Mountain State Family Alliance
12 counties, West Virginia
The Mountain State Family Alliance is designed to (a) build upon existing service planning and development processes; (b) capitalize on experience previously gained with respect to multidisciplinary teams, flexible funds, and strengths-based service plans; and (c) utilize entities already in place such as the local Family Resource Network, KidsCare, and the Community Collaboratives. The goals of the project are as follows: Decrease the number of youth placed in out-of-state care; Increase community-based family support capacity in the region; Increase family involvement in service development and coordination of service delivery; Increase family involvement in individualized service planning; Utilize multidisciplinary teams region-wide; Decrease the number of children with severe emotional disturbance who are expelled from school; Improve family satisfaction with service delivery; Strive for early identification of youth and families presenting with risk factors leading to out-of-home placement; Provide services to youth within the least restrictive environment; Make adequate, appropriate, and culturally competent services available and accessible throughout the region for youth and their families.
The MSFA has developed a system of care in DHHR Region II, a geographical area in southwestern West Virginia sometimes referred to as “Central Appalachia,” that includes 12 counties: Boone, Cabell, Clay, Kanawha, Jackson, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Putnam, Roane, and Wayne. Six hundred thousand people live in the region, approximately one-third of the State’s population, including about 140,000 children. Region II includes two of the State’s largest cities, Charleston and Huntington, as well as several very rural counties. The population per square mile varies from a high of 343 people in Cabell County (includes Huntington) to a low of 30 people in Clay County. Kanawha County (including Charleston) is the largest county covered by the project, with a population of 200,000. The target population for the MSFA are between 5 and 18 years of age (unless youth remains in DHHR custody; then possibly to 21); have an emotional, behavioral, or mental disorder diagnosable under DSM−IV, or ICD−10, with the exception of DSM−IV V-codes (substance abuse and developmental disorders), unless they co-occur with another diagnosable emotional, behavioral, or mental disorder; are unable to function in the family, school, or community, as demonstrated by a score of 50 or higher on any of the CAFAS subscales measuring domains; have had, or on the basis of the diagnosis and CAFAS-demonstrated intensity are likely to have, the disorder for at least 1 year; are involved with two or more systems, such as education, mental health, child welfare, health, and juvenile justice; and are of either gender and any race, culture, or ethnicity. The target population includes children and youth who reside in family-home settings (including biological, foster, adoptive parent(s), and caretaker relatives) who may be at risk for out-of-home placement, as well as children who are returning to a family-home setting in the community from out-of-home placement. Services also may be provided to children who are at risk for expulsion from school and to those at imminent risk of out-of-home placement, if services are not available through other sources. The MSFA began serving children and families in October 2000. By the 2005 site visit (data through January 2005), the project had served a total of 981 children. A total of 275 children have been enrolled in the MSFA since the third system-of-care assessment in February 2004. Of those 275 children, 65 percent were male, 90 percent were White, 58 percent were older than 11 years of age, and 84 percent had services supported by Medicaid.