Core Value: Responsibility

This story was first published in the Winter 2011 issue of Sunshine magazine.

Core Value: ResponsibilityMaking final decisions about admissions applications to MCH is a daunting responsibility. Although criteria guide the admissions process, the individual needs of every applicant are carefully evaluated to determine the best placement for the youth.

“While we cannot accept everyone who applies for admission, we feel passionately about what we do and advocate for every youth we feel needs to be at MCH,” said Catie Capp-Hays, director of admissions.

Families can learn about programs and services by calling MCH directly or through referrals. MCH asks relatives, friends, ministers, teachers and other sources to tell families about MCH or contact the Home directly when they become aware of a child who needs help.

“We believe there is a shared responsibility in serving youth,” said Moe Dozier, vice president for residential services. “If people will take the responsibility to let us know about children we can potentially help, we’ll do our part to try to help them. Unfortunately, many families are unaware of our services. They need someone to tell them about Methodist Children’s Home.”

The typical admissions process can take several weeks, and MCH relies on families to maintain communication with the admissions staff and complete all paperwork in a timely manner. In addition, MCH can provide emergency placement on a case-by-case basis.

When a family calls the admissions office, a staff member conducts a brief screening by telephone to determine if the child’s needs can potentially be met by MCH. If so, an admissions staff member conducts a full inquiry by phone or sends the family an application. After the required information and paperwork are gathered, staff members review the records to determine if the child can benefit from the Home’s services. A family interview and campus tour are then scheduled.

The child’s application is presented to the Intake Screening Committee, a group of child care administrators and staff members that meets weekly to discuss current applications.

Capp-Hays said the committee considers many factors to determine if MCH can effectively meet the needs of a child. While some issues are clear, others require much discussion. The Intake Screening Committee works closely together and weighs all options to make the best decision for every child.

“Our admissions team is truly invested in the well-being of each child,” Capp-Hays said. “We want what’s in the best interests of youth, and we don’t want to short-change them.”

Capp-Hays said an important factor in determining placement is the potential impact on current residents and the dynamics in individual home units.

“We have vulnerable youth here, and it’s essential that we consider the needs of our current residents in addition to potential residents,” she said. “We have to remember that we’re looking at the bigger picture when we place children in our residential program.”

If the Intake Screening Committee approves the final application, an assessment is written about the youth and the admissions team determines the best home unit for the child.

“Placement is important because we don’t want to set up our youth for failure,” Capp-Hays said. “We want them to be in homes where they can flourish.”

The MCH admissions office handles applications and placement of youth on the Waco campus and Boys Ranch. Youth who are potential candidates for the Home’s residential program in Waxahachie go through the process on that campus.

Capp-Hays emphasized that the Home makes every effort to help all families who seek assistance.

“We want to make sure we serve families who call for guidance in some way,” she said. “If we’re not able to provide services for them, we’ll refer them to another agency that could possibly assist them in their situation. We want to help all families find the support and services they need for their children.”

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