CHRIS Counseling Center services are rooted in trauma informed care. This care is directed by an understanding of neurological, biological, psychological and social effects of trauma. We assess consumers to learn if trauma occurred and whether it has a role in behavioral health needs. Some trauma includes: sexual, physical, emotional abuse, severe neglect, loss, witnessing violence, substance abuse, imprisoned family member, and abandonment. Understanding when trauma occurred helps us tailor our responses, treatment and services. Trauma-informed assessments and interventions always acknowledges, respects, and integrates cultural values, beliefs, and practices.
The CHRIS 180 Community Behavioral Specialist (CBS) will function in the school based counseling program which targets severely emotionally disturbed children and adolescents who are a possible risk of being taken out of the school or community. The main objective is to keep the children in the least restrictive environments, which is in the community.
The Community Behavioral Specialist (CBS) will assist to meet compliance with the requirements of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) Provider Manual for Out-patient CORE Child and Adolescent and Adult services. In addition, the Community Behavioral Specialist (CBS) will also work to reach contract/grant compliance for SAMSHA and NCTSN grant and partnership and APEX grant. Community Behavioral Specialist (CBS) will also work to reach contract/grant compliance for Keeping Families Together community programs including but not limited to DFCS Comprehensive Family and Children Assessments and Wrap Around, and Promoting Safe and Stable Families.
Community Behavioral Specialist (CBS) will provide additional behavioral support to the students receiving CHRIS 180 therapeutic services. The CBS will do skill building sessions with the student at school and they can also go to the home to work closely with the parent, if needed.
*Both the therapist and CSI will work closely with the teachers to provide education about the emotional needs of the students they are working with and also to offer strategies and intervention ideas. Both the therapist and CSI are encouraged to participate in SST/IEP meetings for the students they are providing services for, if they are available and notified of the date and time. Therapist and CSI will also work closely with the school to create trainings and school policies that are trauma informed (by doing this work, they are essentially working on Tier 1 by helping the school implement policies and practices that are universal and impact all students, not just the students receiving therapeutic services)
GENERAL SCHOOL BASED PROGRAM EXPECTATIONS
- The therapist and CSI must have confidential, private spaces to work with students, when needed (sessions cannot take place in public spaces due to confidentiality)
- When a therapist or CSI are in session with a student or family, they should not be interrupted unless it is a true emergency that requires their immediate attention
- The therapist/CSI cannot directly intervene with a student that is not on their caseload (receiving CHRIS 180 services). This means that if a student is in crisis (but not on the CHRIS 180 caseload) the therapist/CSI can verbally coach and support the school staff by offering suggestions and specific strategies but they cannot directly provide any intervention to the student. Please understand that this is not because they do not want to help – they do! It is because they do not work for the school and have no right to provide direct intervention to a student not receiving CHRIS 180 services. We do not want to create a situation that upsets a parent because they did not give permission for someone from an outside agency to work with their child. Additionally, part of the role of the therapist/CSI is to train and coach the school staff so that they can learn the skills needed to effectively manage crises and de-escalate students when needed
- CHRIS 180 therapeutic services are considered an intensive Tier 3 support. This means that for a behavioral issue (i.e., a student who does not follow directions, does not sit still, etc.) the school must first go through the Tiered system (1 and 2) to try lower level interventions first before referring to CHRIS 180. The exception to this is for severe emotional concerns. For instance, if a child is experiencing the impact of trauma, grief, depression, anxiety, etc. These can be automatic referrals to CHRIS 180, of course only after the parent signs the district consent form
- If the school point person is unsure if a student should be referred for services or not, please consult directly with the CHRIS staff to determine if services would be appropriate
CHRIS 180 therapist and CSI will typically be at the school Monday-Friday during school hours but due to the nature of the therapeutic work they are doing they do not have the same set hours every single day. This is because they are required to do everything they can to accommodate a family’s needs. What that means is that they need to be flexible and adjust their schedules accordingly in order to meet the needs of both students and parents. For instance, if a parent is working and unable to meet until hours after school ends, our therapist or CSI will adjust his/her schedule to meet with that family at the agreed upon time. That means that they will come in later on that day and work late or they will come in later the following morning (if they see a family late in the evening). Please understand that this flexibility is required so that the therapist and CSI can do what is needed to meet the needs of the families, which are complex and ever changing. In general, the therapist/CSI will be there during most of the school hours but again please be mindful that it will change from week to week, based on the scheduling needs of the parents. Additionally, the only other time the therapist/CSI will not be at school during school hours is if they are required to attend a CHRIS 180 staff meeting or training at the counseling center. If this occurs, they will notify their school team ahead of time to let everyone know they will not be in the building for that time period. Lastly, please be mindful that therapeutic services come with a great deal of paperwork. Thus, the therapists/CSI will sometimes be in their offices without students or parents, completing required documentation (i.e., submitting session notes to the insurance provider, updating treatment plans, getting insurance authorizations for students receiving services, etc.)
