After several years’ hiatus, Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky/CHNK Behavioral Health will again offer a Family Preservation Program (FPP) in Northern Kentucky. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) awarded the contract to CHNK in early October; CHNK will now work in partnership with the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) to identify and work with local families in crisis who need assistance with improving parenting and family functioning.
The short-term crisis interventions offered through the program are designed to reduce child abuse and neglect, keep children safe so they can remain in their homes, improve parenting capacity, and facilitate a safe and timely return home for children already in state custody and placed in out-of-home care.
CHNK has a long history of providing both residential treatment and community-based/outpatient services to children and families with DCBS involvement. The Northern Kentucky healthcare agency provided family preservation services previously from 1991 through 2010. CHNK also piloted an out-of-home care diversion project with the Commonwealth from 2005-2010, at which time the pilot expanded throughout Kentucky and became known as Intensive In-Home Services. That program continued until 2012 at CHNK.
The return of the Family Preservation Program at CHNK Behavioral Health represents the commitment of Kentucky’s Department for Community Based Services, led by Commissioner Eric T. Clark and Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Caywood, to transform child welfare throughout the state. The transformation plan will result in safely reducing the number of Kentucky youth entering foster care, improving the timeliness of appropriate permanent placements, and reducing the number of caseloads for state workers in the largest cabinet of state government.
Over the last few years, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has witnessed record numbers of youth in out-of-home care due to severe abuse and neglect. Many experts note the connection between the epidemic of addiction and the number of youth entering into foster care.
CHNK Chief Executive Officer Rick Wurth notes that his agency has invested heavily in building an array of evidence-based treatment services that align with the child welfare transformation plan being advocated by DCBS.
“CHNK is committed to making our region safe for all youth and families, including those who are most vulnerable and at-risk,” Wurth shares. “Outpatient services, such as the Family Preservation Program, play a key role in ensuring that vulnerable families receive early interventions to help address addiction issues, mental health needs, or whatever matters threatening the healthy functioning of the family.”
Since 2014, CHNK Behavioral Health has acquired several new state licenses to help build a broader array of services to address mental and behavioral healthcare needs, including addiction treatment.
The agency holds a Behavioral Health Services Organization license as well as an Alcohol and Other Drug Entity license; both empower the organization to serve a new and expanded clientele, especially in outpatient arenas.
While known historically only for its residential services for youth, CHNK now treats more clients and family members in outpatient services, in an effort to provide the right services at the right time and at the right place in order to reduce the number of youth needing higher acuity residential treatment.
Last fiscal year, CHNK Behavioral Health provided 8,921 nights of care to youth in its residential programs and 11,104 services in its outpatient programs; CHNK served 893 students in its therapeutic day school, operated in partnership with Covington Independent Public Schools.
In total, over 2,900 individuals were impacted by CHNK’s treatment services.
Recently, the agency was certified as a Sanctuary Model of Trauma-Informed Care facility, the only entity in the Commonwealth to have achieved certification. Additionally, CHNK has been named an Innovator Status leader by the national Human Rights Campaign for its culturally competent care of LGBTQ youth and families, a demographic disproportionately represented in foster care systems across the United States.