There doesn’t seem like there is much more to say other than, Congratulations! Congratulations to the Governor signing the Jeff D agreement, the members of the Jeff D lawsuit mediation group, and all the Idaho families that will benefit as a result over the next several years. Essentially 35 years in the making, the mediation group worked long and many hours over the past 15 months to create a resolution that the Governor could sign, and they did. Although full benefit of the system transition won’t be totally felt for several years, it still promises much needed dynamic improvement of the children’s behavioral health system.
And even more Congratulations to the Department for initiating a Parent Training and Certification program. The program may be started as soon as this summer, and will facilitate employment of trained, certified parents by system providers. The key idea behind the program is “lived experience” of parent partners which is recognized as a valuable asset when assisting families. Details of the program will be released eventually and interested parents will have the opportunity to receive training, certification and potentially a position with a provider. Optum Idaho is a partner in the program and parent positions being available within its provider system is envisioned.
While I am at it, I’ll congratulate Cindy and Mike in the IFFCMH office for their intensive and impressive work making it possible to launch the new Emergency Respite Care (ECR) project. ECR is a collaborative effort with the Commission on Aging and the Idaho Caregivers Alliance to provide respite care funding to 24/7 caregivers when they are faced with an emergency situation. The project application form, guidelines, other resources and evaluations can be accessed on our webpage www.idahofederation.
ECR is now available and intended for caregivers who have exhausted all other funding sources. The congratulations is well deserved, and now onto the concerted effort necessary to get the Jeff D agreement, Parent Training/Certification program and ECR project working for the benefit of Idaho families. The challenge is ahead.
As much as I am excited by the prospects for the future CMH system supported by the Jeff D mediation, I can’t help but wonder about the time gap between the settlement and having operating services in place. For many families in crisis now, or anticipating their next crisis at any moment, help is needed now. Many of these families believe that there is little or no help available for them, and although Jeff D implementation sounds good, some services designed specifically to help them are needed now.
IFFCMH supports the potential creation of a bridge or transitional program designed to help families as the Jeff D directives are being achieved. The idea of “no families left behind” is semi-acceptable based on the notion of “the greater good,” but I believe the greater good is served by providing help to families now and incorporating them into the new CMH system as it is developed. I am certain that this population of families is not being overlooked by the mediation group and will receive appropriate consideration and help as Jeff D planning and implementation gets underway.