Multidisciplinary Team Services
Manatee Youth at Risk (YAR):
The Multidisciplinary Team concept was a core aspect of the original Child Advocacy Center (CAC) model developed by Bud Cramer during the early 1980’s with the goal of improving efficiency among those investigating and responding to child sexual abuse. With a committed group of community volunteers, Mr. Cramer refined and implemented the first Child Advocacy Center in Huntsville, AL in 1985.
This model recognized that, in order for the U.S. to effectively respond to child abuse, a unique public-private partnership was essential and various agencies and departments responsible for the protection of children must be united, with the recognition that no one agency by itself could ensure the protection of children. Only by working as a multidisciplinary team could these agencies effectively respond to child abuse.
Throughout the years, more CAC’s started their own multidisciplinary teams. As Manatee County’s only CAC, our team at MCS felt compelled to follow this model and launch Manatee Youth at Risk to alleviate stress for the children and families we serve.
YAR provides intervention for youth ages 10 to 17 who are at risk of first-time or repeated criminal charges, residential facility placement, mental health crises, and/or removal from the home due to behavioral issues.
Manatee YAR team members include 52 professionals from various Manatee County organizations such as The Safe Children Coalition, Centerstone Behavioral Health, Florida Department of Health, Manatee Department of Juvenile Justice, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Parenting Matters, Central Florida Behavioral Health Network, Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities (SEDNET) of Manatee County School District, More Too Life, and Family Resources.
YAR program success is achieved when at least 80% of youth and families served have engaged with referrals and recommendations given by the team. Long-term program success is achieved when 80% of youth who have completed the staffing program and previously met the goal continue to demonstrate success and stability by avoiding first-time or repeated criminal charges, residential facility placement, mental health crises, and/or removal from the home due to behavioral issues over a minimum of six months.
“One of our clients was a grandparent who stated she was no longer able to keep her granddaughter in the home due to aggressive behaviors and threats. This was a choice she did not want to make, but through the YAR staffings and subsequent Centerstone CAT Team, she now states her granddaughter is doing ‘wonderfully.’ Thank you, YAR team!” – SCC Case Manager
A 10-year-old male was referred to YAR due to aggressive behavior, difficulty in school, and a recent Baker Act examination. He was removed from the home and placed into his grandmother’s care. The YAR team recommended SABLE (School of Academic and Behavioral Learning Excellence) to give more specialized care with his behavioral and learning disabilities. Through the collaboration between Centerstone and YAR, the child was able to obtain the appropriate school referrals and get into SABLE. Within three months, the child was showing improvement in school and reported that he felt supported by Centerstone.
A 14-year-old female was referred through Manatee Children’s Services’ TRUTH program due to continued Baker Act examinations, substance abuse, arrests, and emotional difficulties in dealing with her mother’s death. Through collaboration between YAR and the Department of Juvenile Justice, the team recommended she switch to a different school, receive CSA (Children’s Substance Abuse) counseling, and continue meeting her DJJ requirements. The youth successfully completed her program, demonstrated three consecutive months of negative drug testing, and established a more positive relationship at home as reported by her father.
For more information on the Manatee YAR program, contact Vanessa Santos, Manatee Youth at Risk Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MCS provides a full spectrum of programs serving over 16,000 children and families annually. Since its inception in 1977 as the Manatee County’s first and only emergency shelter for abused children in foster care, MCS has grown to offer programs in treatment, prevention, intervention, and residential services.