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State grants enable us to help other providers

All around our vast state, day in and day out, there are organizations providing quality care and treatment to children and youth, when, for a variety of reasons, that care cannot be provided at home.

For the past number of years, the training department here at AK Child & Family has been fortunate to be the recipient of a State of Alaska Division of Behavioral Health grant to provide training and technical assistance to a provider group of Children’s residential care, known collectively as “RCCY” (Residential Care for Children & Youth) agencies.

RCCY agencies are located in Barrow, Kotzebue, Nome, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Bethel, Kenai, Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan. My colleague, Anthony Hernandez, and myself, get to travel to them all. It’s a really fun, really busy job.

Just last month, Anthony traveled to Nome to help the staff at Nome Children’s Home become certified in the Mandt System for de-escalation & crisis management. The Nome Children’s Home is an “Emergency Shelter” for boys and girls, 0 – 18 years old, and staff there need to be able to maintain a safe and therapeutic environment for all age and gender mixes.

When I traveled to Nome last Spring, I got to see baby musk ox in the wild! The blue football field I saw on an FASD training trip to CYS (Children & Youth Services) in Barrow was pretty wild too! Next month, I will travel to Sitka and work with the staff of Youth Advocates of Sitka, or YAS. YAS runs a “Level III” co-ed group home; they also have extensive community based programming, and have been recognized on a state and national level for their Transitional Living program host home model for homeless youth.

Staff from the RCCY Provider, YKHC’s McCann Treatment Center in Bethel, at a recent AK Child & Family training grant event.

Training on next month’s agenda includes Gatekeeper / QPR Suicide Prevention, and the State of Alaska’s Trauma 101 curriculum. Later this Spring, our training grant will help host a small regional conference in Kenai, where the Kenai Peninsula Community Care Center is an RCCY provider.

Last year, our training department delivered 40 days of training on-site to RCCY providers (no wonder I feel like I’m always packing my bags!); we hosted a summit meeting in Anchorage where everyone got together and learned from each other; and we secured federal funding from the Georgetown National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health to deliver Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy certification training to over 30 mental health clinicians in Alaska, including several RCCY providers.

Jeff from YAS in Sitka, and Megan from the RDT at Family Centered Services of Alaska in Fairbanks, participate in a learning activity at a training grant meeting in Anchorage.

This year, at AK Child & Family, we are celebrating our Quasquicentennial anniversary. Yes, we have been around a while and I am proud to be a part of this agency that is committed to continuously improving the quality of human service delivery to children & families across the State. Furthermore, I am proud and privileged to be part of the RCCY training grant that, true to AK Child & Family’s mission and values, works towards meeting the treatment needs of Alaskan children, beyond those entrusted to our direct care.