State working on approach to supporting children in need

(Ohio) –  Ohio is another step closer to achieving its goal of transforming the state’s approach to supporting children in need who require support from multiple state systems.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) today announced that the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) Center for Innovative Practices at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, a part of the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (CIP/Begun/MSASS), has been awarded a two-year, $3.6
million contract to coordinate a new statewide Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (COE). This will help the agencies in their approach to supporting children in need.

The Ohio Controlling Board voted to approve funding for this fiscal year, enabling the project to move forward. “Ohio has a long-standing history of embracing innovation and enacting practice changes to better serve children and families throughout the state,” said OhioMHAS Director Lori Criss, whose department led the competitive bid process to select a vendor.

“Case Western Reserve University’s Center for Innovative Practices has decades of experience and is highly qualified to develop,
manage and oversee the work of the new Center. We look forward to growing this new partnership, which I am confident will yield positive results for Ohio’s children and families for years to come.”

OhioMHAS partnered with other state agencies, which include Job and Family Services, Medicaid, Youth Services, Developmental Disabilities, Health and Ohio Family and Children First, to develop and issue the RFP. Among its primary responsibilities, the COE will be responsible for building and sustaining a standardized assessment process, evaluating the effectiveness of services, and expanding service and care coordination capacity for children with complex behavioral health needs and their families.

The Center will also provide orientation, training, coaching, mentoring, and other functions/supports as needed to support Ohio’s statewide child caring provider network. The COE also will work with state partner agencies to support the addition and/or expansion,
implementation, sustainability, and/or monitoring and evaluation of the following services/processes, including the expansion of access through the use of telehealth:

 High Fidelity Wraparound
 Functional Family Therapy
 Multi-Systemic Therapy
 Healthy Families America
 Parents as Teachers
 Mobile Response and Stabilization Service
 Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment

“The Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Center of Excellence will play a vital role in the new OhioRISE program, which will support children in Medicaid with the most complex behavioral health challenges,” said Maureen Corcoran, director of Ohio Medicaid. “Today, children frequently fall through gaps in care, and parents too often have had to endure the pain of custody relinquishment. The COE will support OhioRISE efforts to create new access to in-home and community-based services that will keep Ohio families together.”

The new COE will bolster Ohio’s ongoing system transformation and improvement efforts, which to date, have included: expanding the behavioral health continuum of care to better serve youth and families; implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First), which includes the development of a tiered treatment foster care model and statewide foster and adoptive parent recruitment efforts; and development of OhioRISE (Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence) — a specialized managed care organization with expertise in providing services for the most complex multi-system youth.

“The Center for Innovative Practices at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education is honored to be selected to coordinate Ohio’s Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Center of Excellence,” said Richard Shepler, Ph.D., director of for the Center for Innovative Practices. “In collaboration with the Ohio Children’s Alliance (OCA), the Public Children’s Services Agencies of Ohio (PCSAO), the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association (OCCRRA), the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Services Providers (The Ohio Council), Clermont County Family and Children First (Clermont FCFC), and other expert consultants, CIP looks forward to providing support for Ohio’s transformative children’s initiatives and workforce. As a center, we are successful when youth and families are successful. We look forward to celebrating in their success.”

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) is dedicating up to $10 million in Family First Transition Act funds to build capacity and provide evidence-based prevention services to alleviate the need to place children in foster care and support children and families in community-based settings.

“Our agency’s involvement with the Center of Excellence will go a long way toward ensuring statewide access to behavioral health services for children and families, identifying gaps in service, and recruiting providers to meet the needs,” said ODJFS Interim Director Matt Damschroder. “Through this partnership, families will be able to access the help they need.”

It’s all about being there and supporting children in need, officials added.

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