Family Services Committee Minutes – 5/11/10

Attendance:  Jane Banks, CHD, Tammie Butler, Community Action, Marcia Crutchfield, HAP, Nick Fleisher, CBHI,  Joanne Glier, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redev. Authority, Brad Gordon, BCAC, Toni Hochstadt, Community Action, Stephen Huntley, VOC, Terrell Joyner, Square One, Fran LeMay, Greenfield Family Inn, Jane Lindfors, DTA,  Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Tom Salter, NEFWC, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Suzanne Smith, Network, Janette Vigo, YWCA

Program Updates on Available Resources:

Community Action:  ICHH gone; ESG, $1,400 left, internal fund, $4,000; Catholic Charities individual HPRP funds available but criteria extremely limited

Franklin County Regional and Housing Redevelopment Authority – less than $200 left of ICHH, RAFT funds available

Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority – ICHH funds gone, may have RAFT money left, some city HPRP money but trying to spend it carefully, BCAC will let some of their CSBG stimulus money available, $25K prevention and diversion for individuals and families, cap of $2,500; Catholic Charities (BCAC) – only done 2 households so far, trying to use court  as a vehicle, but again, criteria very limiting.

New England Farm Workers Council – $6K left in ICHH funds; diversion HPRP funds available – 10 families served so far, 1 from Berkshire.  Slated to serve 77 families over 3 years.  Majority of families coming in door are coming in at the last minute, no choice but to go to shelter/motel.

HAPHousing: $25K left in ICHH funds.  State motel HPRP money is gone.  City HPRP: some prevention/rehousing – $25K in prevention, $75K  in rehousing.   A little under $13K in FEMA, one month of arrearage/first month’s rent or utility.

Valley Opportunity Council: ICHH is almost gone, perhaps enough for one more case.  CSBG a couple of cases left.  ESG focusing outside of Holyoke, Chicopee, Westfield, e.g,. Palmer, prevention, one month rent – a little left.  City HPRP unclear.

Greenfield Family Inn – United Way flexible funds only

Follow-up: need to discuss eligibility criteria for state HPRP funds for individuals at-risk of homelessness since it is extremely restrictive and as a result funds are not being spent.  Pamela will follow-up with administering programs (Catholic Charities, SMOC) and create opportunity among all providers and DHCD for further discussion and examination.

Data review: reviewed monthly data, noted how our motel population is leveling out most recently, which is especially concerning in view of the expenditure of all state HPRP motel funds.  Agreed we need to continue to push on the “front door” side and enhance and support diversion efforts more intensively.  Our Hampden County triage effort will follow-up on this issue immediately.

Our data review raised the larger issues presented in Dennis Culhane’s recent paper on EA reform.  We agreed that we would reserve significant meeting time next month to discuss his proposals and their implications for our region.

Triage check-in: Brad Gordon shared with us Berkshire County’s proposal for sub- regional triage and provided a recent example that demonstrated the need for local control over placements.  We agreed that we would be most effective if we pose our triage model in the context of a regional umbrella with appropriate variations by county.  We will also reserve significant time at our next meeting to continue this discussion.

Next meeting:  Tuesday, June 1st, 1-3 pm, DTA Holyoke Office, 100 Front Street (note: this meeting date is moved from our usual second Tuesday to first Tuesday to accommodate the One Family Peer Learning Session in Worcester scheduled for June 8th).

Also note:  at 10 am at the same day, same place, Hampden County providers will gather to continue discussion around development of a Hampden County triage model.  All are welcome.

Summary Presentation by our special guest Nick Fleisher on Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative – change in mental health services going on for children’s services, result of a lawsuit, huge sociological experiment.  About 10 years ago, lawsuit against DMH and Division of Medical Assistance, claimed group of youth weren’t being served in the way they were supposed to be served, claimed MA not meeting obligations under federal Medicaid law.  MA fought it and lost.  Result:  Medicaid law says that children and families must be served in community settings in least restrictive setting possible.  Beginning 7/1/09, new set of services that are state mandated.

All services apply to Medicaid eligible children under the age of 21 with serious emotional disturbance (very broad term).  Intensive care coordination is the new service – team of 2 people who work with the family (most complex families).  One ICC agency per CBHI region, called Community Service Agency (CSA),  e.g., in Pittsfield:  Brien Center;  Franklin/Hampshire: CSO;  Springfield: BHN, Gandara (Hispanic CSA); Westfield, Holyoke, Chicopee: Carson Center, – they work with the family to create a team of supports around that family.  The philosophy is putting the parent in charge.

On mobile crisis intervention:  beginning 7/1/09, they have been mandated to serve children in a new way:  send out teams of 2 people, remain involved for 72 hours.  In the past, upon referral, there would have been an evaluation to determine if need to be hospitalized, waited for a long time, then sent home and told to call the clinic in the morning.  New system:  requires and incentivizes providers to go to a non-hospital setting, now mandated to go to where the child is and in charge of intervention for 72 hours.  Team consists of clinician and a paraprofessional .   Potential for a much more successful intervention with Mobile Crisis Intervention model (MCI).   The more time you spend with family, the more you get paid – totally different incentive for different results.  This does not apply to private commercial insurance, even though it saves money and in the long run the state expects savings.

As housing stabilization grows, these services are vital.

Follow-up:   each provider contact director of your CSA to have a meeting to talk about how all of this works.  Would be useful to have a joint regional meeting with CBHI and housing stabilization providers to discuss coordination.  Every CSA runs a monthly or bi-monthly System of Care meeting that discusses the bigger picture issues.  Also a good place to connect.

Feel free to contact Nick at 413-586-5555 or [email protected] with further questions.

«   »

Return to full list of blog posts.