FORT MITCHELL, Ky. — No matter how complicated things get at home, most kids want to be with their parents.
That's the fundamental truth behind the newest program at DCCH Center for Children and Families: Targeted Case Management.
The program’s goal is to help families who are at risk of having their children removed from their homes by connecting them with services and supports that provide them with more stability, said Kristen Turner, DCCH Center’s new targeted case management coordinator.
That can include helping parents get the medical care their children need or job training or affordable housing, Turner said.
“A lot of times we see that some of these barriers are causing parents and guardians to not be able to do certain things for the child,” she said. “This is kind of like a preventative program. We have children that have the potential to escalate to the point of needing foster care or residential services, but the idea is to prevent it from escalating.”
DCCH Center recently received a $10,000 Community Impact Fund grant from Horizon Community Funds to help launch the program.
Horizon Community Funds President Nancy Grayson said she was impressed with the way DCCH Center plans to work with local schools to refer families to the program. The center partners with nine schools in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties.
“We like that it’s taking a different approach at the front end of the issue,” Grayson said.
DCCH Center also received a $10,000 grant from Greater Cincinnati Foundation and a $20,000 grant from the Charles H. Dater Foundation to help launch the new effort, said Amy Pelicano, DCCH Center’s development director.
“This is a really compelling case for support,” Pelicano said. “People that I’ve talked to just are blown away by this program because it’s really keeping families together, and that’s our main goal.”
‘Whenever possible and whenever safe’
That $40,000 served as the start-up costs for DCCH Center’s new targeted case management program. As the program launches, the services will be able to get Medicaid reimbursements to help fund the work, Turner said.
Formerly known as the Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home, Fort Mitchell-based DCCH Center operates under the auspices of the Diocese of Covington.
“I think a lot of people think we are funded by the government and the diocese and United Way,” Pelicano said. “The truth is that the diocese and United Way funding makes up less than 1 percent of our budget.”
The idea of Targeted Case Management is not new, Turner said, noting that other organizations in the region also have adopted the approach.
DCCH Center decided to launch targeted case management to complement the other services it offers: residential treatment for boys and girls between the ages of six and 14; foster care and adoption services; and an outpatient therapy center.
If the targeted case management program works as well as DCCH Center expects, it should lessen the local demand for its residential and foster care programs, Turner said.
“Our goal is to keep the children in the home with their birth families whenever possible and whenever safe,” she said. “I try to work myself out of a job.”
Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. To reach Lucy, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.