Overview:  Therapeutic support staff provides interaction through a one-to-one relationship with a trained, supervised, caring adult mentor. Mentors initiate activities that focus on increasing self-esteem, habilitation, resiliency, the development and improvement of social skills and peer relations, and promoting age appropriate behaviors in normative, non-clinical settings therapeutic mentoring provides guidance, advocacy and education to youth with complex behavioral health needs through the use of structured, home and community-based interactions and activities. All care and support services through therapeutic mentoring is provided in a context that is child-centered, family-focused, strength based, culturally competent and informed by each child’s psychosocial, developmental, and treatment care needs and goals.

Therapeutic support staff provides a supportive, one-on-one relationship to youth within their own community, helps youth to explore and enjoy recreational activities, identify career options, and evaluate educational alternatives. This service provides youth with a mature, responsible person who can be a role model and offer support, guidance, strength and reassurance. The intent of this service is to provide the therapeutic intervention and support necessary to aid in successfully maintaining each youth in his or her home or community and providing youth with the skills needed to facilitate more positive outcomes, to realize their full potential as they transition into adulthood.

Therapeutic support staff partners with identified youth to achieve the following goals related to the major life areas of: educational achievement; health, safety and well-being; and social and emotional development:

  • Empowering and providing youth with the skills to realize positive long-term outcomes with respect to home, community, career, peer, and education/academic interactions;
  • Enabling youth to effectively manage and/or lessen negative behaviors;
  • Promoting and enhancing psycho-social resiliency;
  • Assisting youth with the identification of, and lasting affiliation with, appropriate community activities to support the youth during the service period and after termination (e.g., development of an age appropriate hobby, interest, or skill; and formal connection to one or more natural community support systems); and
  • Linking with other service components and systems to ensure that therapeutic mentoring is informed by the youth’s clinical and System of Care Individualized Service Plan goals.

Target Population:  Therapeutic support staff is primarily for youth who have returned, or are returning home, from out-of-home care and require a less intensive level of treatment, or are at imminent risk of placement due to mental health issues or emotional disturbances. This service aids in facilitating the discharge of youth from a more restrictive setting (e.g., residential) or assist in maintaining youth in their community.