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Crawford County Human Services seeks approval for new at-risk youth program

Submitted Wed, 07/24/2013 - 8:42am by Andy Alm

MEADVILLE – Crawford County’s Human Services department is seeking Commissioner approval for a federally funded program to support high risk youth.

Crawford and Venango Counties are partnering in the effort, as both were named among 15 Pennsylvania counties eligible for the 200-thousand dollar System of Care grant. 

The grant would establish what’s being called a “high fidelity wraparound team,” which would consist of a supervisor, two facilitators, two-part-time family partners, and two part-time youth partners with the goal of improving family involvement in human services related interventions.

“The big change is that the emphasis is on family and youth as trusted and valued partners, which is different than just having them sit at a table and give an opinion.  The family and youth are expected to be in equal number as the system people, to be participating in decisions as opposed to just giving opinions,” says Joe Barnhart, program specialist with Crawford County Human Services. 

Barnhart says the new program has been proven in other counties to keep families together by keeping high-risk youth out of placement. 

The 200-thousand dollar grant will dry up after the first two years, but Barnhart says the potential savings to the county by keeping youth out of placement should help justify the cost of keeping the system in place in the years to come.

County Commissioners are expected to vote on the changes at their next regular meeting.