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Transitional Services for Older Adolescents: The Adolescent Skills Centers. Mental Health Association of New York City, Inc. Anthony Diaz, L.C.S.W., Director of Adolescent Services. Essential Elements of Original Program Model. Target Population:

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Transitional Services for Older Adolescents: The Adolescent Skills Centers

Mental Health Association of New York City, Inc.

  • Anthony Diaz, L.C.S.W., Director of Adolescent Services

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Essential Elements of Original Program Model

  • Target Population:

    • 16-21 year olds with documented mental health problems

  • Inclusive:

    • Program to serve both regular and special education adolescents

  • GED Preparation

  • Vocational Instruction

  • Computer Instruction

  • Case Management

  • Community-based Internships

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    Need for Vocational Services for Older Adolescents

    • Limited Resources in Local School System for Adolescents with Mental Illness

    • Lack of Vocational Components in Hospital and Community Based Mental Health Programs for Youth

    • Older Adolescents not Comfortable in Vocational Programs Designed for Adults

    • Poor School Outcomes for Youth with Mental Health Needs*

    • Dissatisfaction by Parents of Lack of Educational and/or Vocational Resources for their Children

      *Advocates for Children June 2006, September 2007.

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    Lessons Learned After 2nd Year of Operation

    • Addressing Lateness/Absenteeism

      • Call to home when students are absent or late

      • Stress the importance of punctuality and consistent attendance individually, in groups, and in classroom

      • Lower staff-to-student ratios helps to reduce students falling between the cracks and helps to increase student accountability

  • Managing Behavioral Issues

    • Importance of early intervention to immediately address any behavioral issues

    • Sensitivity to students’ mental health and family issues and their effect on behavior and on students’ ability to participate in program

    • Significance of parental involvement

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    Lessons Learned After 2nd year of Operation (cont’d.)

    • Linking Students to Mental Health Services and Other Support Systems

      • Psychotherapy, psychological assessment, intensive case management

      • Working collaboratively with mental health providers

      • Lack of proper mental health assessment and diagnosis of many students

      • Need to establish clinical position

  • Addressing Students’ Academic Challenges

    • Adding more trained teachers to staff

    • Providing individual and group tutoring

    • Recognizing previously undiagnosed learning disabilities

    • Strengthening relationship with Department of Education

    • Developing a comprehensive program model

    • Instituting regular academic testing (T.A.B.E.)

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    Importance of educational-related services

    • Teachers, books, and paraprofessionals

    • Free breakfast, lunch & carfare

    • Vision and hearing testing

    • Recreation

    • Guidance counseling

    • Placement in Summer Youth Employment Program

    • College placement assistance including financial aid

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    How to Successfully Partner With Educational System

    • Speaking their language

    • Understanding their rules and regulations

    • Stressing educational outcomes

    • Underscoring the impact of MH issues on educational performance and vice versa

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    Program Activities

    • South Bronx Site

      • Intensive literacy services for students with low reading & math scores; two classes – one a foundation class for those whose math and reading levels are below 3.4 and the other an advanced literacy class for those whose reading and math levels are between 3.5 and 6.0

      • Computer instructional classes

      • Vocational instruction/WAVE

      • Case management

      • Internship placement

      • Clinical assessment to re-link and/or link program participants to mental health services

      • “Psycho-Drama” Group

      • Book Club

      • Men’s and Women’s Discussion Group

      • Audio Visual Training Center

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    Program Activities (cont’d.)

    • Uptown Bronx Site

      • Promote students with improved reading & math scores at 6th grade level or above

      • Pre-GED instruction and Fast Track GED instruction

      • Math tutoring to prepare students for GED test

      • Vocational (WAVE) and computer instruction

      • Case management

      • Assisting GED grads with college applications

      • Placement of students into self–determined internships and/or competitive employment

      • For students who need additional vocational services, transition them into agency adult rehabilitation programs

      • Clinical assessment to re-link and/or link program participants to mental health services

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    Program Outcomes (Academic)

    • Reading Scores

      • Measurable improvement in reading scores (1 year or more) : 95%

      • Reading scores increased 2-4 years or more: 65%

  • Math Scores

    • Measurable improvement in math scores (1 year or more) : 70%

  • Attendance Improvement

    • Dept. of Education: 75%

    • Adolescent Skills Centers:80-85%

  • GED Obtained

    • Students who passed the GED: 60%

  • Partial Pass

    • Students who passed some subjects on GED: 85%

  • College

    • Students attending college: 20%

  • Competitively Employed

    • Students employed for three monthsor more: 35%

    • Other vocational training: 10%

  • Note: Statistics based on clients served for 3 months or more – 852 clients served

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    Program Outcomes-Vocational/Employment

    • Increasing Computer Literacy:

      • Proficiency in basic MS Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) and Windows XP:75%

  • Soft Skills Acquisition:

    • Job search skills—90%

    • Job maintenance (can successfully keep job through appropriate on-the-job behaviors including following directions, etc.)—75%

    • Life skills (effectively apply skills such as budgeting, banking, reading rental contracts, etc.)—70%

  • Number of Students Placed in Internships/SYEP--95%

  • Number of Students Competitively Employed

    (employed for 3 months or more) —30%

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    Proposed Initiatives

    • Continue to Expand Relationship with Department of Education to Increase Program Capacity.

      • Explore the possibility of working with students who are in middle school as well as the possibility of working with the 21-25 year old population.

    • Strengthen Supports Provided to Parents of Students.

      • Psycho-educational classes in both Spanish and English.

    • Establish a Formal Supported Education Program with Local Universities to Provide Ongoing Supports for Students who Graduate and Move on to College/Vocational-related Programs (BronxNet).