DSS Liaisons Making a Difference: A Final Update

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — octubre 25, 2021 — 3 min de lectura
This year, we set out to change the way families interacted with the child welfare system. So, we took our best people and placed them as messengers between us and the Department of Social Services (DSS). However, these liaisons quickly became trusted allies to parents, children, and social workers alike.

Now, our liaisons are the heart of our Child Program. And because of their proactive efforts, families are getting help sooner. In this highlight, we’re focusing on DSS liaison Shauntae Bowers’ work to make early intervention more accessible than ever.

Getting Kids Assessed Faster

Shauntae is working with Caswell County DSS to implement a new program: the Single-Point Assessment Project. It was created by Youth Villages to help get pre-custody children into services faster.

“The Youth Villages assessor comes in once a week. They sit in on our meetings during which we identify kids that may need assessment,” Shauntae said. Once a child is identified, their assigned social worker speaks with the family and helps schedule the child for the assessment. “Only three weeks into the program, we’ve already assessed three children.”

Why This Work Matters

Many families get involved with DSS because a child is facing behavior challenges. Our liaisons work with DSS to address these behaviors before they get worse.

“Early intervention is very important,” Shauntae said. “We want to cut the behaviors off in the beginning and not react years and years later.” Early intervention means getting kids into the right services.

“Once connected to services, children can work through their feelings and past traumas. Those things won’t have the lasting effect that they would have had if they were ignored,” Shauntae said.

However, getting connected to services can take a long time. To be recommended for a service, a child must be professionally assessed. Setting up these assessments can take weeks or longer. Providers may have few available assessment slots. And caregivers may not have reliable transportation or time off work to attend the few appointments that are available.

That’s why Single-Point Assessment is a game-changer. It lowers turnaround time and allows a child to be fully assessed within one week. Once assessed, the child can get set up with treatment. And the family can begin to heal.

“The pilot has proven to be very beneficial to the families in Caswell County,” Shauntae said. “And I’m sure it’ll be very beneficial to others once it rolls out to the bigger counties.”

There’s Still Work to Be Done

By January 1, 2022, all our counties will move to a new managed care organization (MCO). Some families may be wondering what will happen to their dedicated DSS liaison.

Each MCO works with the child welfare system differently. So, it’s best for families in these eight counties to contact their future MCO to learn about their child welfare initiatives. Members can visit our County Realignments page to get started.

In the 9 Counties Moving to Vaya Health

Families in counties moving to Vaya Health (Vaya) may see some familiar faces at their local DSS office. Several of our DSS liaisons will transition to Vaya’s team by the end of the year. Although they won’t be called “DSS liaisons,” they’ll still work with DSS as one of Vaya’s embedded care managers.

A Big Thank You to Our Best People

As we said before, our DSS liaisons are the heart of our Child Program. We are so incredibly proud of the work they’ve done. They’ve showed up for families every day. They’ve served as agents of change in our communities. And we know that their impact on the child welfare system will last for many years to come.
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