Family and Youth Conference for Clermont Families

On Saturday, May 5, families and youth were inviteded to attend the Trauma and Resiliency Conference, organized and facilitated by Families Connected and parent leaders. Funding for the conference was provided by Clermont FAST TRAC.  The event was open to the community at no cost.


Speakers include: local youth and family members shared their stories of resiliency; professionals and community members, including Jen Jordan from Q102 who will spoke about parenting a child affected by Autism and how to de-stress when your challenges are ongoing; the Ohio Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health; and Cathy McClain, Clinical Director at Clermont Recovery Center, who spoke about how trauma affects treatment for children and youth.


The Youth Trac was organized to support youth ages 13-21, and included group activities facilitated by Woodland Lakes Christian Camp staff.  “Youth M.O.V.E. Ohio” will also present at the event.  For the Conference Program brochure, please click here.


The conference also introduced the first Family Leadership Training class graduates, a group of parents who have completed an 8 month leadership program designed to strengthen and enhance their voice and advocacy skills to support children with mental health needs.  Leadership training goals are to provide information to assist families in supporting their own children and family and to increase awareness of systems in order to support others at community, state and national levels.  The next class is scheduled for October 2012.

The conference was held on Saturday, May 5 from 9am to 4pm at the Mt. Carmel Christian Church, located at 4183 Mt Carmel-Tobasco Rd.. Cincinnati, Ohio 45255.

For more information on the next confernece scheduled for May 2014, call Jean Houston at 513-732-5034 or email 

Families Connected is a Family Organization with the mission “To Support and Connect Families who have a Member with a Disability” and is located at the Wildey Center in Owensville through the in-kind support of the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

FAST TRAC is a System of Care initiative of the Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board, funded by a grant from United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Join Our Youth Trac at the Family & Youth Trauma & Resiliency Conference

By:  Jeff Schellinger, FAST TRAC/UC Research Assistant


As a caregiver to youth with behavioral challenges, you are probably familiar with FAST TRAC’s  System of Care programs and services, such as Wraparound, TIP, Peer Support Partners, increased school-based mental health services and early childhood mental health.  Within a System of Care, services and supports are to be family-driven and youth-guided, which is different from how they were historically delivered.

Another part of FAST TRAC’S System of Care is that it is committed to evaluation.  What this means is that FAST TRAC has in place a way of getting feedback from families and youth to determine which programs and services are working well and which are not working as well.  Evaluation also works to assess the experience of the caregiver of a youth with behavioral challenges.   


So how can a caregiver get involved in the evaluation process?  One way is through participation in the “National Evaluation.”  The National Evaluation occurs in every community who currently has a System of Care grant across the U.S. and receives federal funding through the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.  The National Evaluation is extremely important as it:


*Provides the federal government with information about Systems of Care (including Clermont FAST TRAC), how they develop and how they are sustained across time.

*Provides detailed information about the children and youth served, their families and their experiences with the Systems of Care.

*Offers an objective picture of what works and what does not work both in Clermont County and nationally.

*Provides Clermont County with information that may support applications for future grant funding opportunities.

To date, there are close to 80 families participating in FAST TRAC’s National Evaluation.  Families and youth involved in the Wraparound program or TIP are eligible to participate.  So, what does it mean to you if you participate as a parent/caregiver?   

*You will meet with a trained interviewer in your home or a place of your choosing for a 2.5 hour (roughly) interview.

*The interviewers are parents of youth with behavioral challenges.

*Youth (ages 11-21) may be interviewed as well, with permission.

*Questions involve seeking information about your experiences as a caregiver as well as questions about your child’s experiences and history.

*All information is confidential and each family is identified only by a number – no names are recorded.

*Each interview participant is compensated with a $20 gift card.  Yes, youth interviews, too.

*Since we want to measure changes over time, we want to do interviews every 6 months up to 18 months.

Most of the family members participating in the National Evaluation say they chose to do so for some of the following reasons:


*It is a way for them to provide direct and anonymous feedback as to how things are going, both good and not so good.

*It is a way for them to help and sit back to look objectively at how things are going for their family.

*For some, it is a way of giving back and saying “thank you” for the services their child and other children like them have received.

