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Source: Photography by Dale Hudjik

Hear and Now Herald: Fall/Winter 2011 issue

Tis the season that brings colder weather, snowflakes, hot cocoa, and friends and family!  It seems almost cooincidental that the end of the year also brings the report of the end of the System of Care grant which was awarded to Monroe County six years ago.  However, as the "Hear and Now Herald" home page of the enewsletter mentioned, the end of the grant does NOT mean the end of the Monroe County Children's System of Care - just the end of this publication.

In this last issue, you will find updates, news and activities related to the expansion and sustainability of the Monroe County Children's System of Care along with other information from around the community and a few online resources we've uncovered. 

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

The "Hear and Now Herald" editorial staff


Feature Story

Community Highlights

System of Care Update

The Community Corner

Feature Story

A Report from the Monroe County Children's System of Care Project Director - "The Grant is Over but Monroe County Children's System of Care is Here to Stay"

By Elizabeth Meeker, Project Director, Monroe County Children's System of Care

Photo is for illustrative purposes only. Source: thestepfamilyguru.blogspot.com

“The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means and the exercise of ordinary qualities.  These may for the most part by summed in these two:  common-sense and perseverance.” – Owen Feltham

In considering the accomplishments over the past six years of the Monroe County Children’s System of Care initiative, it was those actions and changes that were based on “common sense” that have had the most success.  We have started a culture change in which we “work with” rather than “do for” families and youth. 

We strive to work collaboratively with our system partners to keep youth in their home and in the community.  We seek new ways to implement services that work and are proven to be effective.  We challenge ourselves to identify and build on youth and family strengths while working within their culture and values.  We understand that we must learn how trauma impacts youth and families and then translate that knowledge into how we deliver services and supports. 

None of these changes are earthshattering ideas. 

They are based on common sense and are probably what our grandmothers would have told us to do if we had only asked.  But then, no one said that this work would actually be easy.  That’s where the perseverance comes in.  Collectively, we have worked hard to begin, grow, and sustain the culture change in our community.  There have been many meetings, trainings, presentations, opportunities for coaching and many more meetings to make it happen. 

We’ve had to go outside of our traditional comfort zones to reach out to new partners and to old partners to make sure everyone was at the table and that each voice was heard.  We’ve created space and place for change to take hold and through our efforts we have evidence of success on the system, organizational and practice levels. 

The foundation for change rests on several core practice change initiatives.

The practice change initiatives include:

  • The process called Child and Family Team (CFT) now utilized by Care Coordination programs,
  • Functional Behavior Approach (FBA) adopted by our Skill Building programs and
  • Trauma Informed Care (TIC). 

Both CFT and FBA will be sustained through the core group of trainers and coaches that have been developed both at the County and partner agencies. 

Through a collaboration with the Rochester City School District, a TIC pilot is underway at School #17 and trauma informed work is being initiated at family court as well as our System Partners in Child and Family Services and Probation.  In addition, through the Research to Practice committee, a White Paper was created and disseminated on a Trauma Informed System of Care. 

A key to success has been results-oriented collaboration among child-serving systems.

Cross-system collaboration has also lead to the Building Bridges project, an effort created to support children and families entering residential care.  Building Bridges utilizes the CFT process in order to reduce the length of stay and “bridge” the transition back to the community.

Additional cross system collaboration is evident in the transition protocol developed in the System of Care Education Committee.  The protocol was designed to support children and adolescents coming out of partial and inpatient hospitalization and transition them back to school.  There is now a standardized communication process which is supported by a MOU (memorandum of understanding) signed by every school district, Strong and the Monroe County Office of Mental health. 

Two critical partnerships that have been strenghtened are the ones with youth and families. 

Our System of Care has three active family roundtables and another one in developement.  We have also created a System of Care Family Roundtable Manual to support training of roundtable facilitators.   Youth voice in our community has grown strong through the Spreading Wellness Around Town (SWAT) Youth Council.  They have demonstrated repeatedly the power of youth through events like the Got Dreams Awards and youth forums as well as local, state and national conferences where they have made presentations and lead workshops. 

The Monroe County Children’s System of Care is built on a solid foundation. 

