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Chemung County Children’s Integrated Services
Chemung County Children’s Integrated Services is located in the rural Southern Tier Region of Western New York State. A cluster of teen suicides in 2004 and 2005 in the county led to the creation of a County Suicide Prevention Task Force that had broad representation, including county officials, school district administrators, concerned parents, human service and mental health providers, youth, police, probation, hospital, faith based and civic organizations. Among its actions, this Task Force: 1) developed protocols for communication among stakeholders when completed and attempted suicides are identified; 2) adopted the Signs of Suicide Program for all School Districts in the County; and 3) created a Community Advocacy and Prevention Coordinator position to facilitate and coordinate School based suicide prevention, and eventually broaden these efforts to adult suicide prevention as well.
Since the inaugural 2005-2006 school year in which one third of the county’s teens were exposed to the Signs of Suicide Program in their school, other positive outcomes have been reported, including: 1) Signs of Suicide has been integrated into the health curriculum in several of the schools; 2) Middle School Signs of Suicide has been added; 3) 62% of students surveyed report they have a better idea of how to help a friend or get help for themselves; 4) crisis team and staff training have been added; and 5) a committee with representation from three districts has been working to develop local practice standards based on research for suicide prevention education, intervention, and post-intervention.
Forsyth County School System
Forsyth County School System is one of the fastest growing school systems in Georgia and the United States. There are over 32,000 students and 30 schools in this rapidly changing system. Fifteen (elementary and middle) of the 30 schools are in various stages of implementing the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. a multilevel, multi-component, school-based program designed to prevent or reduce bullying in elementary and middle schools.
The goals of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program are: to reduce existing bullying problems among students, to prevent development of new bullying problems and to improve peer relationships (bystanders). It is a whole school concept with the core components of the program being implemented at the school, classroom, individual and community levels. It is designed to influence core values of the school community and become integral to a school’s daily routines and procedures. The program requires collaboration on the part of school staff, parents, students and the community. In Forsyth County, schools have begun restructuring the school environment by having class meetings once a week, intervening on the spot, using positive consequences and incorporating class meetings in the curriculum. The Prevention Specialist, a nationally certified Olweus trainer, provides technical assistance and meets with each Olweus school on a monthly basis to monitor fidelity and support the schools. Each school structures their program according to their needs while following the fidelity of the Olweus program.
Students at a middle school completed bullying surveys in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Their responses to the survey provided valuable information about what students are learning about bullying behavior, students’ views of bullying, as well as, students’ attempts to seek support or empathy when they witness bullying situations or are being bullied themselves. Surveys given in 2005 reflect the baseline year before any knowledge of the Olweus program. Year 2006 and 2007 provide awareness of what the definition of bullying is, types of bullying and common language in the school community. According to the surveys, the students’ identified teasing/name-calling, exclusion behaviors and rumors as the most often displayed types of bullying behaviors.
St. Vincent Family Centers
St. Vincent Family Centers, in Columbus, Ohio, provides comprehensive services addressing the behavioral health needs of children in Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio. The services include residential / respite, school age and preschool partial hospitalization, community support, wraparound services and outpatient family services. In addition, specialized programming is provided for Hispanic / Latino children and families; Deaf children and their families throughout the state of Ohio; and, Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and treatment.
The organization began using The Incredible Years program in 2006. The program grew from thirteen Parent, Classroom and Small Groups in Fiscal Year 2007 to twenty-three Parent, Classroom and Small Groups in Fiscal Year 2008. In 2007, St. Vincent Family Centers expanded implementation of Incredible Years Classroom Group curriculum into the Preschool Partial Hospitalization Program; a year-round, classroom based program which addresses the behavioral and emotional needs of children 3 – 6 years of age. Since January 2007, parents of preschool students have had the opportunity to participate in Incredible Years Parent Groups. In 2007, the Deaf Services Program began implementing Small Group and Classroom Group components. Group facilitators use specially modified puppets which were outfitted with fingers which could be manipulated, allowing the puppets to communicate with the children using American Sign Language. According to The Incredible Years national office, this is the first time puppets have been used with this population. In 2008, the program was further expanded to provide an Incredible Years Parent Group for Hispanic / Latino parents. Throughout these efforts, fidelity to the program is maintained through various means, including staff trainings.
In 2007, 68% of children assessed increased in one or more protective factors; there was an overall 36% decrease in behavioral concerns; and, among children with “concerns” in the behavioral area, 57% decreased their behavioral concerns. Further, of the 46 children reported to be at risk of removal from their child care setting, 41 were maintained in their child care.
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration • 1 Choke Cherry Road • Rockville, MD 20857