We really want your participation and feedback in the National Evaluation.  You can make a difference by telling us what you think!  It is especially important for participating families to stay involved with us over the 18 months so that we can learn how things change for your family over time.  So, jump in and help us serve you better.  Sign up for the National Evaluation!

Questions?  Call Jeff Schellinger at 556-1002 or 236-4668.

School-Based Mental Health

By Susan Graham, Director of Education Liaisons, Child Focus, Inc.

School-based Mental Health Services are provided in the school setting to meet students in an environment that is natural, minimizing the stigma associated with mental health services and to minimize the barrier of transportation that often prevents youth from receiving the services they need.  

The services are designed to promote positive mental health, provide early identification of psychological and social problems to reduce non-cognitive barriers to learning, and reduce the risk factors associated with school failure. 

Services are family-driven and youth-guided.  Specialists work with students and their families to develop effective coping skills, reduce problem behavior and achieve school success. 

Mental Health Specialists determine the need, level and type of service that is most appropriate for an individual through their initial contact with a student and the referral source.  The levels of service provided in the schools include:  prevention, consultation, Community Psychiatric Supportive Treatment (CPST) which is commonly referred to as Case Management, and crisis intervention. 

We provide School-based Mental Health Services in the following Clermont County schools:

Batavia Elementary, Middle and High Schools

Bethel Primary, Intermediate and Middle Schools

Clermont Northeastern Elementary, Middle and High Schools

Felicity Franklin Elementary and Middle Schools

Goshen High School

Live Oaks Vocational School

Milford Elementary Schools, Jr High and High School

New Richmond Middle and High School

Williamsburg Elementary, Middle and High Schools

West Clermont Elementary Schools, Glen Este Middle and High, & Amelia Middle and High Schools

For more information, on School-based Mental Health Services, please contact Child Focus, Inc. at 752-1555.

School-Based Introduction

By Gretchen Behimer, Project Director, Clermont FAST TRAC


The Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board has funded School-based Mental Health Services in all Clermont County school districts for many years.  The service is provided through a contract with Child Focus, Inc. and has grown over the years to include more school buildings and increased hours in high need school buildings.  Over the last two school years, FAST TRAC has provided funding to increase the availability of School-based Mental Health Services through the hiring of 4 Mental Health Specialists.  Please read the following article by Susan Graham, Director of Education Liaisons from Child Focus, Inc. to learn more.

My Feelings are Work of Art 2012

By Naomi Garretson, Mother of Stephen

The Clermont FAST TRAC Wraparound process was a great success for our family.  We are now able to work better as a unit and listen to each other more effectively.  Our family has been through other collaborative efforts in several other states.  Finally, after moving here to Clermont County, we really made progress.

I think having people listen to the concerns of everyone in the process made an enormous difference.  Things were not always easy in Wraparound, but the final outcome has been wonderful.  My son is doing amazing in school now and family life has become more typical.  Prior to entering Wraparound, we were a very dysfunctional family and not happy with many things, and I was very defensive of my family’s situation.


Given the fact that we had tried some other things similar to Wraparound, and the fact that they did not work, made it very stressful for me to go into the process again.  However, after many visits we realized that this really was going to be different.  Wraparound gave us the opportunity to have so many people involved that cared about us.  They were involved even when there was no meeting; team members called and checked in with us “just because.”  I had called members of the team frustrated on many occasions and was able to process through the issues much better than I could have before.  Now we use the tools and skills we learned and occasionally help other families with the process.

Youth Trac Overview

By: Danny Little, Youth Engagement Specialist


The Trauma & Resiliency Family & Youth Conference was held on May 5th.  Youth from Clermont County, as well as Southeast Indiana & Hamilton County participated. In the morning, there were two great presentations by Youth Move Ohio.  Then everyone split into groups and shared their experiences with resiliency.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy this group time the most.  After lunch, the youth went outside for group building activities led by Woodland Lakes Christian Camp.  The youth split into two groups and tried to solve puzzling tasks in which the only way they could complete the tasks was to totally cooperate as a group.  Everyone enjoyed their time at the conference!

