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Tagged With "Foster"

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SaySo and Karen McLeod Honored at NC Child’s Voices for Children Breakfast

Carla Whaley ·
The 2019 Voices for Children Breakfast was hosted by NC Child earlier this month. Members of the child advocacy community came together to celebrate achievements in their work with families and children and recognize leaders who have made a difference. SaySo (Strong Able Youth Speaking Out) was awarded the first-ever Community Voices Award. SaySo is a statewide association of youth aged 14 to 24 who are, or have been, in the North Carolina foster care system. As youth who have first-hand...
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Introducing Benchmarks’ Standardized Assessment Protocol

Jenny Cooper ·
According to leading research, 99% of children entering the foster care system have experienced trauma in their lifetime, and few of those children receive the trauma-informed healthcare they need to recover and prosper. These children are more likely to not only suffer short-term from their trauma, but long term as well. Children who do not receive effective, holistic healthcare experience a lifetime of mental health disorders, substance misuse, and physical illnesses, including diabetes,...
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Expanding Trauma Services in Foster Care

Jenny Cooper ·
Benchmarks is thrilled to announce the addition of two new counties to our Standardized Assessment Protocol (SAP) project—Burke and Rutherford Counties! Burke and Rutherford began partnering with us this summer. The two counties will work together, with Partners Behavioral Health Management and Benchmarks, to prioritize children in their foster care system who need to receive trauma-informed clinical assessments. In addition to providing their foster care system with these assessments, the...
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Rockstar Partner Highlight: Davidson County DSS

Jasmine Cain ·
As we all are aware, COVID has presented its own set of challenges to the wonderful work we all do with the children and families we serve and our Benchmarks’ Partnering for Excellence (PFE) child welfare partners are no different in this regard. During the pandemic child welfare agencies across North Carolina have had to contend with the ever-changing needs and demands of their communities. From helping families get set up with supportive concrete supports during times of financial...
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Worth the Effort: Building Resilience in Social Workers

Jenny Cooper ·
Let’s talk ·R·E·S·I·L·I·E·N·C·E! Resilience is an individual’s ability to overcome adversity, and it is influenced by many factors. A person’s resilience is strongly impacted by their environment and support systems within their lives. A supportive environment, relationships, and connections with other trusted and dependable human beings can make a tremendous difference in the lives of children and families who have endured toxic stressful and traumatic situations. We know how important...
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Benchmarks Unveils New Infographic

Jenny Cooper ·
Benchmarks' Partnering for Excellence redesigns the local child welfare/behavioral health system, changing the way DSSs, MCOs, local providers, and the wider community understand trauma and the need for accessible, appropriate mental health services for children, youth and families who have experienced potentially traumatic events. PFE aims to lead communities to an understanding of the importance of trauma-informed and trauma-responsive communities, to create a lasting change in the...
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Bridging the Academic Gap During the Pandemic – Tutoring & Caregiver Resources

Mary Trimpi ·
For most, COVID-19 has completely changed the way people approach their everyday activities, such as attending school. This disruptive turn of events has drastically changed the way education is being delivered, with many school systems switching to a virtual or remote learning platform. For many children and families, these needed yet significant changes have added challenges that many are seeing impact children’s ability to succeed in school. In response to this, our newest Benchmarks’...
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Social Workers are Essential: Highlighting National Social Work Month

Sharron Roberts ·
The month of March brings an abundance of things to celebrate, including National Social Work Month! The National Association of Social Workers dedicates March as a time to celebrate the incredible social work profession and to educate others on the many contributions made by social workers in our communities. This year’s theme “Social Workers are Essential” calls our attention to the indelible role of the social worker in responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Indeed, for...
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Breaking the Stigma: Notable Names with a Child-Welfare Experience

Kelsey Catherwood ·
May is National Foster Care Month--a month where we are intentional about acknowledging children, families, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members in the community who are involved in Foster Care. An important topic, and one worth discussing, is helping children break the stigma associated with being in Foster Care. Considering all the trauma that can be experienced by children within the child-welfare system, foster children might feel as though...
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Benchmarks Engages in Local Efforts to Mirror Statewide Health Integration

Jasmine Cain ·
For those who may not be aware, July 1, 2021, North Carolina (NC) launched a large transformation within its Medicaid program, referred to as Medicaid Transformation. Prior to this transformation, Medicaid recipients’ physical and behavioral health needs were handled as separate issues because of “ how” and “ where” funds were managed. For recipients, this separation often resulted in service dis-cohesion for those with co-morbidities or co-occurring mental and physical health needs. Since...
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Why Use a Standardized Battery of Measures in Mental Health Assessments?

