The latest edition of the Safe at Home quarterly newsletter is now available at http://bit.ly/2e31Oc4
Below is a front page article…
October marks one year since phase one of Safe at Home West Virginia was implemented in 11 counties. Since then, the program has expanded to 24 additional counties, providing hundreds of youth with an improved opportunity to lead safe, healthy and successful lives in their home communities.
The journey started in 2013 when DHHR applied for a federal IV-E waiver in order to give our Department greater flexibility delivering services to children and their families. In 2014, because of the hard work of the staff at the Bureau for Children and Families, the waiver was granted, and we spent the next year vigorously planning before our 2015 launch.
All along, our focus has been on the 12-17 year old population, the largest age group to be placed in congregate care settings and the most frequently identified with a behavioral health diagnosis. With a trauma-informed approach, our staff works to prevent re-traumatization. We are honored to collaborate with local coordinating agencies and other partners who also understand the need to focus on trauma, especially for our Safe at Home youth, the majority of whom have experienced at least one adverse childhood experience.
A unique part of Safe at Home is that it focuses on the whole household. For many families, this program offers a new hope. With wraparound services, we are not only providing support to the child, but we’re also helping parents and caregivers learn how to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
To date, 343 children have been referred to Safe at Home. Of those, 25 have returned to the state; 61 have moved from in-state residential placements back to their home communities; 130 have been prevented from entering residential placement; and 2 have returned from a shelter placement back to their home communities.
The future of West Virginia’s children is bright, and that is thanks in part to all of the people who have bought into this revolutionary program. As we move forward to expand this initiative statewide in 2017, remember these words of Mahatma Gandhi: “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” Safe at Home West Virginia is doing just that, and you can be a part of the movement
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