A monthly newsletter from Integral Care.
A monthly newsletter from Integral Care.
A Message From Our CEO
Today is National Child Health Day. Good physical and mental health are the foundation every child needs to thrive. Fifty years ago, Integral Care was launched in one building and our early days included services for children through a partnership with Austin Child Guidance Center. Today, we provide services in more than 40 locations and partner with a wide variety of organizations to ensure that children receive the professional care they need. And as part of a broader community of organizations working to build healthy foundations for children, all of us strive to innovate and ensure that we are making available effective interventions that support well-being.
This month, I am reflecting on our history serving children as we say goodbye to our board chair, Dr. Matthew Snapp. Through his leadership with Integral Care and across his career, Dr. Snapp has played a significant role in advocating for and improving the mental health of children in our community.
A psychologist, Dr. Snapp came to Austin in 1970 and joined the staff of the Austin Independent School District (AISD) as the Director of Student Development. It was a very different and difficult time in our history. AISD was under a court order to desegregate. Desegregation was a traumatic experience for African-American children nationwide. They were taken away from teachers and communities they knew and dropped into schools where they were often mistreated by adults and children alike. Dr. Snapp worked to strengthen AISD’s approach to working with children – helping them implement approaches that strengthened communication and reduced confrontation. He oversaw the first Office of Student Affairs to ensure students had due process and improved the overall system of classroom management. He secured federal funding to provide training for teachers that made desegregation better for everyone involved. And Dr. Snapp implemented an alternative model to handling children with emotional disturbances, using psychological interventions and teacher training.
The astounding progress our community has made over the past 50 years is made possible by community leaders, like Dr. Snapp, who continually push for innovation. By working together, we are ensuring healthy living for everyone in Austin Travis County.
Fast forward almost 50 years, and Dr. Snapp has continued pushing our community to strengthen children’s mental health. During his most recent 9 year tenure on the Integral Care Board of Trustees, Dr. Snapp spearheaded a number of important initiatives. Dr. Snapp pushed Integral Care to do more in the area of children’s mental health, establishing and co-chairing the Children’s Mental Health Task Force and providing leadership which launched the Travis County Plan for Children’s Mental Health. This plan serves as a road map for our community to improve policy, strengthen systems and leverage funding for improved outcomes for children and families. Dr. Snapp also urged Integral Care to think long term about the strength of our organization by encouraging us to conduct succession planning and build leadership capacity. His legacy with Integral Care will endure as he leaves us stronger and better able to meet the needs of our growing and thriving community.
Chief Executive Officer
Austin Independent School District
Children and families are the foundation for a strong community. Schools and school districts play a significant role in the lives of children and families and have an opportunity to positively impact their lives, beyond education.
I n recent years, the Austin Independent School District (AISD) has significantly strengthened mental health supports in schools. Through the implementation of Social Emotional Learning district wide, students learn the tools they need to self-regulate and are better able to participate in school and make educational gains.
After a successful pilot program providing campus-based counseling services at Crocket High School demonstrated reduced absenteeism and improved performance, AISD expanded these services. One way this effort expanded is through Seton in Schools, an 1115 waiver project funded by AISD. Integral Care licensed therapists provide onsite mental health support to AISD middle and high school students experiencing mental health issues or struggling with substance use. Thanks to the school-based program, students and families can easily access counseling, case management and life skills training. Recognizing the benefit of these types of services, AISD has applied for a grant to expand campus-based counseling to elementary schools across the district.
To better serve all children, AISD is working to provide trauma informed care training to all AISD personnel. This forward thinking investment demonstrates their commitment to ensuring their staff have the skills they need to work effectively with all students and creating healthier school environments.
Thank you to AISD Board of Trustees, administrators and staff for these efforts and many others that support better mental health. You are helping children and families create stronger foundations that will help them achieve well-being and thrive.
Families With Voices
Families with Voices is a multi-agency collaboration that helps families in Manor overcome challenges, meet their everyday needs and improve their health and well-being. Integral Care combines its expertise in behavioral health and care coordination with partners including Goodwill and the Manor Independent School District to create a care team that can help families meet multiple needs. Families have access to counseling, help with housing, food, transportation and job training.
“Everything has become so much better. My kids are loving their new house. We have beds, we have furniture. Our communication is better. My life is coming together a little bit at a time. I honestly don’t know where we would be or what we would be doing if y’all didn’t come into our lives.”
– Families With Voices Client
Integral Care uses the family’s input to identify their vision and strengths to develop family goals and care plans. Families meet monthly with their care team to work toward their goals. The program aims to provide families with a strong foundation so they can maintain stability and build their health and well-being.