The good news is in! – Board of Child Care’s Martinsburg residential campus received approval last week from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) to begin providing Functional Family Therapy (FFT), a community-based service that will be provided on an outpatient basis.
Neighboring states Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania already offer FFT.
Recognized internationally for helping youth overcome trouble with delinquency, substance abuse, and violence, the economic benefits of FFT are significant, too. A 2008 outcomes analysis showing every FFT dollar the State of Pennsylvania invested, it received a cost benefit of $14.56, a potential economic benefit of $136 million to the taxpayers.
In Maryland, the average cost per treatment of FFT in fiscal year 2014 was only 4% of the average cost per stay of hardware-secure youth centers and 8% of the average cost per stay of group homes.
“The ability to serve WV families with in-home therapy is exactly the kind of community-based programing we want to offer,” said Laurie Anne Spagnola, BCC’s President and CEO. “We offer excellent residential and group home services. But keeping a young person together with their family is truly an example of our mission to enrich communities, one family at a time.”
Typically conducted over 12 sessions, FFT spans 3-5 months and helps families strengthen their ability to work together and successfully solve problems. Community demand for the program forced BCC to turn away referrals in advance of the state license approval.
“There is a lack of access to mental health services in this area and I hope to see BCC provide additional outpatient or community-based offerings in the future,” said Jackie Columbia, BCC’s Director of West Virginia Operations.
THE FFT TIMELINE IN WEST VIRGINIA:
Oct. 26, 2015: WV DHHR solicits applications from behavioral health providers. Nov. 19, 2015: Board of Child Care submits application to provide FFT Nov. 23, 2015: WV DHHR closes application period. Dec. 8, 2015: BCC awarded grant to train its WV social workers in FFT. Feb. 22, 2016: BCC hosts a state of WV kickoff event and FFT training session on Martinsburg campus. May 5, 2016: Official notice from WV DHHR approves BCC to provide FFT. May 10, 2016: Board of Child Care begins accepting FFT referrals.
New programming initiative is another move towards evidence-based success
With a long-term goal of saying yes to more consistent, positive outcomes, the Board of Child Care’s Baltimore and Denton campuses have embarked upon the YESS programming platform.
YESS stands for Youth Engagement Success System. The core components of the YESS platform are Respectful, Responsible, Safe and Self. The program teaches good decision-making skills, deters negative behaviors and pushes program participants to work toward unity and personal goals through choice-making challenges.
The four core components are broken down around how they relate to treatment, the community, education and workplaces, and family support systems. BCC staff, who embody the acronym for the role model, engagement, professional and safety (REPS), administer the YESS system. The REPS are responsibilities for teaching, addressing, correcting and reinforcing positive behavior with residents.
Residents in the program receive privileges related to a given category, and there are certain things a youth can have based on where they are in the program. As choices are made by residents as to what they are to participate in on the unit, there are rewards or consequences for some choices, and these are based on what a natural consequence would be in life for certain behaviors.
Rewards outstrip consequences, but for a certain category of offenses, REPS have a pool of consequences at their disposal created from logical, natural outcomes. In rare cases, enacting an extended safety plan beyond the pool of consequences is available when safety demands it.
By being able to choose how involved they want to be in the program, the residents can control their outcomes on a micro level, leading to more control on a macro level, too. BCC will collect data over the next year to chart outcomes for participants engaging in the YESS Program.
Glover earned an April promotion to Care Team Coordinator, where she will assist with integration and implementation of programming on Baltimore’s upper campus. Known at BCC as Alex, she’s a 2009 graduate of the University of Kentucky — Go Cats! — and secured her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland in 2014.
Q: Before you became a social worker, you were an on-call childcare worker and later interned with our Treatment Foster Care team while you attended graduate school. What was your perspective those first few months – how has it changed? – and how did those challenges prepare you for your present caseload and responsibilities?
A: I went from a person focused solely on doing one job to dispersing my energy into many areas at once. The challenge was to find the balance in juggling work, school, and the internship while ensuring the multitasking would not affect my work and relationships built with my youth. I had many ‘aha moments’ in those first few months of grad school and still have them. It is all part of being a social worker … You need some grit in this field, because it’s not for everyone, but it is for me.
Those challenges and experiences have aided me many times when I had a demanding week and was not sure where to start. Prioritizing tasks and figuring out what is important is how you win the day.
Q: Your second graduate school internship was with Johns Hopkins Hospital, but you choose a full-time offer from BCC over Hopkins after graduation. What made BCC your top pick?
A: I was fortunate to have to decide between BCC and Hopkins, but the decision was not difficult. I had fallen in love with residential treatment and felt like BCC was already my home. I like being in a setting where social work and mental health were the top priorities, whereas in the hospital medical needs were understandably put first. I also wanted to work in a position where I could build long-term therapeutic and working relationships with clients, families, and agencies.
Q: Can you talk about how your progression from childcare worker four years ago to intern to social worker to coordinator helps shape the therapeutic strategies you employ in your new position?
A: We speak of our participants from a programming or clinical standpoint, and I am blessed with some background in both, so my progression shapes strategies daily. Residential care is constantly evolving; the challenges I faced as a childcare worker are different today, but I know both perspectives.
I am excited about my new position because it is completely in line with BCC’s new mission. This is a way to bridge BCC’s work from a clinical and programming standpoint from a time where we were separate to being truly integrated.