The end of the ACCESS grant (the name of the initiative which is now known as the Monroe County Children's System of Care) is not the end of our work.  System of Care is not a destination, it is a journey which we take together - with common sense and perseverance packed in our bags, may the bumps be minor, the break-downs few and far between and the roadside attractions plentiful. 

Best wishes to you and your family for a happy holiday season!

Elizabeth Meeker, Project Director
Monroe County Children's System of Care

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Community Highlights

WATTS Education Offers Free Tutoring to Rochester City School Students

By Mia Johnson, WATTS Education

Photo is for illustrative purpose only.  Source: http://www.latech.edu/barc/learning-assistance/math-tutoring.shtml

Do you know of any parents/ guardians that need FREE TUTORING & TRANSPORTATION for their children? 

WATTS Education is a new SES tutoring provider located in Downtown Rochester at 195 St. Paul Street.  What makes WATTS Education unique is that it provides data driven instruction because they first assess students' academic strengths and weaknesses and work to build their academic skills using computer based programing.  WATTS is open Monday through Saturday.

Students at the following schools receive free tutoring:

  • Elementary
    • #5, #8, #9, #16, #17, #28, #34, #41, #42, #44, #45, and #50
  • Secondary
    • Charlotte, East, Edison Applied Tech., Edison Engineering, Edison Business, Edison Imaging, Franklin BioScience, Franklin Finance, Both Wilsons, Franklin Global Media Arts, Freddie Thomas, Jefferson, Marshall, Monroe, Northeast College Prep. (7th and 8th grade only), Northwest College Prep. (7th and 8th grade only), and School Without Walls.

WATTS Education also provides free transportation that will pick students up from their home or school and return them to their home or after school program.

If you know of any parents/guardians that want or need the free tutoring, please call Mia Johnson at 585-270-5561 and she will personally deliver the application to their home and help them fill it out.

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Save the Date - Got Dreams Award Scheduled for Wednesday, May 9, 2012 (Location TBD)

Mark your calendar for the Fifth Annual Got Dreams Award community event on Wednesday, May 9th from 6:00-8:30 (location TBD).

The Got Dreams Award event will be similar to last year's event with plans to feature youth who will share their personal stories of inspiration, courage and perseverance, as well as their hopes and dreams for the future. 

Last year, Karima Miller a 22 year old Rochester native, who as an adolescent received residential services through St. Joseph's Villa and was in and out of the system shared her story.  Karima conveys her strongly held belief that “where you come from doesn't have to define who you are.”  Karima, despite the challenges she faced, graduated with a bachelor's from Rochester Institute of Technology this past summer, all while working at JPMorgan Chase Bank and raising her four year old daughter, Amirah.  She lives by the quote, "Impossible is Nothing... The word itself says "I'm Possbile!"
Awards will be presented to:

  • youth
  • family members and caregivers
  • professionals and organizations

And, nominations can be submitted to the following categories:

  • Youth-guided
  • Family-driven
  • Trauma-informed
  • Cultural and Linguistic Competence
  • Best Practices
  • Community-based Services and Supports

The categories are based on the the System of Care values, which is a national movement supported by Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration.  Locally, the Monroe County Office of Mental Health, in partnership with the child-serving system, seeks to improve collaboration, enhance services, and improve outcomes for youth and families, in a way that embraces the System of Care values.

The Got Dreams Award is open to the public and is FREE.  Attendees are asked to register for the event online so that you may secure your space as seating is limited.  Check the website for updates on the event at www.CaringForOurYouth.org.  For more information about the event, you may contact Marilyn Molyneaux at 753-2650 or via email mmolyneaux@monroecounty.gov.

We look forward to seeing you at the event!

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System of Care Updates

Bianca Logan's, SWAT Youth Council Member, Address to the System of Care Community Collaborative

By Bianca Logan, SWAT Youth Council Member

Hello Everyone;

First, I would like to say I am very proud of how far we have come as a system of care and also as a community. We have formed bonds and partnerships that will continue to hold the System of Care accountable and keep us going strong!

