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Family Peer Support – One Family’s Story

Beth Hess - Friday, July 28, 2017
In May we answered the question, “what is family peer support.” This month we are 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 who was struggling at school and at home was referred and enrolled in TCM Plus.   He had a history of fire-setting and aggressive behavior towards other children. He had been placed in 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 the local 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.

A component of TCM Plus, known as Customized Goods and Services, allows for the purchase of goods or services that are in support of goals established in the family’s Plan of Care.  Funds were used by this Child/Family Team to purchase school uniforms, drawing supplies and chess and checkers sets to support the young person’s interest in art and chess/checkers.

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.  There are slots designated for families with Medical Assistance as well as a limited number of slots available for families who have private or no insurance.  Applications to TCM Plus are reviewed on a rolling basis.  Once accepted, a family may be placed on a waitlist until a slot becomes available.  Every effort is being made to “graduate” current youth from the program, as appropriate, so that new youth can be helped.

For more information about the program, please follow the link below or contact a Family Peer Support Specialist in your area.

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