Youth Update

By: Danny Little, Youth Engagement Specialist


We held the first of our quarterly youth engagement events, a bowling tournament, on September 22nd.  Everyone had a great time hanging out, bowling, and eating pizza.  Prizes were awarded to the two top scoring bowlers.  Three new youth joined us for this event.  Our next quarterly event is being planned for January or February – please come and join us.  More details to come!

My Feelings are a Work of Art

Clermont FAST TRAC participated in the National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day initiative, My Feelings Are a Work of Art, throughout the month of May 2013.  The initiative raises awareness of children’s mental health needs; demonstrates how children’s mental health initiatives promote positive youth development, recovery, and resilience; and shows how children with mental health needs thrive in the community.

 FAST TRAC provided art supplies and support to youth in community programs and schools to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to nurture the social and emotional well-being of children through art.  The My Feelings Are a Work of Art activities through each program and school use art to help youth express their feelings.  In May 2013, Clermont FAST TRAC had over 1,000 children and youth and over 250 adults across Clermont County participate in  “My Feelings are a Work of Art” activities.  Partner sites included:  FAST TRAC Youth Advisory Group, Juvenile Court, Clermont Board of Developmental Disabilities, CEC South, Boys and Girls Clubs, Child Focus Wasserman Youth and Adolescent Center, Foster Care, Head Start and Bilingual Preschools and various school partners, including Boyd E. Smith, Holly Hill, Williamsburg, Amelia and Seipelt Elementary, New Richmond Middle and Live Oaks Vocational School.

“National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and Mental Health Month is really all about raising awareness that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth,” said Gretchen Behimer, Clermont FAST TRAC Project Director. FAST TRAC is a System of Care initiative of the Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board, with the mission to provide a collaborative, sustainable system of care that is family-driven and youth-guided, providing community-based and individualized supports and services that are responsive to the cultural characteristics of Clermont County’s multi-need children, youth and their families, strengthening them with hope and supporting them to lead successful lives. 

Click here to watch our 2013 video:

For questions, please contact Tara Keith, FAST TRAC Social Marketing Coordinator at 752-1555. 

Youth Summer End Recap

We are closing the books on Summer 2013!  Here’s a wrap up of things that happened. 

We hosted Wrap Camp again this summer and did a lot of fun activities like Scallywag Tag, Woodland Mound, swimming at the YMCA, making duct tape lanyards, playing giant dodge ball, and so much more. We also made a giant 14 ft cardboard boat for the cardboard regatta in New Richmond.  The boat took seven weeks to make and we ended up getting fourth place!

With the summer ending and the fall beginning, a lot of new youth events are coming up. On October 24th, the youth will be having a Movie Matinee of ”The Nightmare Before Christmas.” It will be held from 4-6 p.m. at 1074 Wasserman Way in Batavia.  Also, it’s that time of year again to bring your favorite homemade chili and your appetite to the annual FAST TRAC family and youth chili cook off on Tuesday, October 15th from 6-8 p.m. at the Child Focus Training Center.  The best recipe will win the coveted Golden Ladle!  Please join us for these upcoming events.

If you have questions, please email me at or call at (513) 305-3471. Hope to see you there! 

How To Be An Ally To LGBTQ Youth

Holidays can be a time of increased stress for LGBT youth without supportive families.  To assist providers and community members in encouraging help-seeking behavior for stress and behavioral health challenges for youth who are LGBT or questioning, FAST TRAC will be offering the following training opportunity:

Friday, November 15, 2013 from 1pm to 4pm at the Child Focus Training Center

How To Be An Ally To LGBTQ Youth

Presenter: Laura M. Stanton, Certified Family Life Educator, Founder of Mind Seed, an innovative education and training company and GLSEN volunteer

In this workshop, we will discuss what it means to be an ally to youth who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning.  In a safe, open, and comfortable environment, you will have the chance to ask questions, learn more about working with LGBTQ youth, and learn how to be an ally.  The workshop will also include a panel of teens that identify as LGBTQ, so you can hear what their needs are and what they look for in an ally.  Please join us for this educational and insightful workshop.

For more information and to sign up for this FREE training for those who live in Clermont County or who work in a Clermont County agency, please contact Child Focus Training Center.