The Interagency Behavioral Support Committee of Butler, Mercer, and Lawrence counties have been meeting for over two years. It is a subcommittee of the Midwestern Local Interagency Coordinating Council (LICC).
The State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC) is a Governor appointed council that advises and assists the Departments of Health, Education, and Human Services to ensure that a comprehensive delivery system of integrated Early Intervention programs and services is available in Pennsylvania to all eligible infants, toddlers, and young children and their families.
The purpose of the local committee is to represent Early Intervention, local childcare, and behavioral health to support the needs (social and emotional) of children birth to age five in the area.
Michele Mapes, Early Intervention Program Manager at Center for Community Resources (CCR) represents CCR and co-coordinates the group. “The purpose of the group is to serve families the best we can,” Mapes said. “We have worked really hard to maintain our common mission and get things done.”
“We came up with a mission statement, and spent a lot of time making sure we were on the same page. Every meeting has a really specific purpose and goal; a very succinct agenda and minutes,” Mapes added.
Each member remains fully committed to the reason why they were founded. “The participation commitment is never of question,” said Mapes. “The people involved are committed to be there; we are all here for the same reason.”
One of their greatest achievements has been a comprehensive understanding of the different programs. “We’ve spent a lot of time getting to know what each program does, and we have already started to cross-train,” Mapes said. “This has helped us do our jobs better. We are able to have an open conversation about things; things that don’t go well, and why that is. I can then take what I’ve learned to my direct staff, and they can better support the families they serve.”
Their success was recently recognized by the Pennsylvania SICC, and were asked to present about their committee at the December 7, 2017 meeting.
Mapes co-presented with Melissa Hollen from Mercer County Early Intervention, and Amy Villegas Account Executive from Value Behavioral Health/Beacon Health Options.
Mapes decided to join the subcommittee because she saw an immediate need. “I thought I could help. I had a lot of experience in Early Intervention and infant mental health,” said Mapes. “The Intermediate Unit 4 sent out an invitation and I joined. When they were looking for some co-facilitators, I volunteered. I was excited to have all stakeholders working together.”
The committee hopes to encourage other people to start doing the same thing in their region.