Your place for CONNECTing news and updates
February 2021
Health Equity
Celebrating Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, but also recognized in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

Joy Comes in the Morning” is a documentary produced by Rich Wright Productions for the Greater Bridgeport Area Prevention Program, Inc. (GBAPP). The documentary addresses trauma and health inequities in black and brown communities and is designed to be a conversation starter in our climate of racial injustice. It highlights the importance of culturally competent and culturally aware practitioners in every arena of health care. “By listening to the narrative or story of someone else who doesn’t share your story or experience will bridge our common goal and understanding of what humanity should look like.”
Did you know? CONNECTing to Care provides a blueprint for child-and-family serving organizations to implement racially just and culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS). The goals are to advance health equity, improve quality, and help eliminate disparities in access and outcomes in children's behavioral health.
CONNECTing to Care provides technical assistance in a variety of modalities to assist organizations comply with the federal Office of Minority Health’s CLAS Standards and develop their own Health Equity Plans. These Plans assist organizations in advancing the principles outlined above and align with the DCF’s statewide racial justice framework.
Technical assistance is meant to be tailored to organizational context, and participation among any of the following activities are at the discretion of the organization. A number of consultants provide technical assistance across the areas of initiation, implementation, evaluation, and sustainability. Technical Assistance is expected to be available from 2020-2024. For additional information contact Lisa Palazzo at lisa.palazzo@beaconhealthoptions.com
What is CONNECTing to Care? It’s a federally funded initiative focused on improving the state's behavioral health system for children. In order to best serve all children with behavioral health needs in our state, child and family services must be racially just, culturally responsive, and linguistically appropriate.
Youth/Family Spotlight

Family Engagement: CHDI Trauma Family Advisory Board
written by Patricia Gaylord and Lisa Girard, FAVOR, Inc., Family Systems Managers

During this season of Covid-19, children, youth and families are spending more time together at home. In the beginning, this was welcome for some, but almost 12 months later, this looks very different for others.
Experts recognize that the pandemic has added another layer of trauma for children, youth and families. The Child Health and Development Institute of CT (CHDI), The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) and FAVOR, Inc. are working to develop best practices for screening tools that will engage families and support professionals. This initiative is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
FAVOR has recruited and engaged parents across the state to participate in the Trauma Advisory Board. This Board is committed to providing invaluable insight into the development of best practices for child and youth serving professionals such as mental health providers and pediatricians, those working with justice involved youth, and schools to name a few. Recently, the group has reviewed and given feedback on submodule 1 which explores and supports the necessity for trauma screenings and the benefits of screening. The next endeavor is to develop a brochure to inform families of the importance of screening, which families can review prior, during or after the screening process.
FAVOR believes that youth and family engagement starts on day one. Allowing families to develop a space of mutual respect, trust, vulnerability, transparency and shared responsibility has supported the group's effort in forming relationships. The vulnerability and transparency shared surrounding their personal experiences with trauma has already begun to shape change within systems. Their voices are powerful and will continue to impact a new system where youth and family voices guide best practices and ensure that these experiences are valued by child serving professionals working with youth and families who have experienced trauma.

For more information, please contact Lisa Girard at lgirard@favor-ct.org

Data Stories
CONNECTing to Care Data Stories are short, easy-to-read reports that tell a story about information collected during the CONNECTing to Care initiative. They are designed to share data with interested community members, families, youth and professionals to help facilitate a collective understanding of aspects of the network of care. Data Stories are created by The Consultation Center at Yale, our evaluation team for the CONNECTing to Care grant. Information presented in them comes from a variety of sources, including community insights generated through FAVOR’s Community Conversations, information gathered as part of the CONNECTing to Care evaluation, as well as needs assessments and other evaluations of programs within the network of care. The CONNECTing to Care team believes that data should not just be held by the evaluators or program leadership, but rather something to which all interested stakeholders have access. The Data Stories represent an important part of our commitment to sharing data with ALL members of our community. Beginning next month, a Data Story will be distributed about every three weeks. We encourage you to look out for their release, read them, and of course offer feedback on their format or suggestions regarding data you would like to see featured in a future Story.
Data Series
This four-part CONNECTing to Care data series workshop, which took place during the month of February, provided families with the tools necessary to feel confident while reading and working with data. In this workshop the participants learned what data is and why it is important, how to read and understand data and how to collect it. The workshop explored the differences between quantitative and qualitative data and showed how they are involved in our everyday lives. The mean, median, mode and frequency were discussed and taught through examples. Participants were encouraged to take part in the planned activities throughout the four-part series that were developed to ensure understanding. Most importantly, this workshop provided the participants with methods to use data to make informed decisions in their everyday lives. We will share feedback from training participants and next steps in our May newsletter.
Partner Resources
Tow Youth Justice Institute
The Tow Youth Justice Institute (TYJI) at the University of New Haven was established in 2014 to lead the way for juvenile justice reform through the engagement of policy makers, practitioners, service providers, students, communities, youth and their families.
 
Their vision is for a state in which youth serving agencies are consistently using best practices to create positive opportunities so that our children, families and communities are safe, healthy and resourceful environments.
 
They do this through a variety of projects, programs and research that include:
  • staffing the State of Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee
  • training leaders through their Transforming Youth Justice Leadership Development Program
  • training educators and the community on Restorative Practices
  • engaging University students in youth justice work at the state level and in the community
  • conducting research that leads to an understanding of reform efforts

SAMHSA app 'My Mental Health Crisis Plan' This app provides an easy, step-by-step process for individuals to create and share a Psychiatric Advance Directive (PAD). A PAD is a legal document that includes a list of instructions and preferences that the individual wishes to be followed in case of a mental health crisis, should they not be able to make their own decisions.
Psychiatric Advance Directives can be created by individuals 18 years of age and older.

 
View videos on What is a PAD? and How to Use the App
Feelings stressed, anxious, alone?
Let's take care of ourselves and each other!
Upcoming Meeting Dates:
The Children's Behavioral Health Advisory Committee (CBHAC) meets on the first Friday of the month, from 10am-12pm. The next meeting is on March 5, 2020.
 
CBHAC's mission is to promote and enhance the provision of behavioral health services for all children in Connecticut. Appointed members and community guests attend monthly meetings to address these needs across the state. This committee must submit an annual report that provides recommendations concerning behavioral health service delivery.
 
CBHAC is open to the public. If you are interested in attending or receiving email communications from the CBHAC, please contact your regional Network of Care Manager or Family Systems Manager.
Your Ideas!

If you have an idea or suggestion for other topics to include in our Newsletters, don’t hesitate to contact Daniela Giordano at Daniela.giordano@beaconhealthoptions.com
Thank you!
If you are receiving this CONNECTing to Care Newsletter because you Joined Our Mission – thank you! If you are receiving this newsletter because you are a Children's Behavioral Health Advisory Committee (CBHAC) member and have not yet Joined Our Mission, please consider doing so now:
Watch the video to learn more about Connecting to Care.