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Marquette County...
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07/15/2014

Integrated Services Program

This service was begun in 1993 in Marquette County with the original Children Come First grant.  This service is for children and families, when the child has severe emotional disturbance.  However, the approach is primarily an approach of getting the adults in the situation organized to address the needs of the child, and other members of the family, which is an approach very different than is typical with direct treatment services.  The primary feature of this program is that a team of adults, which includes the parents, meets  to make decisions about what to do.  These adults fill the gaps, so to speak, in the support network of the child’s life.  Each and every child requires this kind of support network to develop normally, and these children have been too isolated, their families have been too fragmented, or the families have been beset by overwhelming circumstances for too long, to allow the building of this necessary set of supportive relationships. 
 
Mental health treatment specialists may be a part of the team, but this program focuses mostly on what adults who are in the child’s life on a daily basis can do to help the situation.  Thus, this service focuses on mobilizing local resources, that prior to that time  have gone mostly untapped, because the problems were not identified as a shared problem by others living in the community, or were assumed to be services only specialists could provide.
 
Northland provides the service coordinator and team facilitator for this program.  School staff and social services staff also participate in the team process. The guidelines for team process have been developed by the State of Wisconsin, which provides the primary funding for most of these programs across the state.  The Northland case manger is very active in a variety of activities involving communication with other members of the team, the child, and agencies, such as the police, who also may have contact with the child.  The team that achieves success in this program usually sees fewer professionals involved over time, and more family and informal supports.
 
Marquette County has a Coordinating Committee set up for the purpose of monitoring this integrated services program.  This committee, consisting of representatives from several agencies in the community, and four parents, meet monthly during the school year, to identify issues to assist in maintaining and in operating the program.  This Coordinating Committee was set up to be consistent with s. 46.56, the Wisconsin statute that helped implement these services across the state.  Today about 75% of the counties have integrated services programs. 
 
This program also has a project coordinator to oversee daily operation of the program.  The project coordinator approves admissions, discharges, and helps teams out if they run into obstacles in achieving their goals.  Sometimes this means that the project coordinator meets with the head of another agency if a particular problem arises.  The project coordinator is also responsible for making reports to the state and to the local coordinating committee on enrollment status and progress towards goals. 
 
Northland also provides the case manager/team facilitator for the integrated services program in Juneau County.  There the program is identified as Coordinated Services Teams, or CST for short.

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