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Family Peer Support – One Family’s Story

Beth Hess - Thursday, June 29, 2017
Last month we answered the question, “what is family peer support.” This month we’re sharing the story of one family who received family peer support from MCF through Targeted Case Management (TCM) Plus, a program launched in 2016 by the Behavioral Health Administration to support children and youth with intensive mental health and/or substance use issues and their families. 

A twelve-year old boy was enrolled in TCM Plus in August, 2016.   He had a history of fire-setting and aggressive behavior towards other children. He had been placed in all special education classes, was angry and got into fights with his classmates. In addition, his mother had significant health problems.

Upon enrollment in TCM Plus, the Child/Family Team (family members along with others in their community who were recruited to provide support and assistance) met and put a Plan of Care into place. Plans of Care include team meetings, goals for the child and family, and strategies to achieve those goals.

As part of TCM Plus, the family - in this instance the mother - was offered the help of an MCF Family Peer Support Specialist, which she accepted.  The Family Peer Support Specialist attended the Child/Family Team meetings with the mother, and helped her articulate and advocate for her family’s needs. In addition to supporting the mother in Child/Family Team meetings, the Family Peer Support Specialist attended Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings at the school with her, and connected her to resources, including the Local Care Team, Department of Social Services and Food Bank. Since transportation was a problem, the MCF Family Peer Support Specialist brought food to the family from the Food Bank. The Family Peer Support Specialist also encouraged the mother to try respite services, and was instrumental in finding a provider that would accept her son. 

Discretionary funds available through TCM Plus were used to pay for school clothes, drawing supplies and games in support of goals established in the family’s Plan of Care.

The boy now has friends that he plays with. With adequate supports in place, he has been able to successfully move from special education to general education classes, and loves school. He enjoys respite, and has taken up the hobby of maintaining two fish aquariums. While the mother still has health problems, they have greatly improved.

This is just one success story since the program’s launch last fall.  Many other Maryland families are being helped through TCM Plus and the assistance of an MCF Family Peer Support Specialist.

The Behavioral Health Administration currently has funding for 300 slots of TCM Plus:  240 slots for Medicaid-eligible youth and 60 slots for youth with private insurance or no insurance. The program is at near capacity with 234 Medicaid slots filled and all 60 private insurance/no insurance slots filled, with a waiting list of 14 youth. Every effort is being made to “graduate” current youth from the program, as appropriate, so that new youth can be helped.

Click to learn more about eligibility requirements and enrollment in TCM Plus

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