Tracking-a-new-system-of-care-for-children-

Tracking a new system of care for children

by Naomi Englar
March 2013

One year after Louisiana changed the way it supports children with mental health issues, a statewide advocacy group is collecting information to monitor the system with the help of a Tulane public health graduate student.
Known as the Coordinated System of Care (CSOC), this new system provides team-based support and gives five specific services to families, such as parent training and support, crisis management and peer-to-peer mentoring, in an effort to avoid institutionalization of children.
Sally Drape, a second year graduate student at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, is helping monitor the new CSOC through an internship with the Advocacy Center. The Advocacy Center is a nonprofit that protects, empowers, and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities and seniors living in Louisiana. The center hired Drape for the internship through the Tulane PRC's practicum program, which matches graduate student interns and local host organizations for 300-hour practicum experiences.
"We’ve been very pleased with Sally’s work so far," said Stephanie Patrick, director of policy and planning at the center. "The Advocacy Center’s staff is very limited and we don’t have the resources to devote to such extensive analysis of this system."
For example, Drape has conducted extensive research on best practices in other states, Patrick said. She's gathering information from agencies involved in the CSOC transition to track how services are being provided. She's also meeting with families who are served by the CSOC to get their perspectives and determine if there are areas for improvement. In order to track the feedback, Drape created a survey tool to record information when she interviews families and has connected with several sets of parents. She hopes to interview more parents this spring, and has been attending public meetings related to youth and mental health in order to find those families.
"We're advocates for people and we need someone to go find these people and establish relationships," Drape said.
Drape said the internship has also been interesting because it's a nontraditional public health job.
"But it's very much public health. It's health systems. It's new ways to go about addressing needs," Drape said. "I just happen to be working with attorneys and social workers."

(Photo by Tulane PRC Staff: Sally Drape stands outside The Advocacy Center’s offices in New Orleans.)

Topics:   practicum , community health

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