SFSC, on the Road in Erie County

DODD and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) earlier this summer announced more than $1.4 million in funding for the Strong Families, Safe Communities (SFSC) initiative to provide care coordination and crisis intervention services for youth at-risk due to a developmental disability or mental illness. The grant awards are part of a two-year, $5 million statewide initiative launched last year.

This latest round of funding supports seven new projects around the state, and brings the total number of counties served by the initiative to 46.  DODD and OhioMHAS solicited proposals emphasizing collaboration among mental health and developmental disabilities service providers and multi-county partnerships. Projects funded for 2015 include intensive care coordination, rapid response teams, family mentoring and support, screening for high-risk children, and various therapeutic services.

DODD Director John Martin and OhioMHAS Director Tracy Plouck are visiting each of the community partnerships this summer to announce the grants, and to share details about each project with local communities. Director Martin visited Erie County last week to announce a grant to Erie, Sandusky, Seneca, and Lucas counties. This grant focuses on a Wrap-around program – wherein a team works with the child and family to develop a comprehensive plan of support and services.

Director Martin was enthusiastic about the efforts, noting that one reason the project was selected was the group’s long history of success with the Wrap-around model, and their plan to use existing resources to build upon programs that have a proven track record.

Kate Wyckoff, a parent who was referred to the Wrap-around program last year, shared that she now sees a positive future for her son, thanks to the services her family received. Her son, who has Autism and ADHD, was demonstrating behavioral issues at school that were interfering with his education, and causing a lot of stress for her son, her family, and the school. After working with the Wrap-around team, her son is thriving, and the family has a positive working relationship with the school.  She said,

In his second grade year, I was in the principal’s office every day. My stomach dropped every time the phone rang because I thought it was the school. Last year, when he was in third grade, I went to the school twice the entire year.” 

Parent Advocate Kate Wykoff and Director Martin discuss positive results of SFSC efforts in Erie County.  See more event photos on the DODD Facebook page.

Parent Advocate Kate Wykoff and Director Martin discuss positive results of SFSC efforts in Erie County. See more event photos on the DODD Facebook page.

She also noted that the class pictures from the two years show positive changes. She said in his second grade picture, her son is unsmiling and looks unhappy. “It was a big contrast to all the other kids, who had beaming smiles on their faces,” she said. “Last year, he was one of the children with beaming smiles!” Wyckoff now is a parent mentor for other families who will participate in the program.

SFSC contacts:  DODD: Kerry Francis, kerry.francis@dodd.ohio.gov; OhioMHAS: Eric Wandersleben, eric.wandersleben@mha.ohio.gov