The Children’s Partnership
Travis County, Texas
October and November, 1998
The CMHS grant application in 1997 was a natural extension of the ATCMHMR Children’s Partnership program. Enrollment commenced in April 1999 with the following mission: Travis County will be a community which is aware of children’s mental health issues and supports the measurable improvement of the mental health of children and their families through a clearly defined continuum of prevention, early intervention and treatment services that are family focused and culturally competent. To accomplish said mission, the Partnership established the following goals and objectives: Increase flexible funding through utilization of a consolidated, independent resource pool, with contributions from public child-serving agencies including child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, education, and health and human services; Form an independent family support office to provide planning, quality improvement, advocacy, and support for the Children’s Partnership; Use a wraparound approach to create individualized service plans, providing for full care coordination of both formal and informal resources; Help families to keep children in community care and reduce out-of-home placements; Apply managed care strategies and state-of-the-art software to the development of optimum service and financial accountability; Employ sound evaluation principles to assure relevant youth, family, and systems outcomes; and Expand services families have requested, including family preservation, respite care, mobile crisis and school-based day treatment.
Although the Children’s Partnership’s catchment area is defined as Travis County, four priority ZIP codes in east Austin were targeted as having the most intense need for services. The population of Travis County increased by 24.6 percent from 1990 to 1999, and continues to grow. Over the decade, the Hispanic population increased by 43 percent, and 37 percent of children under age 5 in Travis County were Hispanic. According to the Year 2000 census data, 62 percent of the population was White, 23.6 percent Hispanic, 10.5 percent AfricanAmerican, and 4 percent categorized as “Other”. The most recent demographics for Travis County provided by Partnership staff are reported as follows: 36 percent White, 29 percent Hispanic, 14 percent African-American, and 21 percent Other. Children are considered eligible for the Children’s Partnership if they meet one of two sets of eligibility criteria. Children are eligible for Level 1 if they meet the following criteria: Age up to 22; A diagnosed or suspected serious emotional disturbance because of specific behaviors or other conditions; Reside in out-of-home placement, or such placement is considered imminent; Involved in at least two human service systems; Have serious problems functioning in personal, family, school, and community domains; Have no immediate risk of harm to self or others Level 2 eligibility criteria are for children at risk of a more restrictive placement and are as follows: Age up to 22; Serious emotional disturbance diagnosis; At risk for out-of-home placement or removal from preferred childcare; Involved in at least two service systems; Serious problems in functioning in at least two life domains of personal, family, school, and community. According to the grant application, the Children’s Partnership is projected to serve 30 youth per year meeting Level 1 criteria during Years 1 through 4, and 40 youth in Year 5. During the first year, the partnership served approximately 50 Level 1 children. It was anticipated that five youth would be served from Level 2 in Year 2, 30 in Year 3, 80 in Year 4, and 150 in Year 5.