency commissioners, together with youth and families, over the past three years. As we forge ahead trying to find better ways to help children achieve improved outcomes in school and in everyday life, we look to partnerships like Promise Zones as opportunities to engage schools and communities toward changing the life course for children and youth. We trust that our collective investments in planning and services will create model approaches and inspire other communities to take the actions necessary to help all children flourish and achieve their dreams.”
The Promise Zone model began with a state and national review of best and evidence based practices related to school success in high need and challenged communities. These practices are currently being applied in Buffalo, Syracuse and New York City. The state and local partners are working to create an integrated vision and sufficient state engagement to create a replicable approach. The challenge of developing a statewide, interagency framework is to identify the core components that are necessary for replicable success while recognizing the unique challenges, priorities and strategies of local districts. To meet these needs, the Promise Zone is a framework and not a specific prescription. Promise Zones include three major components working with and for local educational leaders, with district and community agency support:
An External Change Partner serves two primary purposes. The first is to be a coach focused on the success of the involved school(s) and the second is to access/coordinate resources (e.g. philanthropic support) within the community. The United Way (Erie County), Turnaround for Children (NYCity); Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) (NYCity) and Say Yes to Education (Syracuse) are currently serving in this role with our Promise Zone communities. In its coaching role, the External Change Partner will help the school to: assess its readiness, establish effective operational structures (e.g. managing the school climate, identifying students needing additional supports), train its staff and establish a successful resource network with the community.
Each participating school/district commits to establish support teams for students and to identify a school social worker position as the key triage person for each school. Support teams include one targeted to Instructional Support needs and one to a range of individual Student Support needs. The basic roles of these teams are:
Instructional Support Team (IST) A school improvement tool designed to improve instruction through increased professional collaboration, problem solving, reflection, and support among school personnel. Students with academic performance issues related to the teaching-learning nexus are referred for support and consultation.
Student Support Team (SST) The schools primary intervention team for students with academic, behavioral, and/or socio-emotional concerns. A multi-disciplinary team collaboratively develops, implements and monitors student intervention plans in order to support students, teachers, and parents.
The School Social Worker (SSW) is a keystone position accountable to the principal, providing leadership within the school on social/emotional development and learning issues, and continuity and coordination with the community service network. The role and function differs from many current school based social workers in that there is not a treatment focus on children in special education, but rather a prevention and intervention focus with the entire school population. The SSW functions within the school setting to Chair the Student Support Team and Instructional Support Team with an educational Co-Chair. The SSW also provides classroom observations; teacher consultations; front line crisis response, facilitates skill groups (i.e. self esteem, anger mgmt); brief, situational therapy and home visits. The School Social Worker responds to concerns by the teachers or administrators regarding “daily issues or crisis” to assess their root cause and make necessary referrals. Relationships and referrals with community service agencies are operationalized through the SSW. Schools participating in the first round of the Promise Zones will help us to develop job descriptions and referral guidance for the SSW positions.
Connections with the Community Services and Support Network will be supported through the active participation of all child-serving state agencies. For schools, an inability to connect with “the right service at the right time” is all too often a time consuming a frustrating experience for educators, young people and their families. The Community Services and Support Network is built upon a premise whereby any “door” that the child and family enters “works” to get the information and help that is needed. More specifically, the Promise Zone ensures that the School Social Worker has ready connections to local health, child welfare, mental health, juvenile justice, substance abuse and employment services. In keeping with the Children’s Plan, the connection between school and community should span from prevention to early intervention to treatment.
The NYS Children's Plan includes the goal to "create infrastructures and funding mechanisms to support meaningful family and youth participation in planning and policy making and the improvement of service systems at the provider, local and state levels." To achieve this goal the NYS Office of Mental Health funds YOUTH POWER! to enhance their statewide structure through regional cross-systems youth peer positions.
"In its first 3 years, Kids Oneida has fulfilled its original vision of creating and effectively implementing a value-based integrated community-based system of care for children and families in Oneida County."
(Mt. Sinai Report)
Beginning in the mid-80’s, Oneida County Department of Social Services and Mental Health began to consider ways in which out-of-home placements of children with serious emotional disturbances could be decreased. Workgroups comprised of consumers, providers and major stakeholders explored various service models that would address these concerns. In 1996, Kids Oneida was awarded a prestigious Robert Wood Johnson grant to be used as seed money for the start-up of the program. Integrated Community Alternative Network (ICAN), a non-profit care management entity, was established in 1997 to operate the program, Kids Oneida. In 1998, a decade after the first discussions were initiated, Kids Oneida began full operation when it was licensed by the NYS Office of Mental Health as an Article 31 (Parts 587/588) outpatient clinic with a number of waiver provisions. In 2007, ICAN’s name was changed to Kids Oneida, Inc. It continues to be funded through a number of sources including the Oneida County Department of Social Services, Medicaid and individualized service only contracts.
Kids Oneida serves high-risk children with multi-system needs. It has the funding flexibility to support and promote the Wraparound philosophy of care. It has strengthened its core goals of being a value based program with a focus on outcomes, family empowerment and cost.
To date, Kids Oneida has been closely watched given the uniqueness of its design and its potential as a model for replication. It has had three comprehensive evaluations by nationally recognized organizations with very positive results.
Some of the key features of Kids Oneida are:
The Wraparound process works with families in customizing a treatment plan utilizing a wide array of community based services through a provider network of both agency and individualized providers. The treatment team, including family, providers, and natural supports, adhere to the following principles of the wraparound model:
Family and child perspectives are intentionally elicited and prioritized during all phases of the wraparound process. The team strives to provide options and choices such that the plan reflects family values and preferences.
The wraparound team consists of individuals agreed upon by the family committed to them through informal, formal and community support and service relationships.
The team actively seeks out and encourages the full participation of team members drawn from family members’ networks of interpersonal and community relationships. The wraparound plan reflects activities and interventions that draw on sources of natural support.
Team members work cooperatively and share responsibility for developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating a single wraparound plan. The plan reflects a blending of team members’ perspectives, mandates, and resources. The plan guides and coordinates each team member’s work toward meeting the team’s goal.
The wraparound team implements service and support strategies that take place in the most inclusive, most responsive, most accessible and least restrictive settings possible; and that safely promote child and family integration into home and community life.
The wraparound process demonstrates respect for and builds on the values, preferences, beliefs, culture and identity of the child and family and their community.
To achieve the goals laid out in the wraparound plan, the team develops and implements a customized set of strategies, supports and services.
The wraparound process and the wraparound plan identify, build on and enhance the capabilities, knowledge, skills and assets of the child and family, their community and other team members.
Despite challenges, the team persists in working toward the goals included in the wraparound plan until the team reaches agreement that a formal wraparound process is no longer required.
The team ties the goals and strategies of the wraparound plan to observable or measurable indicators or success, monitors progress in terms of these indicators, and revises the plan accordingly.
For more information on Kids Oneida, please visit www.kidsoneida.org .