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County aims to help children
May 09, 2013 | 549 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

BY TOM BUSSELBERG

Associate Editor

FARMINGTON — A focus on children is prominent in the 2014 fiscal year Davis Behavioral Health area plan.  A plan is completed each year that outlines planned activities and strategies for the agency, which provides mental health and substance abuse services to county residents. 

CFO L. Deane Smith told the Davis County Commission this month that the  2012 Legislature approved about $400,000 in early invention funding.  School-based services and crisis intervention are an ongoing part of the plan, he said, citing Syracuse family resource facilitators as one example. 

Davis Behavioral Health staff coordinates efforts with school counselors and also meets with students and families in their homes, Smith said.

“The effect has been a substantial decrease of in-patient stays,” he said of local efforts. “Most other (mental health) agencies have seen a sharp increase.”

An emphasis on children continues in this new plan, Smith said. That includes working toward elimination of long-term stays at the Utah State Hospital in Provo for some children. 

“We want to try to put them (children) back in their homes,” he said.

As part of intervention and treatment, case workers will visit homes of children four times a week. 

The area plan includes a budget for Davis Behavioral Health of $17.4 million. Of that,  $1.3 million is from Davis County, nearly $6 million is from the State of Utah, $10.4 million is from Medicaid and about $1 million is from client fees, Smith said. 

“I think you’re definitely making a difference in people’s lives,” said County Commissioner Bret Millburn, who sits on the Davis Behavioral Health board. 

“You also provide a significant role to those who would be homeless,” added County Commissioner Louenda Downs.

Nancy Moss, early intervention grant coordinator for Davis Behavior Health, explained the program in more detail.

There are three parts to the program: family resource facilitation with Wraparound to Fidelity, School-Based Behavioral Health and Mobile Crisis Teams. 

The resource facilitators act as advocates and advisers and as a resource coordinator for children and families, Moss said. 

They work to engage the child and family in planning that is intended to result in a specific set of community services and natural supports individualized for that child and family. 

School-based behavioral health includes coordinated practices that provide access to behavioral health services in schools. The aim is to support academic success and help keep children and families united.

Mobile crisis teams partner with emergency services such as 911, crisis lines, Department of Child and Family Services and Juvenile Justice Services, schools and more. They also provide emergency behavioral health services in the home, school and community, Moss said.

The program has been offered this year in six elementary, two junior high and three high schools, she said, adding that new legislative funding will allow the program to continue.

Each participating school’s local case management team identifies students and families that may need some extra support, Moss explained. 

“Needs can range from help with housing or utilities to a full WRAP, where many services help the family regain their previous functioning level,” Moss said.

A student may meet with a licensed therapist each week. Meanwhile, the mobile outreach support team can assist community members around the clock when dealing with a crisis situation, she said.

“The whole idea is to intervene early when difficulties arise and connect students and families with supports so they can regain their positive functioning lifestyle,” Moss said. 

editor@utahislander.com

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