Location:

Hillsborough County, Florida

Initial Funding:

October and November, 1998

Focus:

THINK’s current goals are to expand service capacity of the existing system of care, close service gaps, and reach out to under-served populations and rural areas of the county through directed outreach and specialized services. The THINK system activities are guided by the following principles: Families are equal partners at all levels, including planning, implementation, and evaluation; A comprehensive array of services and supports meet individual needs; Services are culturally competent, developmentally appropriate, and built on strengths; Services are offered in least restrictive, most appropriate, and accessible settings; Decisions are guided by data and an ongoing systematic evaluation process; Provider and family strengths are enhanced by training and support.

Population:

The grant catchment area includes all of Hillsborough County, located on the west coast of Florida near Tampa Bay. The County’s population includes urban, rural, migrant, and ethnically diverse communities and is estimated to have grown from 998,948 (2000 Census) to 1,055,807 in 2002. According to the 2000 Census, 75 percent of the population is White, 15 percent is Black or African-American, and 2 percent or 21,947 is Asian. As reported in the 2003 assessment, the Children’s Board was planning to lower the eligibility age to 0–8 for children and to provide services for pregnant women by 2012 in an effort to provide early intervention services. For the THINK grant, however, the criteria for eligibility continued as follows: Children with a DSM–IV diagnosis and a global assessment scale score of 50 or below; A student classified with serious emotional disturbance by the school district; Children receiving services or those with involvement in >2 child serving systems; Children currently receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for a psychiatric disability; Children with a mental, behavioral, emotional disorder of sufficient duration (at least 1 year) that interferes with, or limits their functioning in family, school, or community activities. In 2003, the THINK project served 200 children and families, with a cumulative total of 740 since inception of the THINK grant. Based upon April 2004 data on 413 children served by THINK who were enrolled in the national evaluation, 67 percent were male and approximately two-thirds were between the ages of 12 and 18 years. Most children were White (46 percent), followed by African-American (42 percent). Sixteen percent were of Hispanic origin.

Contact:

lpanacek@childrensboard.org

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