Keep Groups Growing at CG&FS - News Article

Keep Groups Growing at CG&FS

Child Guidance & Family Solutions (CG&FS) provides a variety of innovative programs to children, teens, and families. However, one of the most beneficial services we offer to our clients are Groups. Throughout May - Mental Health Month - we will be featuring different Groups and their stories on our Facebook page.

Groups provide a safe and supportive environment for kids to enhance their social skills, develop new coping skills, and build their self-esteem in exciting ways. Our youngest children in the GATORS Summer Group use music, art and interactive play exercises to build positive social and emotional skills. The Hip Hop 2 Health Group encourages adolescent girls to express their feelings through dance, boosting their confidence and allowing them to build trust relationships with other Group members. Gardening Group has given children & teens opportunities to step out of their comfort zones – helping cope with anxiety – and take responsibility for their actions by growing their own vegetables and caring for farm animals. Not only are Groups a safe place for these kids, but they may not even realize the progress they are making themselves, or the power of their support in helping their peers.

Half of our kids are Medicaid eligible and their therapy services are paid through Medicaid. Medicaid is our highest payer – higher than private insurance! But the Medicaid rates have not changed in almost 20 years – until now. The changes being made through the Behavioral Health Redesign Initiatives of Medicaid will lower the fees we are paid for group services.

This reduction is significant enough that we will be forced to eliminate most of our group programs – programs that are so very critical to mental health success for kids. These changes are impacting the most vulnerable members of our community: disadvantaged children with serious mental health disorders. When these young people don’t get help, they are at risk for continued mental health problems, antisocial behavior, school failure, jail, drug abuse and suicide.

In fact, In Summit County, 59.8% of kids under 3 have a diagnosed physical or mental condition, 1 in 3 teenagers in Summit County report feeling depressed, and the number of teens who have attempted suicide is higher in Summit County than in the entire State of Ohio, and The United States. When these young people don’t get help, they are at risk for continued mental health problems, antisocial behavior, school failure, jail, drug abuse and suicide.

Being part of a group of kids who have faced similar challenges or are going through similar situations helps children feel validated, supported, understood, and not alone. Without the ability to join Groups, some clients will find their struggle more difficult and the healing process taking longer.

CG&FS relies on the generosity of people to continue providing the quality support and services that are necessary to help the children in our community find a successful path in life. Every bit counts. Please consider donating to Child Guidance & Family Solutions to help us continue providing Groups to the 2,000 clients we serve in our office locations each week.