CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Thompson Child & Family Focus (Thompson), Charlotte’s leading human services organization, partnered with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ (CMS) Turning Point Academy (TPA) to provide an innovative behavioral and mental health support program whose recent program evaluation data shows verifiable data of positive outcomes for middle school youth.
TPA, an alternative middle school within the CMS system, serves youth with significant behavioral challenges. In Fall 2018, CMS launched a partnership with Thompson to provide mental health support for students assigned to TPA. CMS moved its middle-school program from the alternative school campus to the main Thompson campus. In addition to housing the program at its main campus, Thompson provided full-time Master’s level therapists to support the TPA population.
These clinicians provided the therapeutic supports that form the backbone of this new program model, including conducting comprehensive clinical assessments, holding group counseling sessions and individual therapy for students.
CMS provides regular school support for TPA, including teachers for core academic subjects, art, physical education, behavior management technicians (BMTs), a dean, a counselor, and two campus security associates. With Thompson clinicians supporting the therapy gaps, CMS and TPA was able to focus on effective case management for students who were able to transition successfully back to the traditional classroom, a goal for the program.
Thompson, CMS leadership, and TPA have all reported marked positive outcomes for the participating youth, with the report noting quantitative data showing improvements. Compared to the years prior to this partnership, students who attended TPA while this partnership was in place, had higher attendance rates, fewer behavior incidents after returning to their home schools, and lower rates of reassignment to TPA within two academic years.
A wide variety of data was reviewed to verify the program findings, including enrollment, attendance and behavior records from CMS administrative data, student/staff satisfaction surveys, school
climate survey, and interviews with staff from Thompson and TPA.
This partnership between Thompson and CMS created an opportunity where both organizations are able to leverage their respective strengths and expertise. In establishing a dedicated alternative learning environment where students with emotional trauma and resulting behavioral issues can receive the therapeutic support they need, Thompson and TPA are able to flex their organizational muscles, coming together to support hundreds of children in their behavioral, emotional, and social growth.
This partnership represents a win/win on all sides. Seeking out the partnership with Thompson, CMS had the foresight to utilize the resources that already existed in the community. Through this partnership with Thompson, CMS is effectively able to provide access to mental health services that had been a challenge for these most vulnerable students to access. Both youth and educational staff are able to report marked improvements in emotional stability and behavior over the year.
“This program gave CMS and Thompson a unique opportunity to provide mental health support to some of our most vulnerable students,” said Carrie Sargent, Mental Health Manager at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. “We are happy the program is associated with positive data indicators, but equally happy that we were able to introduce and destigmatize mental health services to students, who then later reported that that they viewed these services as helpful.”
These indications, while still early, suggest that this type of partnership between educational institutions and mental health providers like Thompson could have real positive impact to student educational outcomes, as well as educator outcomes, in bringing a more trauma-informed approach to the classroom.
“It’s critical for our community to get creative in order to eliminate barriers to access to services,” said Matt Simon, Chief Program Officer at Thompson, “Private/public entities need to come together to solve large, complicated issues. I applaud CMS’ leadership for being willing to lean into an innovative partnership.”
The partnership between Thompson, CMS and TPA has helped hundreds of children, with more than 100 youth being annually been served by the program.
There are still hundreds of kids and families in Charlotte that do not have access to mental health services. For more information on helping someone you know enroll in this program, contact Hailey Lathom, Vice President of Mental Health Services at Thompson, at (980) 406-8758 or by email at email@example.com.
Headquartered in Matthews, North Carolina (Mecklenburg County), Thompson Child & Family Focus is a human services leader transforming lives through early childhood, family stability, and mental health services. As a solutions-driven organization committed to rewriting narratives for the most vulnerable in our community; Thompson achieves this by providing comprehensive, evidence-based services, and trauma-informed care, for children (ages 0-18) and their families, virtually and inperson.
Thompson employs over 270 staff in locations in Matthews, Charlotte, Arden, and Wilmington, NC, and is led by President/CEO, Will Jones. To read more about Thompson’s continuum of services online, go to thompsoncff.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.