In January 2012, the East region Cross Functional Team (consisting of DCS and provider staff, as well as community partners) was first introduced to the In Home Tennessee initiative by DCS Central Office staff, as well as staff from regions already implementing the initiative. In March 2012, East’s leadership began meetings with local judges and Community Advisory Boards (CABs) to explain the initiative and prepare for the assessment of the local child welfare services and practices. From April to June 2012, this assessment was completed in several, county-by-county community meetings to include representatives from private providers, DCS, faith-based organizations, families, court personnel, law enforcement, and other interested community groups.
The Regional Implementation Team has been meeting monthly and will begin meeting during the region’s Cross Functional Meetings with providers and community members. This will ensure the most effective use of the participants’ time as well as open membership to other providers already participating in the Cross Functional Meetings.
The following priorities were decided upon for the East region: outpatient substance abuse services, resource parent training, and enrichment and empowerment of the CABs. Additionally, Monroe & Campbell County identified transportation as their county-specific goals. Campbell County is in the process of recruiting local businesses and churches to partner for assistance in transporting families. Monroe County is partnering with churches to assist with transportation as well.
Anderson County chose to recruit/maintain Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) workers and resource homes for their county. This county, as well as Loudon County, is also working to strengthen their CABs by increasing membership and participation.
Alcohol & Drug (A&D) Services
East staff asked families, DCS employees, and providers to complete surveys regarding current and needed services in communities, as well as access to these services. Results were compiled and utilized to engage community partners in assisting families to provide safe, productive home environments. Data is being gathered and verified for a community resource guide for available A&D services.
East’s leadership is currently in the process of participating in “Coaching” training and has identified three DCS Team Leaders who will be the “Master Coaches” (main/skilled trainers) for the region.
The “Introduction to In Home Tennessee” training is also underway with all of the regional DCS staff in this area, with co-training between DCS staff and two private providers (Youth Villages and Ridgeview).
Since the service/practice assessment, the overall county participation in the Community Advisory Boards (CABs) has increased. Additionally, there has been an overall increase in networking and collaboration with parties who took part in the assessment process.
Union County - A service provider partnered with the courts to utilize their available space in order for the provider to offer parenting classes. The same provider offered to allow Union County residents to access their services in a neighboring county for outpatient substance abuse and mental health treatment. In addition, the provider informed workgroup members that their 18-bed residential alcohol and drug treatment program for parents is available in another county that Union County residents may access. The provider accepts TnCare and will also transport the parents to the facility.
Morgan County - Communication issues between DCS and a provider agency were effectively addressed through engagement and a plan was put in place to address the issues. Additionally, the CAB in this county has discovered there are several resources available for families that were not previously known.
Anderson County - The Clinton Baptist Association requested and received a presentation for pastors regarding Resource Parent Recruitment. A resource has also been identified in this county that will pay for housing for youth aged 18-21. Money made by working youth can be put into escrow to take with them when they move on to their own places.
Monroe County – Monroe County identified a visitation center that can be accessed for parent/child visitation.
Interested in becoming a part of the positive change currently underway in the East region? Contact the Regional Project Lead, Jessica Buckner at Jessica.Buckner@tn.gov.