By Joseph M. Costa, Hillsides President and CEO
Many of our regular funders ask how the affiliation with Bienvenidos
has gone, given its significance for both organizations. Integration of two organizations is best-described as a work in progress, and that certainly is true for us. The ultimate test of the success of our efforts to become one integrated system of care is judged by our ability to effectively serve those in our care.
Recently, when asked this question, I was reminded of a recent case involving one of our children in residence
. A young boy in his teens arrived at Hillsides very withdrawn. His hair covered his face as if he were hiding behind it. His voice was low and almost inaudible. He was extremely reluctant to engage with others and isolated himself. At the time of admission, many assessments were conducted, and the nursing department discovered that he had a severe case of acne and prescribed medication that cleared it up. As his appearance improved, so did his willingness to interact with his peers and staff. A treatment plan to lighten his depression and regular counseling sessions helped him feel confident to express his concerns. Soon a plan was also put in place to get him back to his community of origin. Since his family is unable to welcome him home at this time, a resource (foster) family has been identified through the Bienvenidos Foster Care and Adoption Program
. He is now completing the residential program, still in touch with his family, and beginning the process of being welcomed into a resource family.
This boy’s story offers an insight into the various services offered by our energized integrated organization, which is driven by our mission to help those we serve heal, grow, and thrive. It would be impossible to facilitate such services if it were not for the full array of services we now offer: an enhanced intake system, nursing and mental health programs, and residential care that can access resource families for children ready to move on to the community while still staying in touch with their biological families. This range of services has been assembled through the affiliation of Hillsides with Bienvenidos.
There is always more to do to strengthen our integration
as one organization. Our board of directors and senior leadership team are committed to this ongoing process. We hope that those who have supported either one or both organizations will continue to do so as we strive to be ever-effective. The effort is worthwhile if, at the end of the day, together we are able to impact the life of a child, young person, or family more than if we had remained apart.