|United Community Services throughout its history has led initiatives and projects that focus on improving outcomes for children and families.
Crossover Youth – A Literature Review
Adolescents that move between the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, or are known concurrently to both are referred to as crossover youth. UCS performed a literature review of practices and policies that demonstrate success with intervening and preventing children in the child welfare system from crossing over to the juvenile system. The report cites research by the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University, and the Models for Change Resource Center Partnership established by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
This research project which began in 2012, examined the Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment Program in Johnson County. The DV Lethality Assessment is a risk assessment tool used by law enforcement in situations of intimate partner violence. The goal of the accompanying protocol with the assessment is to prevent intimate partner homicide, increase victim safety and provide victims with immediate access to services. Introduced in Johnson County, Kansas by the Johnson County Office of District Attorney, it also assists those in the justice system to evaluate cases of intimate partner violence. The project had two components: validity testing and process assessment.
The Johnson County Children’s Coordinating Council
The Children’s Coordinating Council was formed in 1995 to improve the availability and delivery of health and human services for Johnson County children and youth through collaborative planning and information sharing. The Council, which meets six times a year, fosters the development of a comprehensive, interconnected service network in order to achieve better outcomes for Johnson County’s most vulnerable children and their families. The Council serves as the inter-agency community coordinating council to implement the state’s mental health “Family Centered System of Care” within Johnson County. The Council also serves in an advisory capacity to Court Services’ supervised exchange program.
Council members include representatives of public child-serving institutions and private child-serving organizations with a public mission, and parent representatives. For example, all public school districts are represented, as well as Johnson County Department of Corrections, 10th Judicial Court Services, Kansas Department for Children and Families, and applicable contractors, CASA, Head Start, Johnson County Mental Health Center, Sunflower House, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, and Johnson County Developmental Supports.
Transition Back to School after Hospitalization
A work group of the Children’s Coordinating Council, called “Next Steps” provides input regarding service coordination across various systems that help families at-risk. The goal is to provide earlier attention and more comprehensive responses to children and youth who face challenges, including those who are Severely Emotionally Disturbed. Most recently Next Steps has worked on improving the transition for students who are returning to school after having been in a psychiatric treatment facility. After a series of meetings, recommendations were developed to aid both schools and service providers. With input from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment CHAP mental health/substance abuse work group, a flyer for parents was revised. The “Keeping Connected” flyer encourages parents to communicate with schools about the mental health needs of their children.
Staff contact: Marya Schott