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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
July/August 2009, Volume 17, Number 4 

In Westchester County, NY: "A Way of Doing" with Everyone Involved

Kids who set fires. Kids with sexually aggressive behavior. Kids with both developmental disabilities and mental health problems. Those were the kinds of children that Myra Alfreds, M.S.W., and her team in White Plains, NY, set out to help.

Children’s Mental Health Services at the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health received a 6-year Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services Program for Children and Their Families grant from SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) in 1999. (See Coordinating Care for Children with Serious Mental Health Challenges.)

“The grant allowed us to work with children with serious emotional and behavioral problems at the highest end of need, children who had before that time been referred to residential treatment,” explained Ms. Alfreds, who is the Director of the program.

At the System’s Heart

A system of care called the Westchester Community Network was the result of that grant. The Network serves families who require help from more than one system or agency. At the system’s heart are networks in 10 of the county’s communities.

These networks bring together families, service providers, and anyone else a family requests to craft individualized plans to meet families’ needs.

“A system of care is not a program, a project, or another initiative,” Ms. Alfreds explained. “It’s a way of doing what you’re doing throughout your entire child-serving system in a way that connects everybody.”

Throughout the process, the emphasis is on families themselves. Family Ties of Westchester serves families of children with emotional, behavioral, and psychiatric problems. This nonprofit organization operates seven walk-in family resource centers, offers support groups, and provides other support services. Serving as community hubs, the resource centers encourage families who have been past recipients of services to help families just coming into the system.

Westchester County’s system of care also encompasses a peer-run support program called Youth Forum, which offers discussion sessions and recreational outings to young adults age 17 to 24.

“This really is a family movement,” emphasized Ms. Alfreds. “Our system is completely driven by what families and young people say they need and want.”

Although its CMHS funding ended in 2005, Westchester County’s system of care is still thriving. The initiative replaced all of its Federal funding with money from the county and state, said Ms. Alfreds. And its approach proved so successful that CMHS made Westchester County’s Children’s Mental Health Services a “team learning center” that helps other communities learn how to develop their own systems of care.

SAMHSA’s Web site offers more information on Systems of Care. Read more about the Children’s Mental Health Services program in Westchester County, NY.

  Statistics on Substance Abuse,  
  Mental Health  
State by State Estimates

State by State Estimates

Every state faces a different set of challenges with substance abuse and mental health issues, including binge drinking and depression.

Treatment Discharges: Latest Data

Treatment Discharges: Latest Data

SAMHSA's Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) recently updated its data on discharges from treatment facilities.

  Treatment Updates  
TIP 50: Literature Review

TIP 50: Literature Review

Part 3 of TIP 50, Addressing Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in Substance Abuse Treatment, is available.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment: Need, Barriers

Many people who need treatment for an alcohol problem are not seeking help. Why?

National Directory Updated and Available

National Directory Updated and Available

An updated guide to finding local substance abuse treatment programs is available.

  Real Warrior Campaign  
Reaching Out Makes a Real Difference

Reaching Out Makes a Real Difference

The Real Warriors Campaign is fighting the stigma of asking for help.

  Prevention Update  
Retail Tobacco Sales to Youth

Retail Tobacco Sales to Youth

Retail sales of tobacco products to young people continue to drop.

Parent Involvement Makes a Difference

Parent Involvement Makes a Difference

Parents play an important role in preventing substance abuse.

Suicide Prevention Update

Suicide Prevention Update

New funding, Web site redesign to improve navigation, and more.

Prevention Awards

Prevention Awards

To advance community-based prevention programs, $190 million to 25 grantees.

Calculating Program Allotments

A new guide provides information on procedures to calculate allocations for some key block and formula grants.

Drug Free Communities: Continuation Awards

More than 500 community coalitions nationwide recently received Drug Free Communities (DFC) continuation awards for their programs.

  Health Reform  
Nine Core Principles

Nine Core Principles

Ensuring current reform efforts include mental health and substance abuse issues.

  Mental Health  
Forecasting the Next 5 Years

Forecasting the Next 5 Years

Changes are coming to create “whole health,” person-centered care.

  Adolescents & Young Adults  
Need Treatment? Many Say No

Need Treatment? Many Say No

Nearly 7 million Americans age 18 to 25 were classified as needing treatment in the past year.

  Recovery Month  
Celebrating 20 Years of Recovery

Celebrating 20 Years of Recovery

Get up–to–the–minute updates on September's events.

  Also in this Issue  
Under the Influence: Fathers and Alcohol Use

Under the Influence: Fathers and Alcohol Use

Does dad's drinking affect his adolescent children?

Methadone Advisory

New information on the dangers of methadone in combination with other drugs.

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