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Bring the Kids Home

Bring the Kids Home began in 2004 in an effort to bring home Alaska youth who were being treated in out-of-state residential psychiatric treatment centers, where they were separated from their families, cultures and communities. From FY04 to FY11, the number of youth admitted to RPTC decreased from 749 to 96 adolescents. The decrease in children going Outside for more costly residential treatment was possible because the Trust helped fund the buildup of home and communitybased services throughout Alaska. Home- and community-based grants served 1,463 youths in FY11. The recidivism rate within a year of leaving a residential psychiatric treatment center dropped from 20 percent in FY04 to 7 percent for FY11.

Affordable Appropriate Housing

Affordable Appropriate Housing grows housing options for Trust beneficiaries. Approximately 6,460 Alaska residents reported being homeless in the Alaska Housing Finance Corp.’s January 2011 Alaska Total Homeless Count. The number of homeless families with children rose from 822 households in 2010 to 1,223 households in 2011. The program aims to put funding into the AHFC’s homeless assistance program, as well as the special-needs housing program, Department of Corrections discharge incentive grants, Bridge Home project expansion, assisted living home staff training and long-term care strategic planning. “Our poster child project is the Bridge Home project,” Jessee says. “It takes people who are coming out of

Corrections or (Alaska Psychiatric Institute) and works with them to get them supported housing.” Thanks to supported housing, Jessee says, the number of “admits” from DOC fell from about 20 a year to about 13. API admits fell from 27 to 16. “These are folks who tend to cycle through the system on a regular basis, “Jessee says. “They tend to get caught up regularly in low-level misdemeanor offenses, get let out and cycle right back through. This is to stop that cycle, get them into a more stable environment.” Karluk Manor is a housing endeavor aimed at helping chronic inebriates and reducing the cost of their care. “They get their health care at the ER, which is our most expensive type of service,” Jessee says. “They have compromised health, so they use the ER a lot. Every time 911 is called for a person down, the police and fire department respond, all of these costs add up. It’s obviously not a good quality of life for these folks. It makes way more sense to house them than keep chasing them around.”

Disability Justice

Disability Justice aims to keep Trust beneficiaries out of the criminal-justice system or keep them from re-offending. Incarcerated beneficiaries usually are mentally ill, developmentally disabled or suffering from alcoholism or other substance-abuse problems. They spend a disproportionate amount of time in custody. Hundreds are incarcerated

each year because detoxification services are not available, and beneficiaries can be vulnerable prey for people who want to victimize them financially or physically. The program hopes to grow its capacity for offender-reentry programs, expand therapeutic courts to targeted communities, increase Corrections’ mental health clinical capacity, and increase community treatment options statewide for therapeutic court participants.

Beneficiary Projects Initiative

Beneficiary Projects Initiative supports grassroots, peer-to-peer programs for beneficiaries. “Peer-based service models of care are based on the principle of mutual support, have been tested in multiple environments and are grounded in the values of community and relationship,” according to the Trust.

Workforce Development

Workforce Development creates an available, competent work force for beneficiaries and social service providers. The health-care industry is growing rapidly in Alaska, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, but job vacancies in this field remain a critical issue. Alaska has one of the lowest health services jobs-to-population ratios in the U.S., ranking 45 out of 50 states and Puerto Rico, a strong indicator of a shortage of health care services in the state.

Photo courtesy of Judge Stephanie Rhoades

to five-year terms and the Trust Land Office, a unit within the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, manages the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority’s land and natural resources. “If we weren’t here, then those expenses would fall to the State of Alaska,” says Vivian Hamilton, spokeswoman for the Trust. Jeff Jessee, chief executive officer for the Trust, says it concentrates funding on five program areas, with the intention of making long-term improvements in services for beneficiaries.

Judge Stephanie Rhoades is a participant in the Anchorage Mental Health Court.

www.akbizmag.com • Alaska Business Monthly • April 2012

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April - 2012 - Alaska Business Monthly  
April - 2012 - Alaska Business Monthly  

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