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Baker Victory opens new 'groundbreaking' intensive residential program

Fri, Aug 31st 2018 11:00 am

Baker Victory opens new 'groundbreaking' intensive residential program

Baker Victory Services has introduced the state’s first intensive treatment program for children with disabilities and mental health issues.

The residential treatment program was developed over three years in collaboration with various state agencies — Office of Mental Health, Education Department, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities — as well as the Erie County Medical Center.

“To me, this is a transformational program for not only Baker Victory, but for the state,” said Terese Scofidio, CEO at Baker Victory. “We serve kids in all those different programs, all those different state silos, but this is the first cross-systems approach.”

The program was developed to serve children who are dual diagnosed with behavioral and medical challenges that encompass autism or intellectual disabilities, as well as a mental health diagnosis. Scofidio says she’s worked with these types of kids for over 20 years, and watched them get shipped out of state because there are no programs in New York.

“They often get placed out of state, costing millions, and then they come back and there really isn’t any further services for them,” she said. “So for years, all the agencies have been saying ‘how do we serve these kids?’”

Children accepted into the program will live in the residential treatment facility at Baker Victory’s Martin Road campus in Lackawanna for four to six months, where they’ll receive one-on-one therapy services. Though some children will go on to live in group homes, many will be reunited with their families after treatment, so parents will be able to stay at the Moore for Kids Family House on campus and work with staffers to learn how best to work with their kids when they come home.

The first two individuals will begin the program this week, with another 10 to come over the next six weeks. Many of the youth supported in the program have previously presented mental, emotional and socially inappropriate behaviors. They’ll be housed in a modern facility opened last year on the campus, with treatment focused on positive behavioral changes.

“These are very difficult kids, with very high needs,” she said.

Locally, the agency will work with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, ECMC and the hospital’s Access to Psychiatry through Intermediate Care program to limit hospital admissions due to immediate crisis episodes, however some adolescents may be admitted to a hospital inpatient unit then transitioned to Baker Victory. Dr. Michael Cummings, medical director of the APIC program at ECMC, called it a “groundbreaking” program.

“The intensive treatment program at BVS is the first step in the development of a true continuum of care for this vulnerable population,” he said.

For Baker Victory, the program will provide about $4.5 million in new revenue, helping to fill in for other residential treatment programs that have scaled back as more children receive care at home with wrap-around services, or in outpatient settings.

With an overall budget of $54 million and more than 900 employees, Baker Victory is among the region’s largest nonprofit social service agencies, providing health, education and mental health programs as well as foster care. The largest program is its education division, which serves more than 300 students with and without disabilities, plus another 100 in day care. It also serves children in the county’s youth detention center.

 

This article appeared in Buffalo Business First, August 29, 2018, by reporter Tracey Drury