As guiding principles of system of care, being family-driven and youth-guided is our way of doing business. We are empowering children, youth, and families with mental health needs, by encouraging families to understand what they need to become independent in their communities.
We listen to ideas, suggestions and recommendations of our families and youth through their participation on task groups, CoRe Team, advisory councils and MAP Teams. Also youth are brought to the same table with adults to discuss what they need to succeed in the community.
By using the wraparound process, both the child and parent drives the development of the plan of care with the key staff and partners. We have family support groups, youth development activities, respite services and other training as necessary to keep families informed and educated.
Family Support Groups are held the last Thursday of each month by the family involvement coordinators. The group is open to any parent or caregiver of a child, regardless of age, who suffers from a mental health issue. Topics vary based on parent’s needs but include positive behavioral supports, transitional planning, school district’s policies and procedures, etc.
Youth Development Activities occur throughout the month in each of the three-county service area. The groups are facilitated by the youth development coordinator and centered around youth-related topics. Some previous topics included completing a job application, suicide prevention, continuing education, money management, etc. Some other activities include a spring break retreat and a summer program for commUNITY cares youth.
Respite Services are services that provide a break for parents who have a child with a serious emotional disturbance. Certified and trained individuals take care of the child for a brief period of time to give families relief from the strain of caring for the child. This type of care can be provided in the home or in another location.
The family and youth portion of this system of care is led by Mississippi Families as Allies. MS FAA is a statewide, not-for-profit organization for Mississippi’s children and youth with mental health needs. There is a local office that works in Forrest, Lamar and Marion County, located on 105 N 25TH Avenue in Hattiesburg, MS