Grant Profile: Housatonic Youth Service Bureau
In the fall of 2019, the Housatonic Valley Regional High School Director of School Counselling reported that in the previous school year, the counselors saw a marked increase in students with urgent needs coming to the counselling office for immediate support. It was estimated that just under 10% of the counselors’ caseloads were students with significant enough mental health or emotional support needs that they required 1:1 support once per week, for more than 4 weeks in a row.
Recognizing the need for clinical services, the Housatonic Youth Service Bureau partnered with Housatonic Valley Regional High School to create a position for a new clinician who could provide dedicated support to those high school students identified as high risk. With the guidance and financial support of the Foundation for Community Health, the ARC Clinician was born and HYSB hired an additional staff member to fill the critical role. ARC (Assess, Respond, Connect) follows a flexible components-based model that was developed to provide a guiding framework for thoughtful clinical intervention with youth.
In the spring of 2020, just as the pandemic began, HYSB began working with the high school team. The ARC Clinician sees students at the high school, in person and via remote tele-health sessions, and works with them and their families to provide services and/or referrals to other specialists. The clinician also serves as a critical link between families and care providers in the form of a case manager.
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, service models shifted and some group programming was suspended or moved online. At the same time, new needs emerged as a result of students feeling anxious and isolated. Our ARC Clinician pivoted to address those student needs and also provided support to the faculty and staff through trainings and support groups.
The addition of a 3rd social worker at HYSB has been critical as all of our clinicians reach their maximum caseloads and more youth are coming forward in need of more significant support for longer periods of time.
At a time of significant expansion for HYSB, additional support from the Foundation for Community Health will allow us to meet personnel costs and complete an office renovation.
Listen to the 8/18/21 recorded interview of Kelly Parker, Executive Director of the Housatonic Youth Service Bureau, talking about her agency and the Foundation for Community Health with Marshall Miles on Robin Hood Radio.