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Shelby and Wilder Celebrate After COA — A Significant Milestone for Wilder

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Congratulations to the staff in Shelby and at Wilder Youth Development Center for an excellent COA visit on Thursday. I had the pleasure of attending the exit conferences for both and couldn’t be more proud. The COA reviewers were very impressed by Shelby and Wilder YDC’s hospitality and welcoming environment, and they spoke very positively about the work going on in both places.

During the exit conference for the Shelby Region, the reviewers were very complimentary of foster care case records, referring to them “immaculate.” They received a great deal of positive feedback from outside partners and stakeholders, and they were further impressed with the region’s efforts to conduct diligent searches for relative places and to place siblings together.

The reviewers spoke very positively regarding training and supervision, CPS client engagement, and the timeliness of safety assessments. They were also extremely impressed with the region’s work in making sure children received health screenings in 72 hours. Other areas of positive feedback were the consistency of HR files, a “phenomenal” evaluation process, caseworker visitation in Juvenile Justice, and the observed “great” communication between regional staff and Wilder YDC staff.

After visiting with reviewers in the Shelby Region, we travelled to Wilder Youth Development Center. This exit conference was particularly exciting as Wilder is the first state hardware secured facility in the nation to undergo the COA accreditation process.

The reviewers took note of the entire staff’s effort to buy in to the mission at Wilder. The CSO’s, they said, “are part of the treatment plan and not just security.” It was evident to COA the students also have bought into the process of treatment and programming at Wilder. The reviewers stated staff feel safe at the facility, files are in good order, there is obvious emphasis on education for students, and the training for CSO’s is “phenomenal.” The COA reviewers observed “great leadership” and “dedicated and committed staff” during their visit to Wilder YDC.

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Great program! Great news! But we must respectfully point out that many of our Shelby staff have degrees in social work, according to our own Merlene Hyman:

159 BSW degrees

  20 MSW degrees

  12 MSW candidates(in school)

  72 other Master’s degrees

  25 other Master’s degree candidates 

A far way from just one, as noted in the article!

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The state lacks enough housing for all special-needs populations, including veterans, the disabled, the mentally ill and young adults aging out of foster care, said Michael H. Leach, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services director of independent living.

Agencies are trying to figure out how to build or otherwise get more housing.

This collaboration between Centerstone and the housing authority helps, said Leach.

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Resource Linkage Coordinators Meet in Nashville

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At DCS, our Resource Linkage staff work hard to get Tennessee families the help they need. Even with all of DCS’ own resources, it’s not a job that we can do ourselves. Resource Linkage Coordinators put case managers and the families we serve in touch with organizations and people who can help. Treatment programs. Parenting classes. Home fix-up services. Other state agencies. They know how to connect struggling families with the help they need to stay together and to stay healthy.

I was pleased to join our Resource Linkage staff to hear their ideas about how they can help more families more efficiently.

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Hotline staff (Heather Ray, Jeff Weidenbenner, and Amy Taylor) had the pleasure of attending the Quality Assurance & Training Connection  Conference that was held September 24-26  at the Omni Hotel in downtown Nashville. 
This conference is geared towards Quality Assurance and Training within a call center.  There were over 150 participants from different call centers across the United States in attendance.  
In between workshops, conference participants were able to complete a service project. The project  benefited children in DCS custody.  Together the participants completed 54 blankets to give to our children, which  were donated to the Sevier County DCS office.

Hotline staff (Heather Ray, Jeff Weidenbenner, and Amy Taylor) had the pleasure of attending the Quality Assurance & Training Connection  Conference that was held September 24-26  at the Omni Hotel in downtown Nashville.

This conference is geared towards Quality Assurance and Training within a call center.  There were over 150 participants from different call centers across the United States in attendance. 

In between workshops, conference participants were able to complete a service project. The project  benefited children in DCS custody.  Together the participants completed 54 blankets to give to our children, which  were donated to the Sevier County DCS office.

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Save the date for the Families of Adoption Walk Nov. 1 at Centennial Park in Nashville.
You can register here and use that link to help spread the word.

Save the date for the Families of Adoption Walk Nov. 1 at Centennial Park in Nashville.

You can register here and use that link to help spread the word.

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The Teen Outreach Program is part of the Oasis Center’s core programming, and we’re always happy to see it working so well across the state.
 Here’s a recent article from The Crossville Chronicle that our friends at Oasis just shared with us.
And you can learn more about how effective TOP is here.

The Teen Outreach Program is part of the Oasis Center’s core programming, and we’re always happy to see it working so well across the state.

Here’s a recent article from The Crossville Chronicle that our friends at Oasis just shared with us.

And you can learn more about how effective TOP is here.

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PACT 2 Under Way

Earlier this month, DCS began initiating a second round of PACT, our concentrated effort to get kids home sooner.

We solicited input from our private providers about the evaluation process and discussed what worked well in PACT 1. We hope to improve in the areas in which barriers remain.

We have successfully reduced the number of children in custody through our joint effort. During this second segment of PACT, we hope to get another 500 children and youth into permanency.

Thanks everyone for your continued focus on getting kids back on track.

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The State of Tennessee Code of Conduct is updated. Your local HR will contact you to set up a time to sign the new document. To read the new Code of Conduct, please click here.