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Application Now Available for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS)

FVN, News, Resources

The New York State Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) provider application for the Rest-of-State (ROS) behavioral health providers is now available. Providers should submit the application by August 10, 2015. An OMH User ID is required to access the application. The link to ‘How to Access the HCBS Online Application’ and to the actual HCBS application and guide as well as the HCBS provider manual is: 

OMH/OASAS/DOH anticipate the initial designation process for the rest of the state will be completed in October 2015. Rest-of-State providers that have already submitted an HCBS application do not need to resubmit their application. This application and subsequent designation does not guarantee a gain in business or mandate your agency to provide designated services. HCBS questions and comments can be submitted to

Rob Kent
General Counsel

The M@re Program

The M@Re program, which is an arts program facilitated by Young Audiences of WNY,   meets every Thursday at the Central Library from 4-8pm.  There is also a Taste of M@Re program that meets after North Buffalo YEL on Monday nights. This program comes highly recommended by the youth who have attended in the past. FVN teens in Care Coordination are eligible to be referred.

More Program


For questions, please contact: Aitina Fareed Cooke ( Young Audiences Western New York (Inside Buffalo Public Central Library in downtown Buffalo, 2nd Floor) 1 Lafayette Square Buffalo, NY 14203 716-881-0917

Fax: 716-408-3279 (send your completed referral to this number)

M@re Program Referral Form 

YA_WNY Consent Form

Library Application Form

Library Internet Access Form

You Can’t Rush New Hire Learning

Successful completion of the standard formal new hire training, that is common place for line or direct care staff in the professions of child welfare and children’s mental health, is only one component of a much broader set of mindful and sequential activities.

As the mantra has shifted to doing more with less (and much faster), we also see a shift and general de-valuing of the importance attached to initial and on-going staff development and training. Skipping steps in how new staff learn their trade has a greater negative cost impact for all parties as compared to any front end dollar reduction. Some of the more prominent negative costs include extremely high staff turnover, the impact of well intended yet poorly prepared staff on teams and most importantly the impact on families our that we in the field are privileged to serve. The negative impact is felt well beyond the new hire budget line.There are many models that explain levels of learning or how people learn. In the end, what we need to understand and account for is the same.

Learning Pyramid

This is a simple version of the levels or phases of learning.

  1.  1. Awareness: General awareness of the position duties and skill sets required to be effective with clients. This phase begins with the initial pre-hire communications and during the formal interview and hiring process.
    Red Flag: New hires arriving to their training without being able to name their position and-or give a general description of what duties they have been hired to perform.
  2.  2. Knowledge and Understanding: More specific information and education as to how the worker’s role and duties supports the empowerment of clients towards their goal achievement. The new hire must know why what they do is important for those served and how it complements the work of the team. This begins during the Awareness level and expands during the new hire initial training. This Knowledge and Understanding is further developed towards deeper levels of sophistication as they move forward in their career. This applies the initial and on -going position specific skill set acquisition also.
    Red Flag: New or more seasoned staff unable to explain, outside of generalized statements, how what they do impacts a client and-or their team’s work.
  3.  3. Knows how to: Specific skill sets are introduced and taught at the early phase of development- in a safe learning environment with qualified coaching, modelling, tutoring and strength based behavior specific feedback. This level of learning often is delivered initially through initial hire training modules that include lecture, demonstration and experiential learning via structured role plays and-or other guided small group activities. In best practice, the next phase of this includes modeling, in- person coaching and timely strength based feedback “in the field”. One example would be a structured, staff mentoring system.
    Red Flag: Inconsistent or non-existent system in place that provides new hire mentoring and coaching. When there is not a defined measurable standard of assessing when a new hire has demonstrated a new skill mastery to move to a standard supervision level.
  4.  4. Can or is able to: This is when staff has demonstrated consistent mastery, under varied conditions.

Recognizing Secondary Traumatic Stress in Oursleves

Culturally, in the human service field, there is a dynamic out there that secondary trauma is perceived as “weak”. As a result of this many people might be suffering from this residual experience but might either be denying it, or just plain unaware of it. So what is it really?  Freud explained it well,

“No one who, like me, conjures up the most evil of those half-tamed demons that inhabit the human beast, and seeks to wrestle with them, can expect to come through the struggle unscathed.”  

