Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Children's Crisis Treatment Center

Name of Innovative Program: 
Caring Families of CCTC
Sponsoring Organization
Children's Crisis Treatment Center
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
Children's Crisis Treatment Center
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Project Description: 
Children’s Crisis Treatment Center’s (CCTC’s) mission is to passionately serve the emotional needs of children and their families beginning in early childhood.  We meet children where they are and help them reach their full potential regardless of their challenges.  Our vision is to be the region’s leader in providing quality children’s mental health services, training, education and advocacy for best practices.  Aligned with our mission and vision, in July 2010 CCTC successfully held its first family advisory group meeting comprised of parents/caregivers of children who have or are participating in CCTC’s emotional/behavioral health services as well as young adults who participated in treatment as children.  CCTC strongly believes that the perspectives of the families we serve must be fully integrated into every level of our organization, and their voices must be reflected throughout our work. 
Creativity and Innovation: 
CCTC knew at the onset that the success rate of establishing participant-driven committees comprised of family members who have participated in services children’s mental health agencies is low. Reasons for this low success rate are many including potential members’ multiple competing priorities such as child care and other family obligations as well as daily stressors associated with low income households.  CCTC believed and has since confirmed that one of the key success factors in establishing a family advisory group is the initial planning process.  CCTC’s planning focused on innovative and creative ways to identify, recruit and engage parents/caregivers in our organization.  This focus on innovation and creativity during the planning process laid the groundwork for family advisory group members to continue developing and implementing several innovative family-driven initiatives.
The behavioral health system, both locally and nationally, is undergoing a transformation that at its core promotes an increased focus on self-directed care and recovery.  This movement has largely developed in the adult treatment arena, although there is increasing evidence that effective behavioral health services for children and families are greatly enhanced when families are actively engaged in all aspects of service delivery. Activities including administrative functions, service planning, advocacy, and outcomes monitoring are listed among key areas for participation.  However, a gap exists between knowledge and practice, largely related to the barriers that exist in creating pathways for families to engage with organizations outside of service participation.  In an effort to provide leadership in applying recovery/resiliency principles within children’s mental health, CCTC developed and implemented a process by which to create family advisory groups within children’s mental health agencies.
Caring Families of CCTC falls under the purview of CCTC’s Parent/Caregiver Services, which focuses on supporting families through educational opportunities, strength-based and family-focused treatment services, and the inclusion of families in efforts to reduce stigma and increase family engagement in services for children. During the past few years, CCTC has successfully garnered private support for our parent/caregiver services through individual donations, corporate sponsorships, and foundation/public grants. CCTC aggressively pursues both philanthropic and public sector support to continue the group, requesting renewed support from our current contributors and seeking out connections with additional foundations and corporations. CCTC is also working with the behavioral health system toward a more holistic treatment approach to enable the system’s financial support of peer services.
CCTC believed and has since confirmed that one of the key success factors in establishing a family advisory group is the initial planning process.  CCTC chronicled the planning and development of our family advisory group with an eye toward replication and summarized that process in a white paper as well as a poster for presentation.  CCTC staff along with Caring Families of CCTC members have presented at local symposiums as well as national conferences such as the annual National Council for Behavioral Health Conference and annual Sanctuary Network Conference to share our learnings and support the development of family advisory groups at other agencies. 
The outcomes of this work at the organizational level include but are not limited to an active, engaged family advisory group whose members participate in CCTC’s Quality Management Committee, and provide input on existing program operations and new program development.  The outcomes of this work at the service delivery level include family advisory group members holding an annual family resource fair, speaking at community events to advocate for increased access to child/family services, creating and facilitating a children’s reading corner within CCTC’s outpatient program, and providing peer support including co-facilitating multiple family groups at CCTC.