Amanda C Dolinger ·
The question posed in the title is one that Benchmarks’ project managers and coordinators hear often during our implementation work within our state’s social services and mental health agencies. As busy as our mental health clinicians are, why would we want them to spend more time completing a battery of measures for children and families that need to get into services as quickly as possible? Isn’t it better to get their basic comprehensive clinical assessment completed quickly and start...
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A Full-Circle Moment

Sharron Roberts ·
Approximately every six weeks, each Benchmarks Center for Quality Integration team member is responsible for a blog post on our PACEs Connection page. Each month, one blog is a Partner Spotlight which highlights the incredible work happening across the state of North Carolina. For the month of May, Benchmarks Consultant, Sharron Roberts authored our partner spotlight blog where she shared about her “full-circle moment” below. My search to highlight a partner in our Pathways to Permanency...
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Spotlight: SPARC Services & Programs

Amanda C Dolinger ·
SPARC Programs & Services provides children and family mental health services in a variety of locations across North Carolina, from the Piedmont to the Western areas of the state. SPARC has become the most recent private provider to have clinicians trained to administer the Benchmarks’ Standardized Assessment Protocol (SAP) Trauma-Intensive Comprehensive Clinical Assessment (TiCCA) to children over the age of 4 entering foster care. SPARC was selected by the Burke and Rutherford SAP...
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Rockingham County DHHS-DSS Spotlight

Amanda C Dolinger ·
Rockingham County Department of Health & Human Services-Division of Social Services is adept at participating in pilot projects in the health and human services realm, and is always interested in doing innovative, trauma-informed work that is for the benefit of the children & families they serve. In 2019, Rockingham County chose to participate in Benchmarks’ Standardized Assessment Protocol (SAP) project and sought to provide foster children with the opportunity to receive a holistic...
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Using Workgroups to Drive Outcomes

Sharron Roberts ·
Since 2021, the Benchmarks’ Center for Quality Integration has been consulting on Vaya Health's Pathways to Permanency project. This collaboration has brought together six dedicated workgroups, a lived experience council, and an internal Vaya workgroup to address the needs of professionals and foster parents supporting child welfare-involved youth. Through monthly meetings since April 2022, these workgroups have played a pivotal role in analyzing shared strengths and challenges, designing...
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Empowering Foster Parents: Unpacking the Foster Parent Bill of Rights Training

Sharron Roberts ·
In the intricate web of child welfare and support systems, foster parents stand as pillars of strength, providing nurturing homes for children in need. Acknowledging the pivotal role they play, Vaya Health’s Pathways to Permanency project's “Common Language and Shared Understanding” workgroup recently organized a training session on the Foster Parent Bill of Rights. Held in collaboration with the Foster Family Alliance (FFA), the training focused on enlightening professionals in child...
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Elevating Foster Parent Training: Unveiling the Pathways to Permanency FosteringNC Developmental Effects of Trauma Facilitator’s Guide

Jasmine Cain ·
In the collaborative pursuit of addressing the comprehensive needs of youth in foster care and their families, the Pathways to Permanency project has given rise to a powerful tool – the “FosteringNC Developmental Effects of Trauma Facilitator’s Guide". Developed in tandem with Vaya, County DSS offices, and mental health providers, this guide stands as a testament to Vaya’s commitment to addressing critical needs related to the foster care experience. The Pathways to Permanency Project The...
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Enhancing Family Foster Care: "All Staff Treat Them Like Gold Training"

Jasmine Cain ·
The importance of safe and supportive homes for youth in foster care cannot be overstated. The "Safe & Supportive Homes: Family Foster Care Recruitment and Retention" workgroup, part of Vaya's Pathways to Permanency project, has been making significant strides in enhancing the foster care experience for both children and resource families. As an extension of the highly successful virtual Treat Them Like Gold (TTLG) Learning Collaborative , the workgroup is now introducing the All-Staff...
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Navigating the Holiday with Youth in Foster Care

Olandra Hudson ·
The holiday season is here! Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, Kwanzaa: all times of celebration for their adherents. This time of the year is typically associated with joy, family, food, and an overall sense of togetherness. While these emotions may be the case for most, it is not always so for current and former youth in foster care. For many, this is a time of year when they are faced with the realization that they will not be “home for the holidays” with their birth family members. This...
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