It is almost impossible to not be moved by one family’s story of insufferable struggles. How can you believe you would not be significantly changed by the stories of 10, 20, 100?

Some recognizable sign of secondary trauma are:

  • flashbacks (about our own issues/experiences)
  • triggers / buttons that a client may push (about which we are sensitive)
  • beliefs we have that are challenged by our clients
  • old wounds re-opened
  • nightmares (perhaps about something a client has shared or we have witnessed involving a client)
  • guilt, shame, rage
  • unsuccessful at separating professional work from personal life
  • becoming fearful of a client (personal safety)
  • daydreams / re-enactments about a client’s issues (or our own which have been stirred up by client)
  • adrenaline rushes
  • feeling unfulfilled by your work or feeling you are unsuccessful in helping clients
  • avoidance / denial / isolation (you may begin to blame the ‘victim’)
  • zoning out (particularly during client-contact time)
  • sleepy / trance-like behavior
  • personal depression
  • feeling estranged from others
  • overworking yourself
  • physical symptoms: sleeplessness, appetite decrease or increase, panic or anxiety attacks, hyper vigilance, hyper alert – easily startled

It’s not an overnight transformation, its damage that happens over time, similar to erosion.  There is no reason to deny that it exists. It’s simply part of the work. Remember to debrief with a supervisor about cases and experiences, even if you think you don’t need to. So take in inner inventory of your emotional and mental health. If you are experiencing some of the things mentioned above, reach out. You may find yourself feeling better, even if you weren’t aware you weren’t feeling so great.

WAY Program for Youth

The WAY (Work Appreciation for Youth) Program is available to assist the youth you are working with in reaching their vocational needs and goals, in either a group or individual setting.  If you are working with a youth who is ages 14-21, the WAY Program Vocational Specialists can assist in youth meeting their prevocational and community employment goals.

The WAY program provides the invaluable service of having someone to help with the following:

  • writing  your first resume
  • answering questions on an application
  • filling out an online application
  •  preparing for an interview
  • And MORE!

Please feel free to share these documents with the families you serve.  Please contact 828-7204 (Taryn Wilde) or 828-7038 (Sharon Cavanaugh) with any questions or if you would like information mailed directly to your office location.

More information about the Way Program 

Resources for Somali Immigrant and Refugee Families

ECHO, a group out of Minneapolis, MN committed to bridging the communication gap for Immigrants and Refugees, has put together some resources for helping families and behavioral health providers.   The video series can also be used as a staff development resource to help build knowledge and awareness of some of the cultural values & context that can assist with our ability to engage with the Somali Community as behavioral health service providers.

Egal Shidad: Stories of Somali Health uses candid conversation to create programming for television, radio and ELL classroom use about three important health issues.  More than 50 members of the Twin Cities’ Somali community were involved in this project. Below you will find links to the Mental Health Learning activities (in English) as well as a video presentation.

Egal Shidad: Stories of Somali Health Video [57min]

Egal Shidad: Mental Health- English Language Learning Activities [PDF]

Locally, CCNY is helping to facilitate a work-group made up of members from our immigrant-refugee community, ECDOMH system of care stakeholders and interested community members. The goal of this Family Voices Network work-group is increasing the accessibility and quality of culturally appropriate supports and services available to members of our community that originally hail from outside of The United States; often coming here as refugees.

This is a long term effort and we are very encouraged by the enthusiasm and commitment demonstrated by our core work group members. Stay tuned for more news about this work-group as we start to work towards providing tangible resources, trainings, and workshops that are sure to be unique!  If you’d like to find out more about our work group please contact Duncan Bethel.

Vendor Supervisor New MIS Training Registration

FVN, Training, Training Form Archive

Please complete the registration form below to attend one of the two Vendor Supervisor Trainings for the New MIS System. Please let us know if you need CCNY to supply you with a laptop for this training.

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