The school identifies one point person to send all referrals to CHRIS 180. As stated above, when the school has identified a student with a behavioral concern (i.e., defiance, trouble sitting still, disruptive, etc.) the school must first have implemented lower level interventions (Tier 1 and 2) before referring to CHRIS 180. If a teacher would like to refer someone to CHRIS 180 but lower level interventions have not yet been tried, the school point person should assist the teacher with following school protocol for behavioral concerns, rather than making an immediate referral to CHRIS 180. The exception to this would be a significant emotional concern, such as a student who is depressed, highly anxious, has experienced trauma, grief, etc. The school can immediately refer these students to CHRIS 180, if the parent is interested. Once the school has identified a student that is an appropriate referral for CHRIS 180 services and the parent has expressed interest, the parent needs to sign the district consent form. At that point, the school point person will complete the electronic referral form and send that, along with the signed consent, to the counseling center email address listed on the top of the referral form (while also CC’ing the assigned therapist).
Once the referral is received and processed, the CHRIS 180 therapist will reach out to the family to schedule the initial intake assessment. At the initial assessment, the therapist will gather information about the child’s history, current functioning and symptoms. They will also make a preliminary diagnosis. In order to receive therapeutic services, the student must meet criteria for a DSM 5 diagnosis. If an assessment is completed and the student does not meet criteria for any DSM diagnosis, the therapist will consult with the parent and the school team to identify appropriate alternatives. Students that have a primary diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder or Intellectual Disability are not eligible for CHRIS 180 services but can be referred out to appropriate providers and community supports.
After the assessment is complete and the student is determined eligible for therapeutic services the therapist and CSI will determine what is clinically appropriate for each student. Session frequency and duration will vary based on each child’s specific needs and the CHRIS 180 staff will ensure that the teacher and school personnel are aware of the service recommendations. Once services begin, the therapist and CSI will maintain regular communication with the parent and the teacher(s).
It is expected that the therapist/CSI will be able to meet regularly with the school teams they are working with. At a minimum, the expectation is to formally meet once per month to review the caseload and staff cases (which can be doing during CARE team meetings). But, the therapist/CSI will also communicate frequently with the teachers, social workers, counselors and administrators about the status of the students being served, treatment recommendations and successes and/or challenges. This can be done informally, as needed, or some teachers may even wish to schedule set times to meet with the CHRIS 180 staff to further discuss students receiving therapeutic services and determine strategies for how best to support them in the classroom.
The therapist/CSI will provide the school team (referral point person, administrators, counselor and social worker) with an updated referral spreadsheet and clinical summary at the end of each month. This will show the updates on every student that has been referred. In addition, if at any time throughout the month the school team has questions about the status of a referral or open case, the school personnel should consult directly with the CHRIS 180 staff.
The CHRIS 180 staff will ensure that a Release of Information is on file and up-to-date for all students receiving services. Throughout the school year, the school will provide data to CHRIS 180 for the students who are receiving therapeutic services (including attendance and disciplinary information). This data is required for grant reporting and it is all de-identified by CHRIS 180 before being analyzed and reported on. Additionally, to measure treatment outcomes, the CHRIS 180 staff must complete the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) for every student being served. This is a brief survey that the parent and the primary teacher both complete when a student starts therapeutic services. It captures the parent and teacher perception of the child’s behaviors. A follow up survey is completed by the parent and the primary teacher every three months after the initial assessment and survey are done in order to capture perception of student change and growth in the identified “problem” areas.
CBS may provide skill building services under direct clinical supervision to children, families or groups; provide one-to-one interaction with a designated child/adolescent and their family; act as liaisons and advocates for consumers with other agencies as needed; participate in the implementation of the IRRP with consumers; provide activity therapy to consumers; participate in providing services to the community; participate in ongoing training and staff development; complete required paperwork; and perform other related duties as required.
The CBS staff must be emotionally stable, able to handle high stress, relate well to wide variety of individuals, and be able to work as part of a team with other CHRIS Counseling Center staff and the school staff. The CBS staff provides support for the children and their families in various environments (i.e. home, school, community, etc.). CBS staff must have flexible schedules, respond to crisis situations and be able to meet regularly with CHRIS Counseling Center clinical staff and care givers. The position requires that the individual be available to work evenings and weekends as appropriate.
Bachelor’s degree in the behavioral health field or related field experience preferred. Ability and/or experience in working with severely emotionally disturbed children, adolescents and their families. Must be able to provide direct consumer contact services in community-based programs. The individual will qualify for a level 3 or higher within the BDHDD staff board designations. The individual must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age and be able to have a driver’s license in the State of Georgia.
