Help Shape Crisis Services for Children

 

North Carolina will soon expand START crisis services to children and youth with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) and autism. Many of these children with complex mental health or behavioral needs have not been served by current crisis services due to a lack of space, and are held in emergency rooms or transferred to inpatient care.

You can help!

If you have a child age 6-17 with IDD or autism and a behavioral or mental health need, we need you to volunteer for a phone interview. Your feedback will guide the service planners on how to best meet the needs of children and their families. The interview should take about 15-20 minutes and responses are completely confidential. To participate, please email your name, the age of your child, and your phone number to jmahan@autismsociety-nc.org so we can connect you to the researchers.

Online survey

The University of New Hampshire, which houses the Center on START Services, is also surveying community members who interact with children to find out where services are working well and where they need to be improved.  We know what you are thinking: “ANOTHER survey?” YES! This data is going to be very important to figure out the best way to use the limited funding. It is also important for groups like ASNC to deliver data along with a clear message to lawmakers about where additional funds and policy changes should be directed.

Community members who interact with children through mental or IDD services, schools, medical services, courts, or the broader children’s services system are encouraged to take the online survey. The survey should take only a few minutes and will help improve services to children with IDD and their families. Family members may also use the online survey.

Background on START

START is a nationally recognized model for providing prevention and intervention services to people with IDD experiencing crisis, challenging behaviors, and mental health issues. The program focuses on keeping individuals in a community or home setting, out of facilities, and providing training and support to prevent future crisis. North Carolina has been a leader in offering START services to adults with IDD.

Last year, the NC General Assembly, with the support of the NC Department of Health and Human Services, allocated funding to expand START to children and youth. Recognizing that the funding is not adequate enough to serve the needs of all children in crisis, some Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCOs) have begun offering additional funds to support START in their region. ASNC is pleased to see one of our long-time advocacy targets finally funded, though we will continue to advocate for full funding for the service as well as the continuum of support for children and adults.

Please consider sharing this post with others! Thank you for taking the time to help improve services in North Carolina.

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