OUR COMMUNITY OUR FUTURE
Our Community Our Future (OCOF) was started in the fall of 2015 when Klaras Center for Families, Heart of Texas Region MHMR, helped to organize a committee of community stakeholders to look at the needs of children and adolescents in our community. Our initial goal was to identify gaps in services and pool resources between various community partners to meet these needs.
“Collaborating with and connecting families through a shared community vision to provide a culturally responsive continuum of care so children, youth and young adults are supported in becoming healthy and successful in the Heart of Texas region.” Our committee name and mission is “Our Community Our Future.”
A great deal of intentionality was put into this because we all want to promote a collective responsibility for the children, adolescents and youth of our community.
In an effort to meet some needs identified by the OCOF committee, we applied for grant funding. We were awarded the grant and received $3.4 Million for an initiative called “Closing the Gaps.” There are 3 main targets for the funding of this 4-year grant:
SCHOOL-BASED MENTAL HEALTH
A counselor and a case manager are placed on a school site to serve the most intensive children and adolescents with mental health needs. This allows children and adolescents to receive the care they need with minimal disruption to their school day, quick and easy access to a counselor or case manager during times of crisis, and allows for collaboration with school staff to best meet the student’s needs.
TRANSITION AGE YOUTH (TAY)
This program serves youth and young adults between the ages of 18-22. The program provides youth and young adults with mental health services and additional support for life skills, education, and employment.
CRISIS RESPITE FOR YOUTH
This is a service that is much needed in our community to address the need for youth who need a temporary place to stay as opposed to juvenile placement, CPS placement, or hospitalization. The OCOF committee believes that this would be able to serve the community on several levels: children in mental health crisis, homeless youth in crisis, victims of human trafficking, CPS youth in need of respite, and other similar situations.