Q: You said the diverse team that supports the kids we serve is vitally important to achieving successful outcomes. What makes this so?
A: We are tasked with designing and executing a program that completely wraps care around an individual. This means the more obvious categories like education, physical health, and providing housing.
It also includes the intangibles such as teaching life skills, coaching them how to be their own advocates in treatment meetings, and just generally supporting them through breakups, crushes, tough teachers, and everything else that comes with being a teenager. That is the best way I can describe how BCC becomes their nonconventional family.
Each member of the care team is working on one, if not multiple goals in those categories I just mentioned.
We must all learn from one another, and from the youth directly, what is working and what isn’t. That’s where the communication piece is so critical and having a diverse team so important. One person may think to try something a different way and that becomes the breakthrough moment that really resonates with youth.
Q: Kentucky and Maryland are two universities with proud basketball heritages, and your brothers attended the University of North Carolina. March Madness must be intense, right?
A: Yes, quite intense! We grew up watching and rooting for Maryland – and still do! – but our primary loyalties are with Kentucky and UNC now.
I decided I’d take it easy on my parents and made them a blanket they keep on the couch with one side UNC and one side Kentucky. My mom just flips it over dependent on the game they are watching at the time. I also gave them two attractive yard gnomes as a present one year that they now proudly keep in our nice living room. We rub their heads for good luck on big game days!
All serious fans have their rituals, right? Needless to say, it’s not bad being a basketball fan as a member of our family – most years we’re going to have at least one serious contender!
Know of someone worth spotlighting at BCC? Email that recommendation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three heartfelt profiles, a financial snapshot and breakout spread highlight publication
It took months of planning and effort, but the Annual Report is finished!
Even though the report will soon be available in all of our campuses, an electronic PDF is available on our website. The first copies of the report mail out next week. There’s a remittance envelope stitched in every mailed copy, which can easily be torn out and returned with your donation.
At 20 pages cover to cover, the report highlights BCC’s accomplishments in the 2014-15 fiscal year (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015).
We are incredibly proud of our outcomes this past year! Did you know we served 836 youth in total last year and our employees engaged in almost 16,000 hours of continuing education or training?
The statistics are brought to life by three program participant profiles: two active and one alum.
Our first profile, Ruben H., details his incredible strides towards independence after his breathtaking journey to Baltimore from Honduras. You’ll meet Ricky F., who remembers the not-so-sweet start he had at BCC but now looks in the mirror and says he’s a better person because of the team he’s worked with here. And finally, there’s Maria H., who graduated from our residential program years ago but recently received a continuing education grant from BCC to further her career and support her family.
These are stories worth reading – and if they move you like they moved us – we hope you’ll consider donating. BCC’s high level of professionalism and care, as well as our ability to do more each year comes from the support of donors like you.
Duke University Medical Center brings new evidence-based practices to Baltimore
Citing the need to push towards even better outcomes, Treatment Foster Care Director, Pat Wilson, enlisted a comprehensive, three-day training with Duke University Medical Center.
Wilson is looking to add greater competence and confidence for her entire staff, the training took place during the last week of April on the Baltimore campus.
The training – titled Together Facing the Challenge – teaches a high-rate of evidence-based positive outcomes and a cost-effective implementation schedule. The training included techniques for in-home interventions, building therapeutic relationships, teaching cooperation skills, and implementing more effective parenting techniques. BCC receives a year’s worth of consultation from the Duke to ensure proper implementation of the training.
“As an organization, BCC is responsible for specific deliverables as a child placement agency on behalf of the state of Maryland, and this training reflects changes in evidence-based treatment that can help us deliver the positive outcomes our stakeholders expect,” Wilson said.
“I learned some specific and creative parenting techniques I can share with parents on my caseload to improve outcomes, which is the ultimate goal of all our efforts,” says social worker Danyelle Crawford, who earned BCC’s Core Value Award for Empathy in January. “The training gave me the confidence to work with my peers and counsel the parents and children we serve to conquer any challenges we encounter together.”
Treatment Foster Care parent Steven Brooks celebrate certification with Duke University’s Maureen Murray (LCSW) and Don Bartosik.
Peter Walsh, a congregant at Glen Mar United Methodist Church in Ellicott City, first visited BCC on Martin Luther King Day this year as part of his church’s Day of Service project. Peter hadn’t decided yet what to do for his Eagle Scout project, but after learning more about the Baltimore program, the decision seemed clear.
He pitched Rev. Dr. Stacey Nickerson, BCC’s Director of Church and Community Engagement, on the idea of creating a community garden at BCC. What followed was a two-month planning effort that, despite Mother Nature’s outstanding weather the last six weeks, resulted in the creation of beautiful raised garden beds for the Spiritual Life Program.
The Spiritual Life Program, under the direction of Shawn Elbert, BCC’s Spiritual Life Coordinator, is now working directly with youth on the Baltimore campus to grow the garden’s first harvest. Their goal is to produce enough vegetables and fruits for Baltimore-area food pantries and for families in need.
“You do not need to be an experienced gardener to participate; you just need a positive attitude and a willing spirit to help others,” said Elbert. “I got a wonderful response from the kids and can’t wait for our first session together after this rain passes.”
Thank you so much to Peter, his family, and all the volunteers who helped create our beautiful new garden!
The garden created by Eagle Scout and Glen Mar United Methodist Church congregant Peter Walsh is located near the top of the BCC-Baltimore campus near Rolling Road.