People Working Together Project (2004)

Donna Burgess, PhD


The Behavioral Health Department within the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) designed a program that utilizes culturally competent mental health interventions for children and adolescents with severe emotional disturbances (SED) and their families. This program mobilized an integrated service delivery system for Alaska Natives living in villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region of southwestern Alaska.


This project was funded in October 1999 by the Child and Family Branch of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) within the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Institute for Circum-polar Health Studies was the evaluator of this project.


One of the primary goals of the People Working Together staff at YKHC has been to systematically facilitate a collaborative service delivery system for children and adolescents with mental health and emotional needs. Staff members are in the process of building a common vision and mission among all child-serving agencies. They are also discussing the wraparound model of service delivery. There will be clear lines of referral and accountability from multiple portals of entry for a child's mental health treatment.


An additional identified goal has been to develop a model for a care management system for children in rural Alaska, as designated in the existing agreement between the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation and the State of Alaska, and expanding this agreement to include child welfare/ protection agencies, juvenile justice, school systems, tribal organizations and healthcare providers. This agreement simplifies the process of access to services for both children and their families, while addressing how all stakeholders' contributions financially sustain the commitment of meeting the child's needs.