An innovative demonstration project is helping children and teens with behavioral health needs thrive in their home communities. Since phase one implementation in October 2015, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Children and Families (BCF) has been working to reduce the State’s reliance on in-state and out-of-state group care for youth ages 12-17 through Safe at Home West Virginia.
To date, BCF has referred 100 youths to the program. Of those, 13 have returned to the state; 13 have moved from in-state residential placements back to their home communities; and 31 have been prevented from entering residential placement.
“While Safe at Home is still in the early phase of its demonstration, the program is already proving to be a revolutionary approach to the way we serve children and families,” said DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling. “Through this project and with the support of our many partners, we are giving youth the opportunity to live safe, healthy and successful lives in familiar and comfortable environments. I look forward to seeing more children’s lives changed as we prepare to expand statewide.”
Counties in the phase one area include: Berkeley, Boone, Cabell, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Morgan, Putnam and Wayne. Youth involved in Safe at Home are being served through the wraparound model, a planning process that helps ensure youth grow up in their homes and communities when safely possible. With help from a wraparound facilitator, key players in the child or youth’s family work together, coordinate activities, and blend perspectives of the family’s situation.
The next phase of the project, expected to launch in summer of 2016, includes 24 counties: Barbour, Brooke, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Lewis, Marion, Mercer, Mineral, Monongalia, Monroe, Nicholas, Ohio, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph, Summers, Taylor, Tucker and Upshur.
The long-term goal of Safe at Home West Virginia is to serve 12-17 year olds and their families in all 55 counties over the course of the next two years, providing wraparound services to children, family members, caregivers and foster parents to support developing and maintaining a stable and loving environment.
Learn more at http://safe.wvdhhr.org/