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New Charlotte office opening offers practice in persistence

February 22, 2010

When Youth Villages opens a new office, it involves learning new government policies, procedures and processes. In addition, local and state government offices also learn how Youth Villages works. Shortly after a new Youth Villages office opened in Charlotte, N.C., key players in youth services for the Mecklenburg County area got to see how far Youth Villages goes to help children.

In many ways, this Multisystemic Therapy referral was just like many others.

Charlotte Family Counselor Tomesia Courtney saw this child as a perfect match for MST, but there were problems.

Tomesia Courtney

The young girl and her family didn’t have active Medicaid – but that was just the beginning.

Courtney scheduled an assessment with the family to get a better understanding of the family situation in order to determine the most appropriate service. When the assessment was complete and Courtney could cite evidence that this child and family were ideal candidates for MST, she also arranged a diagnostic assessment for the child as her previous assessment had lapsed.

For the next few months this child wasn’t a client, but she still had an advocate.

Youth Villages Charlotte office

Pictured from the Youth Villages Charlotte office, left to right, are Amrah Regazzi, clinical supervisor; Bethany Gremel, regional manager; and Lauren Walter, clinical supervisor.

Courtney’s daily efforts set the stage to save one child and get her the help she needed.

“Tomesia had to be persistent; she had to constantly check up on things,” Sarah O’Reilly, Youth Villages placement specialist, said. “In addition to her regular work, this other case needed constant attention.”

This attention included weekly contacts with the girl, her family and social services. It involved consistent updating and resubmitting of treatment plans to officials and state and county representatives.

There never was a guarantee the girl would be approved for MST, but Courtney kept all the paperwork and everyone on the family’s team updated so that — if the funding was approved — she would be ready to submit the girl’s information for MST.

This was done in a new office with new key players who had not generally worked with Youth Villages before.

“Tomesia proactively reached out to officials in an effort to push through this girl’s application,” O’Reilly said. “I think we sent the message out to the community that Youth Villages does whatever it takes.”

More than 12 weeks after it began, Medicaid activated. Because all the paperwork was completed and ready for review, the girl and her family were quickly able to begin receiving MST with Youth Villages.

“Without everyone on our team doing their part, this family wouldn’t have received the help they needed,” O’Reilly said. “We expect this of all our employees when it comes to helping kids and their families.”

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