Skills, Knowledge and Abilities
- Knowledge of the fundamental concepts of mental health issues that pertain to severely emotionally disturbed children and their families or the ability to learn this knowledge quickly
- Knowledge of general characteristics of normal human growth and development or the ability to learn this knowledge quickly
- Demonstrate a willingness and ability to learn clinical skills, or to improve existing skills
- Ability to perform as a team member in a group setting i.e. interagency staff meetings, treatment team meetings, family team meetings, etc.
- Ability to learn to support and interact with individuals and families in a community setting on a short term basis
- Ability to establish and maintain professional relationships with individuals in the community and professional agencies
- Ability to interact with various consumer populations
- Ability to express ideas effectively both verbally and in writing
- Promote self-esteem
- Provide a positive role model
- Teach socially acceptable behavior
- Teach good personal hygiene when instructed to do so in accordance with the IRRP; generally note the personal appearance of the child and address appropriately if necessary
- Provide services according to the DBHDD Provider Manual for Out-patient CORE Child and Adolescent, and/or various contract guidelines
- Be familiar with the current DBHDD Provider Manual services that will be performed for this position
- Monitor the child’s activities and support them in following through on their responsibilities and commitments
- Supervise the child when instructed to do so in accordance with the IRRP
- Assist child in getting to and from designated activities in accordance with the IRRP
- Assist child in developing critical thinking skills, positive interpersonal relationship-building skills, and positive conflict resolution skills within the family and community.
- Support IRRP relating to school activities for the child
- Follow each child’s comprehensive IRRP
- Complete treatment/progress notes of each service provided to the consumer (direct contact or collateral)
- Complete notes in B.I.R.P format, with identifying signature and credentials/title
- Complete notes within 48 hours days of service provision
- Maintain positive relationships with the child
- Ensure that at least one adult family member must be present when a behavior aide is working with a child in the family’s home.
- Model and teach appropriate intervention skills to family members
- Prove support and respond to family’s needs
- Communicate effectively the ongoing IRRP to the family and eventually help them to access and utilize skills for coping with a severely emotionally disturbed child while the child remains in the home
- Help resolve family/child conflicts in the home when instructed and in accordance with the IRRP
- Communicate clearly to the CHRIS 180 staff any issues or incidents with the child or family
- Transport children to appointments only when instructed to do so and in accordance with the IRRP and contract guidelines
- Demonstrate a willingness to learn and improve clinical skills
- Demonstrate a willingness to learn psychological/behavioral patterns and therapeutic techniques
- Maintain positive relationships and interact with social workers, case managers, court service workers, school personnel, counselors, police, coaches, tutors, parents, organizations, etc.
- Actively explore appropriate community resources to aide consumers and families, if requested to do so
- Attempt to intervene early enough to de-escalate situations to prevent physical altercations
- De-escalate child when necessary using the least restrictive measures possible (CPI) to prevent a child from harming himself/herself or others
- Notify the appropriate clinical staff or agency before, during or after crisis situation arises
- Provide emotional support and assist in helping child learn to handle everyday situations and emotions to help further reduce need for crisis intervention
- Teach tolerance and respect both for self and others
- Complete timesheet weekly and submit by 8:00 p.m. each Saturday
- Complete mileage reports bi-monthly and submit on Fridays prior to paydays.
- Ensure that mileage mirrors the documentation with the respect to appointment date and consumer
- Complete expense reports and submit in a timely manner
- Ensure that schedule in Carelogic mirrors the schedule in paylocity and show the exact number of hours worked
- Enter monthly schedule into Carelogic
- Maintains a productivity rate of at least a 22 hours per week billable standard
- Communicate with the CSI Supervisor, Clinical Director and Counseling Center Operations Manager if unable to meet productivity standard with a plan of how standard will be met for the following week
- Communicate with the CSI Supervisor, Clinical Director and Counseling Center Operations Manager if caseload does not provide ability to meet productivity standard
- Communicate fully with the designated CHRIS 180 clinical staff
- Communicate fully with the designated school staff
- Report significant incidents immediately
- Abide by the guidelines set forth and follow policies and procedures
- Attend all scheduled supervision times as requested
- Promote a positive image of the CHRIS 180 programs at all times
- Attend in-service training in an effort to meet COA, ORS and contractual mandates
- Attend various training programs as required to enhance clinical skills
- Attend ongoing First Aid, CPR, and CPI and First Aid training
- To perform other duties as assigned
- Have an annual physical and TB skin test as required.
- Have fingerprints in to the office prior to employment.
- Up to date and/or attend CPR and First Aid training
- Have current drivers in the State of Georgia with minimum liability insurance
Schedule may include weekdays and weekends. The hours will vary from week to week with a maximum of 40 hours a week at any given time, unless written permission is given otherwise.