Hey Everyone! For those of you that are unfamiliar with Children’s Case Management Services, we are located on the lower level of 713 Union St. in Columbia County and at 371 Main St. in Greene County. We currently have 9 case managers (family support workers) assigned to various school districts and geographic areas in both counties. Children’s Case Management was the brain child of former Division Director Gaye Hoffman, who envisioned the role of family support workers in the community maintaining integral relationships with school personnel, helping identify and assess families that might need help and direction with coordinating services, advocating and keeping communication lines open between the school, the child and the family.
Currently, many of our case managers have been instrumental in implementing a more holistic based approach to working with children. Meditation, yoga and salt therapy are just a few methods that have been well received in working with families to help regulate and stay centered while experimenting with positive coping mechanisms that can improve a child’s experience in and out of the school environment. School, childhood and sometimes home life can be tremendous stressors on the children that we work with. By practicing yoga and meditation, participants are urged to slow down, focus on their breathing and body movements. Evidence suggests that by implementing stress management techniques such as yoga and meditation, children are less problematic in school and at home. Increasing attention and teaching the child to reconnect their body and mind have proven to reduce incidents of aggression and improve behavioral problems. Using evidence based methods and curriculum; the case managers have also been providing group work for school aged children using a “circle” format to help enhance socialization, increase positive peer interactions and meet the social emotional needs of the children that we serve. Thanks to Hudson Community Schools, many of our staff has been formerly trained in facilitating groups by The One Circle Foundation, which has led to an increase in groups that were conducted prior to the training. Staff has identified this difficult niche to fill and with every group they grow more competent as facilitators greatly increasing the power of this service.
The circle format is nothing new for children and families, the Summer Adventure Program (SAP), now in its 10th year has and continues to rely on the power of the circle to strengthen relationships and decrease barriers both literally and metaphorically. The adventure program is scheduled to host two week long summer sessions exposing children to the many natural environments that exist in our backyard while conducting groups and team building exercises to enhance self-esteem and pro social interactions while using the quiet hidden power of canoes, rivers, tides, ropes, climbing and rafts.
Thanks to the unwavering support and dynamic leadership of the Mental Health Association and our Division Director, Roxane Carpenter, Children’s Case Management has morphed into much more than just the generic term of “case manager”. Working off of the strengths of the family and listening to their needs we are able to provide them with a host of services that have been mostly unattainable to families on certain rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. Our “case managers” have truly identified themselves as continual life learners and are committed to providing a valuable and essential service to the families of our communities.
Submitted by, Ken Hollenbeck