Oh, how far we have come… We have a great youth council that was just in the makings when I became a part of this system years ago. The makings have developed into SWAT Youth Council which stands for Spreading Wellness Around Town. SWAT Youth Council has opened eyes, hearts and doors, creating opportunities for youth which did not exist in the past.

I’ve seen evidence that youth voice now has hope and appreciation attached to it. That age old saying of “children are to be seen and not heard” was carried into the providing of care for too long… we are breaking down that saying each time we ask a youth how they feel, what their perspective is, when we make small talk in the grocery line, each time a workgroup, committee or agency asks for youth at their table.

Photo is for illustrative purposes only.  Source: www.westly.org

To me that equals hope.  It means people are believing—in the strength and potential of youth (and our future)!

I have to say we have come a long way from not being involved in our own care (being seen and not heard) and that is awesome!  I have personally seen and experienced many of these changes.  I was in residential for some time and there they held meetings where youth were able to sit down with the adults and in some cases even the director of the residential facility to share concerns and be the representative voice to advocate for their peers.

Also, while in residential, I was given another opportunity strengthen youth voice where it was not yet gaining appreciation by the system of care changes; I don’t believe many youth would have had the chance to do what I did… I became a part of the Building Bridges committee - giving even greater strength and appreciation to youth voice. 

Being a part of Building Bridges and SWAT Youth Council brought me to a national conference for children's mental health in Washington D where I presented on my residential experiences, and the changes I had seen.  Being a part of SWAT Youth Council has also brought me to other national and state conferences.  Myself and other SWAT members got to participate in youth facilitated/youth focused workshops so we could run our youth council better and have our voices united as youth.

There is so much we have accomplished within our grant time and will continue to sustain even afterwawrd.  I am again proud of how the Monroe County Children's System of Care has welcomed youth and their ideas.  It has made us all stronger being able to communicate on one level. Youth voice is to be treasured because youth are our future and their strength and potential is an important part of the ongoing evolution and sustainability of our System of Care!

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The Community Corner

SWAT Youth Council Open Meeting - 4th Tuesdsays of the Month

Youth - attend an informal meeting of the SWAT (Spreading Wellness Around Town) Youth Council to meet other youth who are facing the same types of challenges your are.  Join the discussions or just hang back and listen.  Either way, attending a meeting will be a chance to maybe learn something new, make a new friend and be in the company of kids who have experienced a lot of what you have.

Check out the flyer and print it as a reminder!

The SWAT Open Meeting meets every 4th Tuesday of the month at the Rochester Monroe County Youth Bureau at 435 E. Henrietta Rd. (Monroe Community Hospital)

If you want to learn more or plan to join us, contact Jerard Johnson, Youth Engagement Specialist at 585-753-2695.


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Our Daily Heroe(s): Kate Zaenglein, RTF Transition Coordinator, Hillside Children's Center

Image Source: http://businessblogs.co.nz/2009/10/the-characteristics-of-a-successful-b...

Kate Zaenglein, RTF Transition Coordinator, Hillside Children's Center

By: Todd Liddell, Children's Services Specialist, Monroe County Office of Mental Health

Kate approached me several months ago and asked about trying the Child and Family Team (CFT) Process with one of the transition age youth she works with at the Residential Treatment Facility.  We agreed that we would begin the process for this youth with Kate facilitating and me coaching, along with her supervisor Cheryl Lake who has also been a fantastic participant in the process.  

I was initially very impressed by Kate’s eagerness to learn about and try the CFT process.  As we put the process into practice, I have been even more impressed with her fantastic skills for facilitating the CFT.

Kate has been able to successfully utilize her individual skills along with element s of the CFT process to build a team around this young person.  Building the team includes collaboration with our adult system partners and bringing extended family to the table who had not been active in this youngster’s life in quite some time. 

She has also opened doors for other potential natural supports to come into the youth’s life.  Kate has brought this youth and the team to the table and is leading them through some of the best planning and community collaboration, with the fewest barriers, that I have ever been a part of.  She has facilitated the CFT process in a way and with the type of outcomes that we all always hope for. 

On behalf of the entire System of Care Community, I want to acknowledge your effort and ability and to thank you Kate!

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