Improved broadband sought

Franklin County Court House, 335 W. Main St. Blaine LaVoie/Malone Telegram

MALONE — Franklin County Community Services aims to expand and sustain its system of care over the next two years with a nearly $4 million budget.

Suzanne Lavigne, director of Franklin County Community Services/Mental Health Services, met with Franklin County’s board of legislators Thursday morning to present the departments’ anticipated plans.

These plans are now made possible by a federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Grant the department received recently. Partners of this expansion are the department of Social Services, Saranac Lake Central School District, Tupper Lake Central School District, Chateaugay Central School District, Community Connections, and Citizens Advocates.

The funds will draw down on an as-needed basis via Payment Management System from Health and Human Services/Program Support Center.

According to Lavigne, the goals of these plans are to increase evidence-based, trauma-informed school and community-based services to improve youth behavioral health services, reduce out-of-home care, and accelerate permanency.

Plans for community services include expansions toward comprehensive school-based services and supports, intensive in-home clinical services, crisis support, and training. In the central school districts for Chateaugay, Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake; a licensed clinician (Citizen Advocates), a family support advocate (Community Connections), and a health home care coordinator (Community Connections) will be present at the school districts.

“This will remove the need for children to travel to let’s say Plattsburgh to get the closest treatment.” said Lavigne. “This way, they can be closer to their family and friends within familiar surroundings.”

The Department of Social Services will establish two intensive in-home clinicians, or behavioral health specialists for 25 hours a week each. Community Connections will establish a one lead family coordinator and a one youth advocate. Citizens Advocates/Crisis and Recovery Center will take in three additional part-time crisis respite workers. Franklin County Community Services will take on a new project director, one technical assistance coordinator, and policy strategy consultants.

All grant activities are expected to be in place by the end of the year.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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