Friday, February 20, 2009

How Could a Foundation Help Children's Mental Heath Reform in Massachusetts?

Today was quite a day.  I was invited by a Family Foundation with an interest in children's mental health services in Massachusetts to talk about what's going on in Massachusetts.  My presentation was based on the Grand Rounds that I presented at Cornell last fall (it's still posted on the web) with some more information about recent events added.  Good presentation, their Board asked very good questions about cost, and feasibility.  In the end, though, it lead to an interesting question:  How can private foundations leverage their contributions to help us all build a better system for children's mental health care in Massachusetts?  The easy answer is "give us money", but it is actually a trickier question than that-  foundations know that they are not always going to be there to support a project, and want to give their money in such a way as to promote strategic growth.  Here are some of the thoughts that I left them with;  feel free to add your own ideas as comments:

  • Provide parent controlled funds for “wraparound”
  • Train parents for new roles in the process: Board members, parent partners, therapeutic mentors, advocate.
  • Develop cultural competence by teaching families about the culture of the mental health system.
  • Trainings for staff on “wraparound”
  • Support groups for agencies in transition
  • Collaborative office rounds for providers
  • Training in “Evidence-Based Practice” for everyone
  • Support multidisciplinary planning meetings.
  • Encourage schools to participate in teams.
  • Court involvement: GAL Project expansion.
  • Link to dropout or substance abuse prevention projects
Many of these are things that cannot or unlikely to be supported by Federal or State funds, so they would benefit from outside support.  Thanks to all the folks who gave me ideas over the last few months.  Got to catch a plane.  See you all next week.

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