The Mississippi Department of Mental Health put out its Mississippi Youth Programs Around the Clock (MYPAC) proposed permanent policy for public comment December 17 through January 10. You can read the policy here. These are the public comments that Families as Allies submitted.
Our comments focus on the importance of families having choices in services. We also discuss this policy in light of Mississippi’s law about the state system of care for children’s mental health. Aspects of the law that we discuss include wraparound as the care-coordination model Mississippi has chosen, Making a Plan (MAP) teams functioning as the single point of entry into Mississippi’s system of care and the role of the Interagency Coordinating Council for Children and Youth (ICCCY).
We conclude that the policy, as written, limits family voice and choice. It could potentially conflict with state law, federal requirements for targeted case management, the nationally accepted definition of family-driven practice, and the values of wraparound. We recommend that the Mississippi Department of Mental Health withdraw the policy and the ICCCY coordinate an examination of what is needed with broad-based participation from families and other stakeholders. The ICCCY could then develop any indicated policies.
One of the most fundamental issues is ensuring that wraparound is implemented with fidelity. This would include offering wraparound to all families who are eligible for it. Also, wraparound should be coordinated by an entity that has no financial interest in which services a particular family chooses.
Families as Allies’ mission is to make sure that families are partners in their children’s care. We believe the system of care for children in Mississippi should be family-driven. Family-driven means “families have the primary role in decisions regarding their children as well as the policies and procedures governing the well-being of all children in their community, state, tribe, territory and nation.” This includes, but is not limited to:
1. Identifying their strengths, challenges, desired outcomes/goals, and the steps needed to achieve those outcomes/goals;
2. Designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating services, supports, programs, and systems;
3. Choosing supports, services, and providers who are culturally and linguistically responsive and aware, and
4. Partnering in decision-making at all levels.
Our goal is that all of our work, including our public comments in response to policies, reflects and furthers our mission. If you have feedback about our public comments on this policy or their relationship to our mission, please feel free to share your thoughts with us. You can contact us at 601-355-0915 or firstname.lastname@example.org.