Alliance Behavioral Healthcare has been awarded funding to implement two new programs, one involving Child Tiered Case Management and the other enhancing Facility-Based Crisis Services for children and adolescents. Funding for the Case Management pilot comes from $20 million directed by the North Carolina General Assembly in the FY17 State budget to support recommendations made by former Governor Pat McCrory’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use to help North Carolinians with mental health and substance use issues. The Task Force, which included experts from the justice system, healthcare provider community, recovery community, county leadership, non-governmental entities and private sector professionals, presented its recommendations in May 2016. Funding for the Facility-Based Crisis program was allocated in the FY17 State budget from the Dorothea Dix Hospital Property Fund.
As the managed care organization (MCO) for public behavioral health services for the citizens of Durham, Wake, Cumberland and Johnston counties, Alliance serves a total population of over 1.8 million people.
“These initiatives will help us build on our progress to divert people in mental health and substance use crises from emergency departments and county jails into the treatment they need,” said Interim Senior Director of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services Jason Vogler, Ph.D. in speaking of the whole array of initiatives funded by the budget. “They also give youth and adults much needed support to be successful in recovery and integration into their communities.”
As part of the Child Tiered Child Case Management pilot, case managers will work closely with juvenile justice and child welfare offices to provide assessments, develop person-centered plans of care, and link children and youth and their families in Durham County to other recovery supports. This approach is designed to help prevent youth from moving deeper into the justice system. Alliance has chosen Youth Villages, an organization with extensive experience in providing comprehensive, community-based services for youth, to administer the pilot.
In this tiered program, the primary focus population is youth who are transitioning from out-of-home placements related to their involvement with the juvenile justice system. They will be provided with intensive case management and “high fidelity wraparound” services. High fidelity wraparound is a process led by a facilitator where multiple systems come together with the child, youth, and family to create a highly-individualized plan to address complex emotional needs.
Lower-intensity services will be available for young people with less serious needs as well, including access to family and youth peer support, and caregivers called Family Navigators placed in juvenile justice and child welfare offices to help connect families to community resources.
According to Dr. Beth Melcher, head of the Care Management Division at Alliance, anticipated outcomes for young people participating in the program include enhanced engagement with school and behavioral health services, reduced use of crisis facilities, increased success living at home, and no new contact with the judicial system.
The Facility-Based Crisis program will provide a community-based, non-hospital residential setting that serves as specialized and cost-effective alternatives for children and youth who are in crisis. This facility will offer short-term intensive evaluation, treatment, or behavioral management to stabilize crisis situations.
Alliance plans to locate inpatient beds for youth and behavioral health urgent care capacity in the same building, using the same provider, creating a one-stop crisis shop for youth people and their families. Like urgent care facilities that have become an increasingly common source of physical healthcare, behavioral health urgent care allows quick, easy access to care.
To administer the Facility-Based Crisis Pilot program, Alliance has chosen KidsPeace, a national provider of a broad continuum of children’s mental and behavioral health services. KidsPeace’s wide range of programming includes inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, residential treatment programs, therapeutic foster care operations in North Carolina and six other states, and educational services.
“It is critical to serve children and youth in crisis in a specialized setting equipped to respond to their unique needs in a safe environment,” said Dr. Melcher.
These two programs will join an array of other evidence-based and promising practices employed by Alliance network providers to help serve young people in their communities, including family focused treatment for children with behavioral challenges and serious family conflicts, and therapeutic foster care, a family-based service for youth at risk for placement in an intensive residential setting.