Jessica Sexauer

Services to assist families and pregnant women at risk for behavioral trauma

(Nov. 15, 2019) The Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to issue requests for proposals for a family home visiting program and Mental Health Case Management: Care Coordination for Children and Youth.

Both requests were from the Worcester County Local Management Board, which consists of representatives of different child services agencies and coordinates responses to child-related issues.

The home visiting program will target child maltreatment, poverty, childhood hunger, infant mortality and behavioral health, according to the request for proposal. It will focus on assisting pregnant women and families with children from birth up to 6-years-old. 

Jessica Sexauer, director of the Local Management Board, said the program will be “for children who may have identified behavioral and emotional challenges or families that may be facing multiple environmental and psychological challenges that could lead to depression, domestic violence, substance abuse or other traumatic-related events.”

Sexauer told the commissioners that the program is voluntary and that clients would be referred to the program. Most referrals would come from obstetrician offices, the county health department or a child-serving agency. Commissioner Jim Bunting asked if the funding at $65,559 would be sufficient. 

“That’s only a partial because that’s only going to go through June 30,” Sexauer said. “There would be additional funds available for 2021, so that’s a half year proposal to cover two part-time positions and then whatever additional items they need.” 

The request for proposal states that the program will be developed and implemented for FY20, with a possible extension into FY21. However, Bunting still expressed skepticism. 

“Do you have an idea of what your caseload is going to be?” Bunting said. “Because it covers a lot in the target population.”

Sexauer agreed that it is a large target population and said the program will target 10 families for the implementation for a total of 20 to 25 families a year. This funding could be for a local nonprofit, faith-based organization or government agency in good standing. 

Commissioner Joseph Mitrecic moved to approve the request and Commissioner Joshua Nordstrom seconded. Commissioners Bunting and Chip Bertino opposed. 

According to Sexauer, the proposals should incorporate a clinician with a master’s degree who will perform onsite behavioral health assessments and implement appropriate interventions and a community support worker who will connect families with resources they need. The deadline for submitting proposals is Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. 

The Local Management Board’s second request for proposal was to seek a new provider for the existing Mental Health Case Management: Care Coordination for Children and Youth.

The program serves Worcester County youth from ages five to 18, young adults up to age 22 and their families. It focuses on expanding their access to medical, mental health, social, educational and other services. 

“They have risk factors including living in poverty — low income families,” Sexauer said. “They would be Medicaid-eligible. There may some risk of homelessness or have some basic needs that are identified that need to be addressed. Case management services would help support the child and family to resource those needs as effectively as possible.”

Sexauer explained that unlike the first request for proposal, this program is not grant-funded, but rather Medicaid reimbursed. The deadline for proposals is also Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. 

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