When Arlana, a social worker with the VNSNY Bronx Children’s Mobile Crisis Team (CMCT), received a referral for Daryl,* age 6, for aggressive behavior at school, it turned out his two older siblings were also struggling with mental health and behavioral health issues. In addition, their great-grandmother, Linda, who is their legal guardian, was overwhelmed caring for them. She struggled to get them adequate food, clean clothes, and a proper place to sleep. CMCT, which provides rapid intervention for children and families in crisis, quickly teamed up with VNSNY’s Home-Based Crisis Intervention (HBCI) program to get this struggling family what they needed.
As social worker Joheily, a HBCI Program supervisor, notes, “Collaboration is the most important part of our work.” Arlana’s and Joheily’s teams worked together to get the family beds and bedding, teach techniques to reduce nightly bed-wetting, and schedule visits and transportation to the pediatrician. In addition, VNSNY advocated for homemaker services to help Linda with laundry, cleaning and cooking, and Joheily worked with Linda to negotiate a deal with Con Edison so she can keep the lights on for her family. Contributions to the VNSNY Community Mental Health Services program support work like Joheily’s.
Arlana and Joheily also helped 8-year-old Aliyah replace broken eyeglasses to open up a new world for the little girl who loves to read. The change in the children’s lives is noticeable. “In school and in the community, there’s been an improvement,” says Joheily. “The kids are coming into school clean, with a better night’s sleep.”
Arlana notes that the 6-year-old is also able to control his emotions better, although at times he still struggles. “He’s hugging now,” says Arlana. “That’s a big step.”
* The clients’ names have been changed for privacy.
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