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For struggling families with limited transportation options, it can be a challenge to get to VIP for weekly appointments. For other children, the addition of visiting VIP's Community Mental Health Center can be too strenuous and disruptive in their fragile lives.
To try and ease this burden and expand our impact on the community, staff at VIP’s Community Mental Health Center have worked out an agreement with the Department of Mental Health and the Los Angeles Unified School District to begin offering mental health services at area schools. Instead of children trying to come into VIP after school, our therapists are traveling out to school sites and spending a portion of their day on campus seeing clients.
Services include individual, group, and family treatment as well as collateral service contacts with parents, caretakers, and other involved service providers, as necessary.
These services focus on the collaborative delivery of assessment and ongoing direct treatment services for students for whom appropriate consents have been obtained. Such services are provided to students who have been screened and formally admitted for treatment.
Services are offered at a growing list of campuses in the neighborhoods around VIP, and the demand for services on the current campuses continues to rise. Children meet with their therapists once a week, just as if they were coming to VIP. But instead of having to travel here after school, they can just walk down the hall. Children are referred for services by school staff, and each week the children’s appointment time changes so they don’t miss the same class every time.
By going out to the schools, therapists can better assess just how well a child is doing in their real world environment and see if they are actually making progress. In addition to dealing with their trauma, children are also showing improved attendance and better grades. Having that extra set of eyes and ears on a child makes them a little more cautious and helps them make better decisions.
Children who receive services at their school site are still eligible to participate in VIP's other services and programs including case management services, educational enrichment programs, and special events.
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